T-Shirt Fabric Types: Explained

Bonfire offers many different apparel options, made from all sorts of different fabric combinations. But deciphering the different types of fabrics, and qualities of those fabrics can be a little challenging, especially if you are new to the art of printing apparel.

All of the choices Bonfire offers are tested to ensure they are soft, high-quality, and will perform well when printed on. But there are still different characteristics to each of the fabric options we offer. Let’s walk through all the differences between the fabric types you’ll find in our Product Catalog.


Cotton is a natural, plant-based fiber. It’s incredibly affordable and is a safe option for those with more sensitive skin. These factors make it one of the most common fabrics in apparel, especially in products made for children. Cotton apparel will shrink when washed in hot water, so it’s important to know when purchasing a 100% cotton item if it’s been preshrunk. This will help when selecting which size to buy.

There are a few different types of cotton fabric, differentiated by the manufacturing process. The main difference between cotton fabrics is the thickness and softness of the final products.

100% Cotton

Standard 100% Cotton products are typically created with carded open-end fibers, which are bulky, and almost appear fuzzy under a microscope. These more standard shirts are typically more rough and sturdy to the touch. 

Check out our 100% cotton products:

Classic Unisex Tee
Classic Long Sleeve Tee
Classic Unisex Tank Toop
Youth Unisex Tee

100% Ring-Spun Cotton

Ring-spun cotton goes through a manufacturing process where the fibers making the cotton yarn are straightened out to all flow in the same direction. This process makes the cotton yarn softer than carded open-end fiber yarn. Ring-spun cotton also makes strong, tight fabric that feels more lightweight and breathable. 

Check out our 100% ring-spun cotton products:

Comfort Colors Short Sleeve Tee
Comfort Colors Long Sleeve Tee
Premium Unisex Tank Top

100% Combed and Ring-Spun Cotton

If you are looking for an even softer cotton fabric, look no further than combed ring-spun cotton. This fabric is ring-spun, but also goes through the combing process, where the fibers are combed to remove impurities. Because there are fewer impurities in the yarn, the final fabric is ultra-soft. 

Check out our 100% combed and ring-Spun cotton product:

Premium Long Sleeve Tee

Cotton/Polyester Blends

Many apparel items on the market today are made from a fabric that’s a combination of cotton and polyester, also known as a cotton/poly blend. By blending a natural fiber like cotton with polyester, you minimize the shrinkage of the apparel and it will be quicker to dry compared to a 100% cotton shirt. The polyester in the fabric helps the product retain more heat, so shirts made with a cotton/poly blend tend to be a little less breathable than cotton. But the final fabric often has a cool textured look, which has helped make this fabric such a popular choice.

Check out our cotton/poly blend products:

Crewneck Sweatshirt
Premium Unisex Tee

Football Jersey Tee


Triblend fabric is made from a blend of Cotton, Polyester, and Rayon. Rayon is a synthetic fiber, made from naturally derived substances. It can be processed to feel many different ways, with some rayon products resembling the feel of silk. Because rayon is also very absorbent, it’s a common fiber used in athletic wear. When cotton, polyester, and rayon are blended together, the result is an ultrasoft, light and airy fabric. Triblends are a favorite for those looking for the softest shirt on the market.

Check out our triblend products:

3/4 Sleeve Baseball Tee
Triblend Unisex Tee

Whether you’re looking for a thick and durable shirt, or the softest shirt out there, Bonfire has a range of product options to choose from. If you have any questions about the fabrics one of our products is made from, let us know. We’d love to help you find the right apparel option for your needs.

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