Choosing the Right Sweatshirt for Custom Embroidery

Much goes into making a quality fleece sweatshirt. As fleece becomes more fashionable, weight and fabric content become more important to consumers, especially because heavyweight, cotton-rich garments are perceived as better quality. Considering most sweatshirts today feature a screen printed or embroidered logo on them, the quality of sweatshirt has a direct impact on the quality of the logo decorating it

What to consider when looking at different sweatshirts

The weight is defined as the amount of yarn per square yard of fabric. Weight can be misleading, however, when comparing a garment knit with coarser yarns and one knit with very tine yarns. For example, ring-spun combed cotton garments are smooth, soft and comfortable. But they also feel light, and they may not actually be as light as they feel.

Whatever the weight of fabric, the key factor to a good product is how tightly knit the fabrication is, or its density.

Density is determined by the vertical succession of layers (called wales in the industry) and the horizontal succession of loops (know as courses). Multiply the courses by the wales, and you get the density. The higher the density, the better or tighter the surface is to add custom embroidery to the sweatshirt.

Fabric blends

Most sweatshirts are made of a cotton/polyester fabric blend. There are few all-cotton forms of fleece, not only due to flammability requirements, which require that when set on fire a certain amount of time must elapse before a certain length of fabric burns, but because cotton is a weak fiber. Not only does it tend to shrink substantially, it’s harsh and does not have a soft hand. Polyester gives it a soft hand and helps a garment retain its shape.

The blend of polyester to cotton factors into the quality of a garment, as well. Consumers today increasingly prefer cotton-rich fleece, such as 80/20 cotton/poly, 90/10 and 95/5 blends. The classic 50/50 blend is not as popular as it was in years past.

There are two types of fabric blends; intimate and mechanical. In an intimate blend, the yarn itself is blended to create a blend. For example, in a three-end, 95/5 fleece product, all three yarns in knitting would be 95/5 blends. In a mechanical blend, dissimilar fabric types are blended to form a new blend. For example, in a three-end fleece product, one yarn might be 100% cotton, another 50/50 cotton/polyester and the third yarn might be 100% polyester.

The fabric cut affects the softness, shrinkage and quality of custom embroidered sweatshirts. The cut refers to the number of slots or needles per inch of fabric when knit. The higher the cut, the more fabric per inch, the tighter the embroidery surface.

Fit, coloration, construction and features

The fit of sweatshirts has changed over the years. Today’s sweatshirts are bigger. And because there isn’t an apparel industry size standard in the United States, most mills’ patterns deviate. The knitting machine at the factory has a definite influence on the width of fabric,but the fit of the garment after it has been laundered is more important. A sweatshirt may fit great out the first time it is worn, but you must know the proper size after it’s been washed and dried. For example, to achieve a 22-inch (inches refer to chest size) garment, it may be knit as a 23-inch or 24-inch fabric. The difference between 22, 23 and 24 inches is shrinkage.

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