Bella + Canvas – Dissecting The Tee


Did you know that two seemingly identical tees can be very different? When you look into what goes into its construction all the way down to the thread level you will be able to see these differences.

How a tee is made has immediate influence on the way it feels, the fit, durability and printability.

Below we will break down the different elements of a tee you’ll want to pay attention to so you can ensure you’re getting the right blank for you and your business.

Carded Open End vs. Ringspun

Ring spun cotton

You start with the same cotton fiber strands. But in the Ringspun process the yarn is made by continuously twisting and thinning the strands making a very fine rope of cotton fibers. The twisting makes the short hairs of cotton stand out, resulting in a stronger yarn with a significantly softer hand.

Combed and ring-spun cotton, this kind of fibers are spun then combed through to remove impurities while ensuring they stays soft to the touch. Fewer impurities mean a smoother surface to print on. Our BELLA+CANVAS products, for instance, are broadly known for their superior quality as they use this combing and ring-spun method.

Carded open-end. The industry standard is usually a carded open-end tee, since it is a cheaper way of turning cotton into yarn. In this method, fibers are bound by a wrapped fiber that runs perpendicular to the bundle, whereas in ring-spun cotton, all of the fibers are aligned in the same direction. Up close you can see that carded open end fiber is bulky, fuzzy and creates an uneven knit.

Side-Seamed vs. Tubular

Side Seams create the tailored structure a tee needs to fit correctly. Although pricier to make, these are the only type of tees you’ll find in a retail store. They also happen to be the only type of tees you’ll find at BELLA+CANVAS.

Tubular Tees are cheaper to manufacture because they require less sewing. They are made by cutting “tubes” of fabric, so they’re exactly the same in the front and the back, aside from the neck drop. Because of this, and the fact that our bodies are not tubes, these types of tees tend not to fit right.

Singles and Weight

Single is a term that refers to the diameter of a yarn, determined by number of times you twist the fiber. The higher the single, the finer the yarn and the softer resulting garment.  Think of it like you do sheets—a higher thread count means softer the sheets! Most cheap shirts are made from 18 or 20 singles. 

Weight, as you can probably guess, is the weight of per square yard or meter. Lighter fabrics tend to be made from combed and ring-spun cotton and are typically much softer than the heavy weight, open-end alternatives.

Now you can navigate the market like a pro! 

If you think that’s cool come here our take on Bella + Canvas Fast Fashion.

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