Shrinkage: Pre-Shrunk Fabric vs Regular Fabric
When comparing two tees, if you knew the cheaper one would shrink after one wash, would that affect your buying decision? There’s nothing worse than when that new shirt you love shrinks up after one wash and never looks the same. Unfortunately shrinkage is common with fabrics containing cotton unless manufacturers, like BELLA+CANVAS take preventative measures against it. We’re going to unravel the truth behind what makes a t-shirt last for the long haul.
What Causes Cotton to Shrink?
The reason natural fibers like cotton shrink is because the fibers want to return to their natural state. During the fabric-making process tension causes the fibers to stretch out beyond their natural length. Then, when warmed by warm water or a hot dryer during the drying process, they try to return to their original state and cause your clothes to shrink.
The reason that the more expensive “pre-shrunk” cotton does not shrink in the dryer is because of a process that takes place during the fabric finishing processes. This basically gets the fabric to return to its natural state before the garment is sewn. We’ve invested in top of the line equipment that sets the industry benchmark for minimal shrinkage. With BELLA+CANVAS, you get a maximum shrinkage of 5% while the cheaper brands out there can shrink up to 10%. That’s basically a whole size!
The Pre-Shrinking Process
First we overstretch the fabric, width-wise, to compensate for all the length tension its had in previous processes…to even it out, if you will.
Next it goes through shrink drying chambers. Air blowers tumble the fabric, and the heat triggers the cotton to revert to its natural state as it shrinks and drys the fabric. These shrink dryers are $1 Million each so it’s no wonder many manufacturers skip this step or do their own subpar version of this.
Next the fabric goes through a compactor which compresses the length of the fabric, using steam, making it physically shorter since the length is where most of the shrinkage tends to occur. We guarantee a shrinkage rate of 5% x 5% meaning the absolute most it will shrink is 5% in both the length and width. It’s always good to leave room for a little shrinkage so you don’t have the opposite problem–which would be the tee stretching out.
No Torque or Twisting
Have you ever had a side-seamed tee where after a wash that side seam isn’t quite on the side anymore? This happens when non preshrunk fabric returns to its original state, pulling the seam along with it. Through our shrink drying process, by stretching and shrinking the fabric prior to sewing, we eliminate any torque or twisting of the fabric after it’s been washed at home.
If you have a BELLA+CANVAS tee at home you’ve probably noticed how little it shrinks compared to the other brands in your drawer.
That’s because we are the only manufacturer that has invested in a top-of-the line preshrink dryers like we’ve just explained. We want what you see to be what you get, with no surprises when you take our tees home. A tee like ours, that looks just as awesome after multiple washes as it does right out of the box, is just one of the things that separates Us from Them.
You can learn more on how a BELLA+CANVAS tee is made! Check this out.
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