Fabric type, blends and other terminology to know

Printing a t-shirt for the first time? But overwhelmed by the different terms you see on Google and too much details to digest?

Here, we compiled a glossary of basic jargons and terminology for ease of reference.

Absorbency

Refers to the ability of a fabric to absorb moisture. It is an important component in fabric as it affects the wearer on various levels such as comfort, shrinkage.

Anti-Bacteria (Anti-Microbial)

A fabric that has been chemically treated with special treatments to offer protection against bacteria or inhabiting microbes.

Breathability

Refer to movement of air in and out of fabric weave. Breathable garments usually come with bigger pores for better airflow. To keep the wearer comfortable by letting moisture escape from the other side of the fabric.

Comfort Stretch

Comfort Stretch can go different ways. 2-way stretch (width or length) or 4-way stretch (in all directions). Simply put, it refers to the way the fabric stretches that affects freedom of movement.

Cotton

Cotton is the most common type of fabric in the world and we use it everyday. They are made of fibers from the cotton plant seed. In technical terms, cotton is not a fabric, but the cotton balls on the cotton plant go through different processes before they become fabric.

They are structured and stiffer than most materials. You will also be happy to know that cotton material is available at different price points to meet different budgets.

Combed Cotton

Cotton fibres go through a comb process that separates individual cotton fibres. This process removes short fibres and impurities, leaving behind long fibres that are arranged parallel to each other. Even though they are made from the same plant as cotton. They go through a laborious process resulting in softer and smoother cotton than regular cotton which makes it more expensive.

Cotton Blend

Refer to cotton blended with other fabrics to give an extra touch of quality.
Example: 80% cotton and 20% other fabrics such as polyester.

Cotton Jersey Knit

Majority of t-shirts are made from jersey knit material. These are often cotton blends or cotton. The material is soft to touch, coupled with breathability ability. It is the best choice for comfort to keep the wearer cool.

Contrast Stitching

Refers to a fabric piece or thread colour that is different from the main fabric to produce and highlight a design detail.

Coil Zipper

The teeth of the zipper are made of coiled nylon or polyester. The teeth/chain are stitched into the tape. The zip is lightweight and flexible, making it the ideal choice for light items or when you don’t want the zip to stand out too much.

Zip Type

Crew Neck

A shirt with no collar and round neckline.

Dri Fit or Dry Fit

Dri Fit is made of polyester material with moisture-wicking ability that keeps you dry and cool in warm weather.

Dry Pique Dri Fit

100% Polyester Dry Pique, comes with moisture-wicking ability but less casual with waffle lookalike texture.

Drawcord

Another term for drawstring that runs through a hem. Use to tie up in bottoms or hoodies.

Double needle stitching

Also referred to as twin needles. Double needle stitches two perfect parallel rows with one stitching. Often found in sleeves and bottom hem for more enforced seam.

Double Needle Stitching

Elasticity

The ability of the material returning to its original length after stretching.

Eyelet Dri Fit

Made of 100% Microfibre. Feature a cut out “eye shape” pattern and often used as active wear or sports due to its good moisture-wicking ability which helps to absorb perspiration and keep the wearer dry.

Fibre

Refers to the class of fibre material. Can be in natural form or manufactured form which are then twisted into yarns before it goes through a production of fabric.

Fabric

Cloth ready to be used

GSM

The standard metric for weight of fabric, Grams per square meter.

Heat Transfer Label

Label tag that is usually displayed on the back inner of the shirt.
The information is heat stamped or printed directly onto the apparel.

Heat Transfer Label

Heather

Use of two different yards to produce another look. For example: Blending Black and White to create a grey yarn.

Interlock Dri Fit

Made of 100% Soft Polyester Fibre. Feature smooth and non-porous surface and has attributes of sweat absorbent ability.

Invisible Zip

As with all zips, invisible zip comes with teeth/chains too. However, it hides behind the zipper tape. More commonly used in dresses and other formal dress.

Melange

Fabric with varied mixture of colour tones.

Metal Zip

Metal zippers come in different finishes such as brass, nickel. They have teeth that are clamped onto zipper tape. Good for heavy duty items such as denim. On the downside, the zipper at times does not slide smoothly.

Molded Plastic Zip

Molded Plastic Zippers have the teeth molded and melted directly on the zipper tape. The shape of the teeth/chains is thicker and harder than the coil zippers. Usually is a more cost effective option

Moisture Wicking ability

Refers to how water is transported away from the body and spread onto the surface of fabric so that it evaporates quickly.

Organic Cotton

Made from 100% natural plant seeds.
Does not use pesticides or chemicals.

Pre-Shrunk

Refers to fabric that has undergone a wash and dried prior to being sewn to prevent further shrinking.
Another to note is that 100% cotton fabric that undergoes the same pre-wash condition will still shrink 4-5%.

Polyester

Made of artificial nature (man-made synthetic fabric). They are chemically treated.
Durable, winkle resistance and dries quickly.
Popular with activity and the outdoors.

Quarter Turned

During the manufacturing process, the fabric tube that shapes the body of the shirt turns one-quarter of the way around before cutting the fabric to prevent the center part of the shirt from creasing on the front.

Raw Edge Neckline

T-shirts without folded stitches, resulting in a larger neckline.

Rib Knit

A type of knit fabric using two needles to stitch vertical textured lines. Found in certain types of shirts and on certain placement such as collars, necklines, cuffs.

Knitted Collar

Ring Spun Cotton

Starting from the same fiber strand, the yard is made by twisting and thinning the cotton fibre strand. The spinning effect of the fine, soft rope of cotton fibres ultimately makes a stronger yard.

Seam Tape

Not referring to your regular tape. If you look closely at the stitches of the shoulder or neck part of your clothing, you might notice an extra cloth that is being used to hold the seams together. It is the seam tape to cover up seams for a cleaner look. It also acts as stabilizing tape to the shoulder just so that they do not stretch up over time.

Seam Tape

Shirt Side Vent

Slit on both bottom side seams of the shirt, more room for movement.

Side Vent

Side Seam

Refers to the seams that run down on both sides of the apparel (from armpit to bottom hem) to join the fabric. From arm to waist.

Side Back Seam

Combination of seams stitching. Can be on the side, including center back of apparel.

Spandex

Similar to Polyester, it is also made of artificial nature. Due to its extraordinary stretch ability, when stretched the fabric reverts back to its original length.

Fabric is soft and smooth to touch and often used in Swimwear, dive suits.

Supima Cotton & Pima Cotton
Both are high end cottons with different varieties and similar in qualities.
Supima Cotton can only be found in the United States.

Tear Away Label

Attached brand label tag inside of apparel. Can be torn easily with minimal force and does not cause damage to apparel.

Tubular

Seamless t-shirts are made from fabric that are cut off from a fabric roll like a cylinder without any shape.

Water Repellant

Fabric that has gone through a layer of coating (finishes) to which causes water to shed from the surface.

Water resistant

Refers to how much water is able to penetrate into fabric.

Waterproof

Fabric with closed pores, does not allow water or air to pass through.

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