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Welcome to T-Shirts 101!

When it comes to our t-shirt selection, the sky’s the limit. But with so many options to pick from, how can you find something your whole group will love? Don’t worry — we know outfitting an entire group can be tough, so we’ve written this handy guide to help you on your path to the perfect shirt. Whether you’re visiting CustomInk for the first time, looking for the scoop on the hottest styles, or just want to learn more about t-shirts, we’ll cover everything you need to know before you start.

Sleeve Lengths: Choosing by Activity

“Two sleeves, or not two sleeves? That is the question.” – William Inkspeare.

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make when shopping for shirts is sleeve length. To many, sleeves are a practical consideration. A long sleeve t-shirt might provide extra warmth in cold weather, for example, but would be far less comfortable in the dog days of summer. Consider when, where, and why you’ll be wearing your shirt to determine which length best suits your needs:

Short Sleeves: A closet staple – the t-shirt is a garment known by its shape, with sleeves that extend midway down the arm. Great for any occasion.

Long Sleeves: Sleeves extend from the shoulder all the way down to the wrist. Better for cold weather climates and winter gatherings.

Tank Tops & Sleeveless: Shirts without sleeves sewn onto the body. Great for warm weather, athletics, and showing off those arm muscles.

Styles to Look For

“Pockets and raglans and ringers, oh my!”

After you’ve decided on sleeve length, it’s time to start thinking about style. Whether you’re looking for fashion, function, or somewhere in between, we’ve got something for everyone. Here are a few of our most popular shirt style options:

Ladies & Juniors: These styles are tailored to contour to a feminine silhouette, with a narrower bust, tapered torso and shorter sleeves for a flattering look. Juniors garments are usually more form-fitted than Ladies, so consider sizing up.

Performance: These high-tech, sporty styles are made from lightweight materials that keep you feeling cool and dry during athletic activities.

Pocket T’s: A popular feature on t-shirts for more than a century, pockets are positioned in the upper left chest area. Great for storage!

Raglans: Raglans feature sleeve fabric that extends from the collar all the way down the arm, offering comfort and range of motion. The sleeve is a different color than the body of the shirt for a “baseball jersey” look.

Ringers: These two-tone, trendy styles feature fabric ribbing around the neck collar and sleeve bands in a color different from the color used on the body of the shirt.

Necklines: Styles can also be differentiated by the shape of the neck opening.

  • Crewneck: The round, circular neck opening most commonly seen on t-shirts.
  • V-neck: A V-shaped neck opening which is often cut deeper than a crewneck, exposing more of the upper chest.
  • Scoop neck: A curved neck opening that extends wider and deeper into the chest than a crewneck.

Fabric & Materials

It’s been true since the 80s — we live in a material world. But do you know what fabric materials are used to make t-shirts? Fabric can affect the way a shirt looks, feels, and functions, so here’s what you need to know about the most common shirt fabrics:

Cotton: A fluffy, natural fiber obtained from cotton plants that is commonly used to make fabric materials. The methods in which cotton is grown, harvested, spun into thread, and woven affect its thickness and feel.

100% Cotton: These styles are made from fabric containing only cotton materials.

Polyester: A synthetic (man-made) fiber often used for shirts. Light, durable, and flexible, polyester shrinks less than cotton and can provide practical benefits such as moisture wicking.

Blends: Any material that is made up of more than one type of fiber, offering a mix of softness and durability.

50/50 Blends: Equal parts of cotton and polyester are blended to produce a durable, breathable material.

60/40 Blends: Blending 60% cotton and 40% polyester together for an extremely soft feel.

Tri-Blends: 50% cotton, 25% polyester, and 25% rayon are blended together to create this luxurious silky smooth fabric.

Know Your Fit

“If the shirt fits, it’s probably your size.”

Remember, it’s not just about looking good, it’s about feeling good too! The fit of a shirt should flatter your body shape and feel the way you want it to. Since production techniques vary among manufacturers, brands and styles can offer different fits even if they’re the same size! To help narrow it down, we describe which type of fit you should expect from a shirt above the Sizing Line-Up(SM) on every product page.


Runs small: A slim-cut, ‘modern’ fit that typically speaks to a younger audience.

True to size: A regular, ‘average’ cut that generally fits true to standard industry size measurements.

Generous fit: A roomy, ‘loose’ fit for select unisex styles. These allow for a liberal amount of room in a person’s standard size.

We’re Here to Help

Although there are a lot of decisions to make when shopping for shirts, we hope you’ve learned enough to start your journey through our product catalog. Remember, Inkers are here to help, so give us a call at 800-293-4232 or email us with any questions or concerns. We love to talk shirts!


What is Preshrinking? Preshrinking is a process in which fabric is run through rollers that press grooves into the material, condensing it before it is cut and sewn into a garment. These grooves loosen gradually after repeated washes, allowing residual shrinkage to naturally occur over a period of time.

