Has this ever happened to you? You buy a new t-shirt that fits perfectly. You happily wear it, wash and dry it. Then the worst happens – your perfect t-shirt has shrunk an entire size.
As a business owner or crafter bringing your products to life on customized t-shirts, this can be even more challenging. It’s not just the shirts in your closet that you worry about keeping their same size. It’s the shirts that your consumers will be wearing, as well.
After working hard to create beautiful designs, embroidery and prints to customize your t-shirts, the last thing you want for your customers are t-shirts that shrink. Not only will shrunken t-shirts change in the way they fit, but they can also warp the design on the garment.
Once customers experience quality issues with the sizing of their t-shirts, they’ll more than likely return them for refunds or exchanges. There’s even a chance that they may hesitate to continue buying your t-shirts or other products. This is not a situation you want to happen.
To avoid the problems that come with shrunken t-shirts, we’ve got some tips to help.
Buy Pre-shrunk Cotton
The first way to limit shrinkage on your craft t-shirts is to shop for pre-shrunk cotton.
Preshrunk cotton, as the name implies, is shrunk before it’s made into t-shirts. Large swatches of cotton fabric are treated this way to ensure that when the material is cut and sewn into t-shirts, they stay that size.
At Bella + Canvas, we preshrink all of our cotton. This gives you and your customers peace of mind knowing that the garments they wear will stay the same size, before and after, washing them.
Choosing pre-shrunk cotton is one of the best ways to ensure that you’re getting quality garments that will stay the same size – even after washing.
Teach Your Customers How to Care for Their Shirts
Whether you choose pre-shrunk cotton or not, another effective way to prevent shrinkage is to properly take care of your t-shirts — and teach customers how to do the same.
Wash in cold or warm water — never hot: Washing garments in cold water guards against them shrinking due to the heat. This is also gentler on the fibers, which helps the fabric wear longer over time. Even if garments are pre-shrunk, there can still be some slight shrinkage if washed in hot water. Instead, choose cool or warm water settings to minimize the reduction in size of the garments.
Air dry or use low heat: Just as cold water minimizes shrinkage during the washing process, using low or no heat when tumbling clothes in the dryer gives them a better chance of staying the same size. Alternatively, you can hang t-shirts on a drying rack, padded hanger or lay them flat to dry. With no heat, the drying method, is best of all in keeping clothes from shrinking.
Do a Wash Test to Ensure Quality
Doing a wash test with one of your t-shirts allows you to examine the quality of your pre-shrunk garment, to see if you’ve chosen the best available. Remember, all pre-shrunk cotton isn’t the same. Fabric from a cheaper supplier could shrink twice as much as a slightly more expensive option.
Wash and dry one or more of your shirts to ensure that you’re choosing quality t-shirts. It also gives you a realistic expectation that if there is any shrinkage, you’ll know how to advise your customers on what they can expect.
Work With a Supplier That Focuses on Premium Materials
Another way to practically guarantee that your craft t-shirts don’t shrink, is to work with a supplier that focuses on premium materials.
Not all cotton is created equally. This means that not all preshrunk cotton is created equally, either. At Bella + Canvas, we go the extra mile to limit shrinkage on our shirts using certain methods during the finishing process. This process happens before the fabric is cut and sewn into a t-shirt to return the fabric to a natural state.
The extra care and steps that we take at Bella + Canvas means that when choosing our premium t-shirts, you get maximum shrinkage of 5%. Other brands’ pre-shrunk cotton reduces in size up to 10% — which is still a pretty noticeable difference.
By choosing Bella + Canvas pre-shrunk cotton t-shirts, you get half the amount of shrinkage compared to other brands. That’s quality that you can’t beat.
Additionally, with Bella + Canvas, you can create custom t-shirts with no minimum sizes, styles, colors, or quantities on domestic orders. You order exactly what you need for your brand — and none of what you don’t need or want.
How Bella + Canvas Pre-shrinks Cotton for Maximum Size Retention
Here’s a look at how we shrink our cotton at Bella + Canvas to minimize shrinkage:
- First, we over-stretch the fabric to even out any tension it may hold from previous processes.
- Next, the cotton goes to the shrink drying champers, where heat and air blowers work together to tumble and shrink the fabric back to its natural state.
- Finally, the fabric is put into a compactor, where steam compresses the length of the material, making it shorter.
With this process, we leave room for the t-shirt to shrink 5% x 5% (meaning the garment will shrink 5% in length and 5% in width) at most. This bit of leeway is intentionally provided to ensure our t-shirts don’t also have the opposite problem of stretching out of shape over time.
Minimize Shrinking on Your Craft T-shirts With the Best Styles in the Industry
If you’re looking to minimize shrinkage on your craft t-shirts, one of the best steps you can take is to choose quality, pre-shrunk cotton. It’s equally as important to carefully care for garments, and teach customers how to do the same. Plus, you want to work with a wholesale supplier that uses the best practices and materials in the industry.
Taking these steps can help minimize shrinkage of your t-shirts and other clothing items. Not only will this help keep garments the same size, but will also protect the artful designs used to customize your t-shirts.