How it’s Made: T-Shirts, Polo Shirts, Sweatshirts, Hoodies

Everyone loves to wear a T-shirt. People of all walks of life; celebrities or even heads of states;all wear a T-shirt, at some moment of their life; almost everyday!

People often think that T-shirt is like any other garment; like our normal shirts & jackets. No, it is not! It is very different. Technically woven garments and knitted T-shirts are as different as a Cow and a Goat.

The normal shirts & trousers we wear are woven, but T-shirt material is knitted. The yarn used for shirts are woven using weft & warp yarns, where as the yarn used for knitting T-shirts is ring spun hosiery; a different structure from the very beginning. The amoebic nature of the knitted T-shirt fabric makes it all the more difficult in manufacturing.

Two types of hosiery yarns are available. Combed and carded.This just means cleaned and un-cleaned. Combed yarn is much more expensive and will result in premium quality T-shirt. Premium quality T-shirt sellers make it a point to mention that their T-shirts are made of combed yarn. Most of these premium brands outsource their products from large factories in India or Bangladesh.

There are two types of knitting machines. Circular knitting and open width / flat knitting. The flat knitting is generally used for knitting woolen sweaters. T-shirt fabric is mostly knitted on Circular knitting machine. This is what makes it possible to have tubular T-shirts or without side seams. Tubular T-shirts or Polo shirts are no longer preferred, since it could lose shape after wash, unless knitted in the right gauge & weight, using good quality yarn. Maintaining the exact measurements also is an issue,of T-shirts with seamless sides. But the stretchy nature of knitted fabric gives nice fit,breathing comfort and warmth to your body.

Knitting Rib trims for the neck and cuffs is very similar machine, but with different head. Similarly for knitting pique for making Polo Shirts or Sweatshirt hoodies or Interlock material, are very similar machines. All these machines look alike very much, but with different heads to churn out fabric in different patterns.

Collar Knitting Machines are Flat Knitting Machines.

Knit fabric is thoroughly checked for defects and then sent for dyeing for color, or bleaching for white. Before dyeing color, the fabric is half bleached by good dyeing companies, which though expensive, will result in fabric with extra bright rich color & feel, and even depth. The new dyeing method using state of the art SOFT FLOW machines and AZO FREE reactive dyes, make T-shirts or Polo shirts look casually formal.

After dyeing or bleaching, when the fabric is dried, It undergoes a process called compacting. Under normal conditions, this is done at 95 C dry state in new advanced machines. This process not only controls shrinkage, but also gives dimensional stability to the knit fabric. It also decreases the abrasion resistance of the fabric with less tendency to pilling .

When the fabric is ready, every lot is sent to lab, where it undergoes several stringent tests for color fastness, shrinkage and other wash tests, under different modalities. After certified OK, the cut order is given and from now it gets more Interesting and challenging at the manufacturing stage.

Fabric is cut by machine and there are very advanced CAD assisted laser-cutting machines available now. Smaller quantities are cut by standard Lay cutting machine.

The different parts of a T-shirt or Polo shirt or Sweatshirt hoodie are stitched by three different machines. Over-lock machine, flat lock machine and Single needle machine.

Over-lock stitching, using an over-lock machines is for most seams. A 4-thread over-lock stitch gives additional strength to the seams. Bottom and sleeve hems can also be finished using an over-lock stitching, but using an expensive Flat lock machine, a two-needle cover stitch will give additional strength, stability and excellent finish to the garment. The single needle machine is used for placket & collar attachment of the Polo Shirts, taping from shoulder to shoulder, which will re-enforce the shoulder construction and also for attaching labels. At every stage of stitching, QCs check to make sure that high quality standards are maintained.

Once the garment is stitched, each piece is manually checked twice for any defects, and measurements. Then they are ironed; tags are attached and packed.

Basic Round Neck Short Sleeve T-shirt is still the most popular and largest sold single garment in the world. But V-Neck Tee Shirts are gaining momentum; especially among both young and mature generation. V-Neck T-shirt is one of the most popular styles that men and women wear these days. V-Necks also make great casual wear.

Depending on the season or mood, it could be a Short Sleeve or Long Sleeve. Long Sleeve T-shirts, Long Sleeve Polo Shirts or a Long Sleeve Henley T-shirt can add more elegance.

A few plain good quality classic-cut T-shirts and Polo shirts have become a ‘must have in wardrobe’ for every man and woman of modern day. It is the easiest way to give an instant boost to your personality; for virtually any body shape!!!