. Old School Tees Blog: All About Tees: thread count, cotton content, and style

All About Tees: thread count, cotton content, and style

I am new to the tee shirt business. I have graphic design, fabric arts, and silkscreening experience, and have found the intersection of these interests really gel in this new venture.  I am learning a lot (at an advanced age) and want to share some of the cool stuff I have found out about fabric, retail, and tee shirts in general.

Thread count is the amount of threads per square inch of fabric. This is most often noted, in my experience, with sheets. A 250 thread count sheet is not as soft as a 400, and when you get to 600 Egyptian pima cotton it is getting pretty fine. I never thought I would notice a difference until I went to a high end hotel in NYC, and slept cocooned in a soft airy blissful bed outfitted with top-of-the-line sheets. Comparatively my sheets at home felt like sandpaper. I upgraded a little, but could not dish out $300 for a set of sheets.

The same thread count idea goes for tee shirts. A high thread count tee wraps easier, drapes a bit, and feels immediately like you have lived in it for years. It has an "instant vintage" quality.  It can accent your good qualities (rippling a bit over those prized abs) or it can be forgiving (loose boxy fit to forgive the week on vacation when you drank the abs into submission).

KISS band Lips tee is 50% Polyester,
37% cotton, and 13% rayon
Some high thread tees might be a combination of cotton and another product. Often this is a polyester, a synthetic fabric. While many people have a negative association with that word, polyester has its advantages. It does not wrinkle as much as cotton, it is durable, and it retains dye well, which makes it an excellent option for tee shirt production. Combined with cotton in a high thread tee shirt, it provides an excellent canvas for the artist and designer.

Grateful Dead Long Sleeve shirt
50% cotton/ 50% modal

Another fabric used in tee shirt fabric is modal. Modal is a created by spinning cellulose fibers from beech trees. It may have superseded rayon, which has been around for a while, because it feels less synthetic, and can be dyed easier.  It is more absorbent than cotton, and does not shrink as much.  Once combined with cotton, it is a super-soft versatile fabric that wears like a champ. 

Operation Game shirt
100% cotton

There are plenty of high thread count 100% cotton tees which also feel incredibly soft and already worn-in. Ring spun cotton is made from a mixture of long and short staple yarn, and is softer than combed cotton.

Any of the high-thread count tees we offer on our site, from vintage rock to designer graphic, are sure to jump to the top of your go-to shirt list.


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Stella said...

This is a great article about the state of apparel brands as new stater. Those t-shirt look so fantastic and elegant with color variation. Really tempting. I like the way you updated your new business and experiences. Much appreciation and wish you the success. One of the brands I appreciate is 316Tees, who is a Veteran owned company that stands by the claim of "not having competition". They believe that helping other brands is the better way to build their own brand.