How to Check the Quality of a T-Shirt
Most garments look good when new, the problems may start surfacing once they are used. Therefore, it is essential to understand the quality of the product you are buying.
Getting the garment laboratory tested is a good option though not always practical especially if the quantities are small.
Suggested are some simple ways which may help you determine the t-shirt quality.
1. Tie a piece of white cotton fabric to the sample t-shirt and put it through a rigorous wash with detergent, flat dry it in the shade and look out for the following:
a. Colour Bleeding: Open the knot and check to see if the colour from the garment has stained the white cloth, if not then it’s safe to assume that the t-shirt is colour fast.
b. Colour Fading: Check if the t-shirt looks faded post wash. T-shirt fading usually occurs if poor quality dyes have been used or the process of bleaching the fabric has been skipped before being put in for dyeing. For many manufacturers, it is common practice to skip this process as it saves on cost and time.
c. Shrinkage: Cotton by nature will always shrink, nevertheless, the same can be controlled by compacting the fabric before it’s conversion into a garment. Measure the garment pre and post wash to see you have the required length for production. The industry allowance for shrinkage in a t-shirt is 5% though ideally the manufacturer should try and restrict it to 2-3%.
d. Pilling (formation of fabric balls on the fabric surface): Usually this is visible only after 2-3 washes. Pilling in t-shirts makes it very uncomfortable to wear. It usually occurs when a poor quality of yarn, in all likelihood spun yarn has been used to manufacture the t-shirt. Spun yarn is one of the most inferior qualities of yarn the garment industry has to offer. It’s very uncomfortable to wear, and it does not absorb perspiration from one's body.
2. Quality of fusing used in the button area of a collared t-shirt: Turn the t-shirt inside out and check if paper or fabric fusing has been used to make its placket. Paper fusing disintegrates in a wash or two leaving you with an unshapely placket. The buttonholes spread up as well making the entire t-shirt look second-rate and worn out within a few washes.
3. Quality of stitching: To increase productivity manufacturers set the stitching machines to take very long stitches, making the garment vulnerable to split. Poor stitching eventually causes the garment to tear easily if stretched.
4. Size of a t-shirt: Sizes of t-shirts may vary depending on the country you are buying from, every manufacturer has his size chart too. Therefore its always recommended wearing the garment to check its style and fit. In attempts to be competitive may manufacturers reduce the size of the t-shirt, therefore, labels like Medium, Large, XL have no meaning, its best to try it on and decide.
5. The thickness of collar and cuffs: Thin Collar and cuffs tend to fray and develop dog ears if thin.
6. Quality of Buttonholes: These are some significant points which will help you understand how quality conscious a manufacturer is. A loosely stitched buttonhole not only looks terrible but is a clear indication of inattention to quality.
7. Neck opening and Lycra in the ribs: Ensure your t-shirt has a good neck drop. Lycra ribs help keep the t-shirt in good shape.