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What is the difference in Quality and Care of Shirts?
As with all products there are better quality products and lesser quality products.
When considering t-shirts or polo shirts, there are different kinds of fabrics and qualities.
FIRST, A DISCUSSION ABOUT SIZING: Most customers always ask, "Do these run small or large?". Well, small or large compared to what! The apparel industry has never set any standards as to what any size actually means, so the question is moot. The best way to deal with that type of inquiry is to understand that every manufacturer has developed specifications as to what every size they offer means. So, we always refer to the manufacturers sizing charts which are provided along with all the detail information about any apparel item in our online catalog.

So how to interpret and use the information in these spec tables? Basically, its simple, lets take shirts for an example. Take an existing shirt which fits you properly now, lay it flat on a table and measure 1 inch below the armpit side to side; left to right. Whatever that measurement is, look in the table and that is the size you should select. Many customers insist that they normally wear a Medium, but the table says to order a Large. Well, then that is what you need, regardless of what you are used to. Of course, many individuals are just in denial about the true size garment they should be wearing. That's why when you shop at Ladies Plus size stores, the sizes are still listed as Size 4. Get past the marketing and just refer to measurements!!

One more thing, BEWARE OF JUNIOR SIZES!!!JUNIOR apparel products are sized for Young Teenage Girls, like 11-14 years old. Yes, the catalogs always show slim young "women models", wearing this stuff, but regardless of the photos, the measurement specs, will tell a very different story. Junior apparel items are really, really small!!!
OPEN COTTON: The most common inexpensive T-Shirts or basic Polo Shirts are made from OPEN COTTON with ounce weights of 5.0 up to 6.1 ounces. Open cotton shirts are basic fabrics (basically one step above raw cotton), lightweight and smooth on the outside, but not on the inside. You can hold up one of these basic shirts to the light and see through it, especially on 5.0 to 5.3 ounce weight fabrics. When the product description says' "100% Cotton" and nothing else, its always Open Cotton. Most T-Shirts from Gildan, Hanes, Jerzees, Anvil and Fruit of the Loom are made using OPEN COTTON.
RING-SPUN COTTON: If you want shirts which are STRONGER & SOFTER, then select shirts made from RING-SPUN COTTON. Ringspun cotton is softer and smoother both inside and out. Since the cotton is spun it makes the fibers more dense, softer, straighter, stronger and more durable. Hanes has been producing the Beefy-T Style 5180 for years, which by far is the most popular ringspun t-shirt on the market today. Other brands include: Alternative, Next Level, District Threads and Bella.
COMBED RING-SPUN COTTON: Very High Quality shirts are made from COMBED RING-SPUN COTTON. Combed RingSpun shirts are usually referred to as Fashion Shirts, since you would not mind wearing these out to dinner. When cotton is spun and then combed, fine brushes are used to pull out any impurities, along with short fibers leaving behind only long fibers which are straight, even and aligned. The texture of combed cotton is very soft and very smooth since it lacks short threads, all dirt and impurities have been removed. In addition, combed cotton is stronger since the straightened fibers lie together more tightly, making the thread less likely to fray and unravel.
EGYPTIAN COMBED and INTERLOCK RING-SPUN COTTON: The highest quality and most amazing shirts use Egyptian Cotton. Egyptian Cotton is considered the finest and highest quality cotton in the world. Egyptian Combed RingSpun Cotton offers the most yummy shirts you will ever experience. UltraClub is a brand that routinely features Egyptian cotton products and very high quality Certified Organic Ringspun cotton.
Pima (Supima) cotton bears some similarity to many forms of Egyptian cotton. Since Egyptian cotton is so desirable, the US decided to try growing a type of it in the Southwest, which is a somewhat similar climate to Egypt. The resultant cotton was a mix of Egyptian and other types of cotton. Pima cotton is a little shorter than Egyptian cotton, but still yields a thread that can be woven multiple times into a piece of fabric to create a dense, soft fabric.
PERFORMANCE FABRICS and MOISTURE WICKING POLYESTER: Completely opposite from any kind of cotton shirt are shirts made from 100% Polyester moisture wicking PERFORMANCE fabrics. There are dozens of marketing buzz-terms to describe these special fabrics, including Clima-cool, Cool-max, Dri-fit, Dri-mesh, Rapid-Dry, Pima-Cool and dozens more. But the underlying feature is that all of these fabrics are actually high-tech weaves of special polyester threads, layered to allow moisture to be removed from your skin and dry quickly. The process of wicking moisture keeps you cooler and does not show perspiration stains.

Many manufacturers today are trying to jump on the moisture wicking band wagon by making all sorts of claims regarding moisture wicking. Please note, cotton fabrics or cotton/poly blends ARE NOT moisture wicking!! Just a lot of marketing mumbo jumbo. There is nothing about cotton which is moisture wicking at all! Only properly designed 100% polyester fabrics are moisture wicking...
COMPRESSION FABRICS: Compression fabrics which are extremely tight fitting garments became well-known from UnderArmour™ commercials. Is UnderArmour™ moisture wicking? Yes, but uses compression fabrics to hold the polyester very tight to your skin, similar to spandex. Moisture wicking not only keeps you cooler in the summer, but warmer in the winter. Its all about the elimination of moisture from your skin. UnderArmour™ is the most notable brand name, but many other companies offer similar compression style fabrics including Champion, Sport-tek and Badger.
WASHING AND CARING FOR SHIRTS: Almost all 100% Cotton shirts sold today are made using pre-shrunk cotton. Does pre-shrunk mean they won't shrink, NO! It means that if washed and dryed properly, the fabric will maintain its original sizing longer. Does 50/50 shrink less, hardly! Adding polyester to the fabric blend helps with wrinkle resistance, not shrink resistance. Although polyester itself will not shrink, at high temperatures it can melt, however, the 50% cotton part will shrink. Shrinking occurs when shirts are washed in hot water AND placed in a HOT dryer for too long.
Shirts or other printed apparel should be washed on Gentle Cycle inside out, in cold water only, without bleach. This will provide maximum durability and colorfastness. Wash LIKE colors together, i.e, Whites unprinted, Whites printed, Darks with Darks, Light Colors such as yellow, red, blue or greens separately. By washing like colored fabrics separately you can avoid off-bleeding or dye discoloration. Many times today, shirt fabric dyes are not permanently set and can affect the colors of other shirts in the wash.

Can you ruin a screenprint by improperly washing and drying a shirt? Absolutely! Printed T-Shirts should be washed inside out in cold water and hung to dry. If you absolutely insist on using a dryer, tumble dry on very low temperatures for no more than 10 minutes, then hang-to-dry. Do not iron on any ink print! Drying a printed shirt for too long, or using moisture control sensors, or keeping dryer temperatures too high will cause the ink to breakdown. This has nothing to do with the printing process, but everything to do with termperature effects on cured ink!!


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