How much should my 100% cotton t-shirt shrink in the wash? Especially when laundered in high heat, cotton has the potential to shrink, and you want your shirt to fit your body after washing. Preshrunk 100% cotton fabrics can shrink up to 4-5% at the time of the first washing. Make sure your 100% cotton t-shirt’s fabric is pre-shrunk before you buy it, or order a size up and allow for some shrinkage if your t-shirt is not pre-shrunk.

What’s an organic t-shirt? T-shirts listed as ‘organic’ are made of 100% cotton material grown in sustainable eco-friendly conditions, with no harmful synthetic dyes or chemicals added during production. To qualify as organic, production processes must meet the standards for organically-produced agricultural products set forth by the USDA National Organic Program.

How much does a Gildan Ultra Cotton T-shirt weigh? The weight says 6.1 oz. but there’s no shirt size listed. Contrary to popular belief, the ounce weights listed on every product page indicate the weight of a square yard of a shirt’s fabric material — the shirts themselves aren’t weighed. We include this information because most t-shirts and polos can be categorized as lightweight, midweight or heavyweight, depending on the weight of the fabric.



Lightweight: Anything under 5.0 oz.

Midweight: Between 5.0 and 6.0 oz.

Heavyweight: Anything over 6.0 oz.


So, our newfound knowledge of Fabric Weight Ranges tells us that all Gildan Ultra Cotton T-shirts are ‘heavyweight’ regardless of shirt size since the fabric weighs over 6 ounces.



New Year, New You! Our Design Resources team created these beautiful hand-lettered cards with little bits of daily inspiration to remind you to always be your best self in 2016. 🙂
Select art from this collection is available in our Design Lab!

Follow CustomInk’s board New Year / New You! on Pinterest.



If you think the Keep Calm trend has been put to rest, think again! Judging by the designs and stories below, the trend is still very much alive with our customers. Check out some ways our customers are keeping up with the Keep Calm phenomenon!


disneyKeep Calm & Disney On

Traveling from Arizona to Florida, the Ampha family had an unforgettable trip to Disney World this summer. The family was stopped numerous times in the park because everyone wanted to know where the shirts were from. Next summer, more relatives are interested in joining, and “they have already requested to have Keep Calm shirts to match!”



roll_onKeep Calm & Roll On

When this customer’s sister was left paralyzed after a tragic accident, she rallied her family and community together to raise funds with these Keep Calm t-shirts. She has hosted multiple events since the accident and has reordered with us more than five times. Pictured here is her niece, who “took it upon herself to spread the word, sell the shirts, and coordinate the day they would wear them to school.”



lettuceRomaine Calm & Like the Lettuce

Team Lettuce used our Group Order Form to order these witty tanks for a fitness conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The coaches pictured are committed to motivating, inspiring, and providing fitness tools for those in their communities. They also really like lettuce.



keep_calm_1Keep Calm & Enjoy Beach Week

This first-time customer’s grandchildren had a grand time at Garden City Beach in South Carolina during their annual family beach week. Being able to pack and wear their custom t-shirts was the “perfect touch for a perfect week!”



librarianKeep Calm & Ask a Librarian

The librarians at New Jersey’s Vineland Public Library are passionate about their jobs and their community. “From teen game nights to small business classes, this library goes a million miles an hour” providing great services and of course, remaining calm throughout everything.



Where does the time go?! One day you’re at the mall with your girlfriends, giggling over cute boys, and the next thing you know, you’re calling them up for potty training tips and tricks. Life certainly has a way of flying by, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected.

Take it from this customer. Despite time and distance, she found a way to reunite with friends that was not only fun for them, but also their kiddos. And so, the “babyfriendcation” was born. As if the idea wasn’t unique enough, she even created super cute commemorative tees.

This summer, as you reunite with good friends, celebrate the event by creating a one-of-a-kind reunion tee. And, long after you’ve returned home to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, smile and remember those moments of relaxation and laughter each time you put on your tee.



For most of us without children, playgrounds are a place of the past. There, lines between cool and uncool were drawn, scrapes and bruises were worn with glory, games were won and lost, and at times, when eyes were diverted, dirt was eaten.

While your body may not fit in the seat of a swing as it once did, and you may not have the endless energy of a kid, the fun of playgrounds can and does continue on. How you ask? With kickball, of course! From choosing the perfect kickball team name to creating a cool kickball design, it’s a blast to round bases even if your legs don’t move quite as fast.

No matter where you’re playing, whether it be a park, softball field, or just your backyard, spice up your life with a little blast from the past. It’s a great way to spend much needed time with friends or experience stress-free fun with coworkers. And, if you’re looking to expand your social circle, consider joining an adult sports league in your area.

Have fun and don’t forget the Band-Aids!


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