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Pros & Cons Of Fabric Type For Custom Apparel Printing

Pros & Cons Of Fabric Type For Custom Apparel Printing

Selecting the right fabric for Custom Apparel Printing is essential to ensure the desired quality, comfort, and overall customer satisfaction. The choice of fabric can significantly impact the look, feel, durability, and performance of the T-shirts. It affects how the ink adheres to the fabric, how vibrant the colors appear, and how well the designs hold up over time. Although there are several different types of garments, in this article we will focus on the three most popular ones which include 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or 50/50 blends. By understanding the unique characteristics and PROS & CONS associated with each fabric, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your design requirements and customer preferences.


Cotton is a natural fabric that has been widely used in the textile industry for its versatility and comfort. It is plant based and a natural fiber that has been the go to choice for hundreds of years. Cotton is inexpensive, strong, and easy to clean. Plus, cotton is extremely versatile and can be transformed into many other fabric classifications like Ring-spun Cotton, Cotton Duck, Cotton Canvas, Terry Cloth, Denim, and Flannel. When it comes to custom T-shirt printing, cotton offers several advantages:

Pros Of Using Cotton Fabric:

  1. Soft and Comfortable: Provides a comfortable wearing experience.
  2. Breathability: Allows air to circulate, making it highly breathable and suitable for hot and humid climates.
  3. Moisture Absorbent: Excellent moisture absorption properties, keeping the body cool and dry.
  4. Hypoallergenic: A Natural Fabric and is less likely to cause skin irritation or allergies.
  5. Durability: Typically can withstand repeated washing without losing their shape or color.
  6. Machine Washable: Can be washed in a machine or hand washed.

Despite these advantages, cotton also has a few drawbacks:

Cons Of Using Cotton Fabric:

  1. Long Drying Times: Cotton absorbs moisture therefore it releases it at a slower rate therefore increasing drying times
  2. Wrinkles Easily: May require ironing to maintain a neat appearance.
  3. Shrinkage: Pure cotton fabrics have a tendency to shrink when not washed or dried properly.
  4. Fading: Over time, cotton T-shirts may fade with repeated washing and exposure to sunlight


Polyester is a man-made synthetic fiber that's made from a chemical reaction involving air, water, and petroleum. That combination produces an artificial fiber that becomes polyester! Polyester is also thermoplastic, so it can be melted down and reformed shapes, like thread. That thermoplasticity is what makes polyester so stretchy.

Pros Of Polyester Fabric:

  1. Durability: Very strong and resistant to wrinkles, shrinkage, and fading, resulting in long-lasting T-shirts.
  2. Color Retention: Tends to retain it's vibrancy even after multiple washes, making them suitable for bold and intricate designs.
  3. Moisture-Wicking: Does not absorb moisture but wicks it away from the body, allowing for quick evaporation. This property makes it ideal for athletic activities and hot weather conditions.
  4. Quick-Drying: Dries very quickly, making it convenient for those who need their T-shirts to dry fast.
  5. Comfortable: Nice soft feel on body which makes it an ideal choice for wear.
  6. Machine Washable: Can be washed in a machine or hand washed.

However, the polyester fabric also has some drawbacks:


  1. Less Breathable: Not as breathable as cotton and may feel less comfortable, particularly in humid environments. Sticks to sweaty skin.
  2. Synthetic Feel: Some individuals find the texture of polyester less desirable, as it lacks the natural feel of cotton.
  3. Heat Retention: Retains heat, making it less suitable for extremely hot weather conditions.


If its durability and long-lasting shirts you’re looking for, then a 50/50 cotton and polyester blend may be right for you. The Polyester adds resiliency to the cotton fibers, allowing them to “spring back” into shape and endure many more laundry cycles. 50/50 blends are ideal for indoor situations which may call for extra durability, longevity or unusually high amounts of laundering. The 50/50 blend is also less likely to shrink/wrinkle than 100% cotton and feels lighter on the wearer.

Pros Of Cotton/Polyester:

Blended fabrics, which combine cotton and polyester, offer a balance of the qualities found in both fabrics. While blended fabrics, cotton/polyester, have several advantages, they also have some drawbacks that are important to consider. 

1. Versatility: It takes the benefits of both fabrics and combines them into one, making the fabric ideal for almost any purpose

2. Slower Fading: While 100% cotton is a sturdy, beautiful fabric, it is still much more likely to fade than a 50/50 blend. The synthetic fibers in polyester help the material hold its color better over time.

3. Wrinkle Resistant: 50/50 polyester and cotton is far less likely to wrinkle than 100% cotton, especially if you remove it from the dryer promptly. If you want to avoid the extra step of ironing, this blend is a much better choice.

4. Low Maintenance: Not only does 50/50 polyester and cotton come out of the wash ready to wear, it’s much easier to wash and care for to begin with. It’s a far less temperamental fabric than 100% cotton, and washes and dries with little fuss.

5. Great For Activity: Not quite as breathable as 100% cotton, but it makes up for it by holding up well in regular activity due to the 50% polyester material makeup. making it an ideal choice for sports and athletics. 

6. Less Like To Shrink

7. Keeps You Warmer: Cotton is cool and polyester is hot, so a 50/50 blend of both provides just the right amount of density to keep you warm/cool.


1. Environmental Impact: Blended fabrics that contain polyester have a higher environmental impact compared to pure cotton fabrics. Polyester is a synthetic material derived from non-renewable resources, and its production involves chemicals and energy-intensive processes. If sustainability is a concern, opting for organic cotton or other eco-friendly fabric options might be a more suitable choice.

In certain cases, 100% cotton is a better choice than 100% polyester and vice versa; a 50/50 polyester and cotton blend brings both of thier benefits together.  It’s important to weigh these pros/cons against the benefits of when making a decision for custom T-shirt printing. Consider factors such as comfort, durability, specific design requirements, and your target audience’s preferences to determine the most appropriate fabric choice for your needs.

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