Ringspun vs Regular Cotton: Which Fabric is Best for Printing T-shirts

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If you thought all t-shirts are made of the same fabric, then you’ll be surprised to learn there’s a huge difference in terms of texture, strength and durability.

If you are looking to make Your own t-shirt then you need to know that a lot goes into the manufacturing of a tee.

Ever heard the term ringspun cotton? For most of us, cotton is just cotton. Right? By the time you're done reading this article, you’ll be able to tell the difference between t-shirts by simply touching them.

cotton sample spun yarn

How is ring spun cotton made?

When you want to make your own t-shirt, you must learn the techniques to differentiate between ringspun cotton and regular cotton. We’ll get to that shortly.

Let's first describe how it is made. Cotton is processed from its raw form (cotton plant) into yarns. The yarns undergo different stages to make them smaller until they are suitable to manufacture the normal tees we are used to.

Now, to make ringspun t-shirts, the yarns are taken into a final stage where they are rapidly spun and twisted onto a large bobbin that thins them. The end result is a very fine gauge yarn that’s straightened to form the cotton used for sewing t-shirts.

What's the difference between ringspun and standard cotton?

1.  Since ringspun cotton goes the extra step of refining the yarns, they become smoother and softer than standard cotton

2.  Because of the twisting, spun cotton is stronger than standard cotton. If you see 40 singles ring-spun on your t-shirt, it means the number of times the fibre has been twisted. A high number signifies extra soft yarn that is extremely strong.

3.  Ring-spun cotton is lighter than regular cotton because of the thinning and twisting process. What's amazing is that although ringspun cotton is lighter, it's more durable. T-shirts weight ranges between 3.0 oz. (light t-shirts) to 6.0. oz. (heavy t-shirts).

4.  Regular cotton (also known as open-end cotton) has its fibres running at right angles to each other. Ring spun cotton, on the other hand, flow in the same direction.

ring spun cotton machine

Why use ringspun cotton for printing?

The lightweight (3.0 oz.) t-shirts make for a beautiful fashion wear. The fabric is more breathable, hence suitable in warmer climates. The thinner a t-shirt is, the tighter the fabric weave and the less ink it will absorb.

This results in high-quality print t-shirts that can last a very long time.

Contrary to popular belief, heavier t-shirts ranging between 18 and 20 singles tear easily and absorb a lot of ink. Prints don’t look good on them and the design is likely to deteriorate.

Wearing t-shirts created out of spun cotton gives tremendous comfort, and the astonishingly soft feel makes it a worthy buy.

Selecting the best fabric

Depending on the use you’ll be putting the t-shirt, then both fabrics can come in handy. If you're into construction work, then you need a regular cotton t-shirt due to regular washing.

If you're thinking of starting an online business selling t-shirts, you might want to start off with some quality t-shirts made from ringspun cotton. You can go to www.makeyourowntshirt.com.au to start your t-shirt business. 

To recap, the quality of the artwork you intend to print will be determined by the type of fabric you choose. Ring spun cotton is lighter but durable. They are loved by ladies for their tight knit. Standard cotton t-shirts have a coarse finish hence making prints look uneven.


When planning to make your own t-shirt, don’t take the “100% pure cotton” description at face value. Be observant and feel the texture of the fabric to tell the difference. Design your own t-shirts in Australia with modern printing machines and choose the best quality of the fabric.