Most shirts are advertised as 100% cotton, but the way the cotton is produced into thread can make a huge difference in the way it feels and holds up over time. The two main types of cotton shirts are regular cotton (mostly labeled simply "cotton") and ring-spun cotton.
Regular cotton shirts are an industry standard. In fact, you probably have a dozen or more in your wardrobe right now! These shirts are inexpensive to make and are the cheapest on the market. Standard cotton shirts are made by twisting cotton fibers together to make a yarn strand. These strands are woven together to make the fabric used in the construction of the shirt. Most of the industry standard t-shirt manufacturers (Gildan, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom, etc.) provide regular cotton t-shirts.
Ring-spun cotton shirts are a bit more pricey but are significantly softer and tend to hold up longer. Making ring-spun cotton starts with the yarn strand from regular cotton process; but in the ring-spun process, the yarn is made by continuously twisting and thinning the strands, creating a very fine rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer feel.
Ring-spun and regular cotton shirts are used differently in the apparel world. Most fashion t-shirts, ones you would buy at a boutique shop or at a concert, are ring-spun cotton shirts because customers paying a premium price expect softer, more durable apparel. Standard cotton shirts are used more often in giveaways, where the cost of the good is a major factor, and service uniforms, which likely will be stained or ruined on the job.
Threds’ sales team knows all about the differences and will be able to point you in the right direction when choosing your apparel. Contact us today!