Feeling stumped over choosing the right shirt for custom goods order? With so many colors, styles, and fabrics to consider, picking the right shirt can be a little overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. So how do you narrow down the search and make the right choice?

It starts by asking the right questions and having a little information about the fabric types and customization options we offer. The following are three questions that can help you get the ball rolling:

1. Hows the weather?

It sounds like a no brainer to ask about the climate or season the shirt will be worn in (if it’s cold, you’ll want to choose a shirt with long sleeves, if it’s warm, you’ll want to opt for short sleeves or go sleeveless). However, the weather conditions have much more bearing on your decision than the sleeve length. And that’s because fabrics range in weight (or thickness).

For instance, a polyester shirt, whether it’s a long or short sleeve, is universally considered a lightweight fabric and may not be the ideal choice for cooler, breezier climates. The same could be said for blended fabrics, which are typically made with a combination of polyester and cotton, and for the triblend, a bit of rayon. These shirts tend to weigh between 3 and 5 ounces, regardless of sleeve length, which makes them ideal for warmer climates.

But if you’re looking for a shirt that can endure cooler temps, you may want to go with a midweight or heavyweight cotton, which tends to weigh anywhere from 5 to 7 ounces, depending on the garment. In short, the thicker the shirt, the warmer it is. 

Tip: Check out the product details section under each garment in our catalog to find the weight and/or thickness.

2. Where to?

We all know the importance of location in real estate, and a similar logic can be applied to choosing the right shirt. Knowing ahead of time where the shirt will be worn will help you determine the durability, functionality, and fit of the fabric you need.

For instance, the choice of fabric you’d want for a shirt for the office would vary drastically from something worn at a marathon, around town, or used as a giveaway at a tradeshow. If you’re ordering shirts for the office, poly blends and mid-to-heavyweight cotton are great if you’re looking for something that will hold its shape and have the durability to withstand multiple washings.

If it’s a sports event, polyester is great for its sweat-wicking abilities, as are any kind of lightweight cotton or polyblend, given the lightness of the fabric can help the clothing dry that much faster. It’s important to keep in mind that the lighter the fabric, the more it will cling, and poly blends and lightweight cotton shirts are often designed to be more fitted, which makes them a bit less durable.  

Tip: Try the search field in our catalog. Keywords such as work, sport, lightweight, heavyweight, and triblend will bring up results to help you narrow the field.

3. How would you like that customized?

The fabric type you choose will play a direct role in the customization options available. Our options include embroidery, Direct-to-Garment, and screen printing. And as we’ve mentioned in our previous post, there are certain fabrics that are ideal for each customization type. This comprehensive breakdown details which fabric works with each option, and provides a few additional bits of information to consider:

Embroidery: We can sew on any thickness of cotton, polyester, or blend. However, the thicker the fabric, the better the stitches will hold.

Direct-To-Garment: 100% cotton of any thickness is the way to go. Any fabric that’s not 100% cotton will not be able to absorb the water-based ink that we use for this process. In terms of art, the design can be as complex and colorful as you’d like.

Screen printing: Just like embroidery, we can screen print on cotton, polyester, and blends. However, the design should be basic (think typography or something fairly simple), and the colors are limited (we allow up to 7).

Tip: Use the Print Types filtering feature on the left side of the catalog to narrow your search by customization type.

Quick summary

By taking a few moments to collect some key information, including the climate, where the shirt will be worn, and the artwork that will go on the shirt can go a long way in choosing the right garment and customization type for your custom goods order.

  • Polyester, blends, and lightweight cotton are ideal for warmer climates, whereas midweight and heavyweight cotton can stand up to cooler temps.
  • Knowing how and where the shirt will be worn will help you choose the right fabric type.
  • Embroidery and screen printing can be done on nearly every fabric type we carry. However, Direct-To-Garment printing can only be done on 100% cotton.

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