Fabric Guide for Decorating
- Soft feel
- Prone to shrinkage and wrinkles over time
- Lightweight and heavier options
Ringspun or Combed Cotton
- Natural cotton fiber that has been processed
- Softer feel than 100% cotton
- Longer lasting durability
- Knitted instead of woven
- Breathable and lightweight
- Softens with washing
- 50% cotton and 50% polyester
- Softer & lighter feel than cotton
- Not as breathable as cotton
- More shrink resistant
- Blend of cotton, polyester, and rayon
- Softest of all fabric options
- Results in vintage look with screen print
Polyester is a synthetic material that is durable but not as breathable as cotton. It's used in athletic wear like jerseys or tanks as the material is moisture wicking. 100% polyester is used for Sublimation garments.
- Moisture wicking
- Durable and long lasting
- Resistant to shrinkage and wrinkles
Stretchy material that is often used in athletic wear like bike shorts or sports bras. Athletic Sublimation garments typically are a poly/spandex blend.
- Super stretchy
- Retains shape
- Resistant to moisture
What kind of fabrics are best for each type of printing?
Although a variety of fabrics can be used for screen printing, 100% cotton will still produce the best results, especially with water-based ink.
Unlike screen printing, DTG can only use water-based ink which means 100% cotton will yield best the results.
Although materials with high polyester content (like 50/50 blends) can be used for Digital Squeegee prints, it's not recommended. On a 50/50 blend garment, 4 screens will need to be used (waterbased poly blocker, waterbased white underbase, pre digital screen, then digital top coat). A great print can still be achieved, but it does increase the hand feel of the garment since there's so many printed layers and it leaves less room on press for special effects like metallic or glitter. 100% cotton only requires a discharge base and a digital top coat.
To create an all-over print, Sublimation actually melts pigments in the fibers as opposed to just printing on top of the garment. Due to this process, only polyester fabric can be used.
Since this is not a printing technique, embroidery can be used to decorate essentially any garment. However, more durable garments have a better chance of holding up to the embroidery process. The tighter the weave, the better.