Not all t-shirts are created equal. There are two universal types of routinely made cotton t-shirts: open-end cotton and ringspun cotton. If you have ever received a cheap, free t-shirt you are familiar with open-end cotton. It is sometimes scratchy in texture, stiff and heavy. If you examine the shirt closely, you can see the fibers of the open ended cotton in the fabric. It will look fuzzy, uneven or bulky. Carded cotton is cotton which has been prepared for spinning into thread or yarn. Carding is an important step in the processing of many textiles, ensuring that debris is removed while aligning the fibers to make them easier to spin. Without carding, cotton thread would be coarse and extremely fragile.
While these thicker shirts work great for giveaway shirts, if you are looking for a retail-like feel in your t-shirt, you need to get a ringspun cotton t-shirt. Ringspun shirts are very soft, finer, smoother and overall more wearable. These fashion forward shirts often screen print better because of the tighter knit fabric, free from the open ended fuzziness of the open-end cotton material. You start with the same cotton fiber strands. But in the Ring-spun 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. Ringspun t-shirts are perfect for companies, clothing lines or schools wanting to have customers wear their shirt more than once. Most often, people that receive a free open end cotton t-shirt will typically wear it once and then it will make its way to the back of the drawer, never to be seen again. While the nicer, ringspun shirt will become a customers favorite tee.