What We've Learned About Those Trendy Tri-blend Tees
Updated: Feb 11
Oh, you tri-blend tee shirt. You are so soft and comfy. You enswathe the wearer with confidence in your just-enough stretch and just-enough constraint. Just-enough drape and just-enough shape. You make us feel sophisticated. And trendy. Like we just threw you on without a thought and could care less what our silly tee shirt is made out of. But we do care. Yes, we do.
And yes, enswathe IS a word.
Tri-blend tee shirts have earned the status of "Favorite Tee Shirt" for many of us, and for good reason. They look great and are just so ridiculously comfortable. They are composed of a blend of about 50% polyester, 25% ring-spun cotton, and 25% rayon, each material lending its own special charm to the mix and satisfying so much of what we long for in a tee shirt.
Ring-spun cotton is well-known for its comfort and breathability and is the most trustworthy of all fabrics from a screen printer's point of view. Generally speaking, the more cotton in a garment, the more consistent the print quality of any design that you want on your shirt will be.
Polyester, of course, lends qualities like resiliency and durability to the mix, as well as it having great wicking ability, keeping the wearer cool and dry. A high polyester content allows tri-blend material to be light and airy while still surprisingly sturdy.
Doubling down on the light and airiness contribution would be rayon. Rayon has a very light, silky, and stretchy feel that adds an even more luxurious quality to the shirt and gives the tri-blend tee the flattering drape that feels like it's been custom fit for each person. Rayon is also extremely absorbant and moisture-wicking, pulling moisture away from the body for all-season comfort.
Now that we've given an overview of what makes tri-blend tees so comfortable, we want to share some things we've learned about tri-blends from a logo design and printing standpoint.
While tri-blend can be a great choice of material for any style of shirt, some considerations need to be made about what designs should be screen printed on it. Due to the composition of the fabric, normal printing techniques that are used to produce bright, bold images just don't work as consistently well as those that yield a soft, vintage look with muted colors.
Modifying your logo slightly to make it look great on a variety of fabrics is the ideal strategy. Distressed designs with muted colors look and feel terrific on tri-blend shirts and give a trendy, retro flair. One-color, dark inks look great on lighter-colored shirts, and tone-on-tone prints come out particularly well on tri-blends.
If you desire super bright and bold prints, your best bet is to choose a fabric with a high cotton content and without the finicky rayon component of the tri-blend, like a 100% cotton or a 50/50, cotton/polyester blend. Choosing a shirt made with combed and ring-spun cotton will give you a shirt that is extra soft and comfortable, rivaling that coveted softness of the tri-blend tee.
In this age of seemingly infinite varieties of fabrics and styles, it's never been easier to demand more from your custom apparel. Work with an experienced decorator who is knowledgeable about current style trends, manufacturing advancements, and decorating techniques and your new "favorite shirt" can be customized just for you!
Looking for an experienced, professional screen printer who will take the time to help you choose and customize your new favorite shirt? Joe at Jarato Screen Printing and Design would love to work with you!