Shopping for the perfect T-shirt for yourself or your crew can be a little confusing.
Descriptions such as “self-collar” and “double-needle stitching” aren’t much help if you don’t know what they mean!
Customers should know exactly what they’re getting when choosing a T-shirt. So I invite you to use (and share!) these T-shirt terms as you browse our colorful selection of short- and long-sleeved tees. The glossary also is an ideal resource for fashion educators!
T-shirt glossary of terms
Made equally with two different types of fabrics.
An open-ended, spinning process that uses a stationary tube to propel jets of air for twisting fibers into yarn. The process helps resist the pilling or fuzzing of materials.
A registered trademark of Bella+Canvas that identifies its highest-quality combed and ring-spun cotton.
View one of our most popular Airlume® Unisex Tees for adults.
The American National Standards Institute. The private, nonprofit organization bears the responsibility of tapping representatives from government, industry, education and the public to create voluntary consensus standards to strengthen U.S. business competitiveness and protect the safety and health of consumers and the environment.
A type of fabric incorporated with active elements such as silver to prohibit or destroy the growth of harmful bacteria.
A type of fabric infused with active ingredients such as silver or zinc to inhibit the growth of microbes on surfaces for an extended period of time. It is often used to help remove odors caused by sweat.
The addition of an application or a natural feature of fabric that resists the formation of fuzziness or little balls due to friction while wearing or cleaning.
A type of collar created from the same material as the shirt.
A heavy stitch used to reinforce seams or areas of apparel that are subject to stress.
A stitch method using horizontal and vertical strands to achieve a square pattern.
Fabric that is used to cover the raw edge of a round opening, such as a neckline, to achieve a neat finish.
A finishing process using enzymes on wet fabrics to decrease pilling or fuzziness of knitted materials.
Apparel that does not have a design, logo or other type of imprint.
An embroidery stitch often used to decorate the edge of necklines and sleeves.
Fleece that is attached to another material for added thickness and/or warmth.
Joining sections of materials by using heat, pressure, adhesive or another substance.
Created when two sections of fabric are folded away from each other to form a wide, vertical pleat. It is often found on the top backside of a shirt.
The ability of certain materials to allow moisture, such as sweat, to escape via transmission through the fabric.
A type of tightly woven, plain-weave fabric with fine ribs that gives shirts a smooth appearance.
Fabric that is finished by raising the surface fibers to get a soft, high nap.
Also called Devoré, is a technique that produces a textured look such as embroidery when mixed-fiber material undergoes a chemical process. The chemical literally burns out a layer of the fabric.
CPSIA tracking label
A permanently placed label that identifies the manufacturer, production location, date, batch number and other information regarding a product in case of a recall.
A short sleeve style with a small “cap” above the shoulder area that tapers to nothing beneath the arm.
A type of cotton that undergoes a carding process to separate the fibers and align them in the same direction. The unrefined process leaves the fabric with a rough, inconsistent texture.
A traditional jean-hemming stitch that creates a roping effect by using a continuous thread that loops back on itself.
A plain-weave fabric with a criss-cross thread pattern that resembles denim but is much thinner and softer to the touch.
A fabric created with multiple loops of yarn or stitches in a line or tube. Shirts made with circular knit are seamless and less dense than flat-knit fabrics.
A typically small band of material around the neck of a T-shirt..
The pairing of two or more contrasting colors in a single piece of apparel.
Fabric that has been dyed in colors specifically treated to resist fading or washing away.
A softer version of regular cotton that involves treating the fibers before they are spun into yarn.
A registered trademark owned by Hanes® and used for various types of apparel.
A process that uses a machine to pre-shrink and stabilize T-shirts to reduce the amount of shrinkage after washing.
The use of thread colors that contrast with the color of the T-shirt’s fabric.
Material made from the natural fibers of cotton plants, which are from the genus Gossypium.
A lightweight, basic, natural fiber material used to make shirts and other types of apparel.
Cover seam/cover stitching
A type of stitching that looks like two rows of stitching on top of the fabric and a serge-like stitch on the backside. It provides stretchability to the fabric and covers a raw edge in a single step.
Crew neck collar
A shirt with a round neckline but no collar.
Any cotton fabric that is treated via weaving or another method to create a wrinkled effect or texture.
Refers to the threads of the fabric that run perpendicular to the unraveled or cut edge.
A hem of a shirt that is cut and sewn in a curve such as a half circle.
The “cut” of a T-shirt refers to the style such as how it fits and drapes when worn.
Any imprint such as a design or other type of embellishment placed on a T-shirt.
A unit of density used to determine the thickness of the fibers in the fabric. The higher the denier count, the greater the diameter of the yarn.
A process involving a large-scale digital computer printer to apply artwork via eco-solvent ink through the printer and onto material.
A registered trademark owned by Champion® for shirts with moisture-wicking qualities.
A type of fabric constructed with a double-knit weave for a more structured appearance.
A sewing technique that involves two threads guided through a single eye to create a pair of parallel rows on top of the fabric and a zig-zag stitch on the back.
A registered trademark owned by Gildan for a line of T-shirts designed to be durabile, comfortable and moisture-wicking.
View our best-selling DryBlend® T-shirt for adults.
A registered trademark owned by Jerzees brand that offers moisture-wicking qualities.
View our best-selling Dri-Power® T-shirt for kids.
A style, also known as extended tail, where the back of the T-shirt is longer than the front.
A unique knitting technique where a stitch or two is dropped to create a stripe or “run” in the T-shirt material. This often creates a see-through effect similar to lace.
Referring to the extra long staple (ELS) cotton produced in Egypt, where the climate encourages the growth of longer fibers.
A method of decorating a T-shirt by sewing a design or text directly onto the material.
A technique that creates a lightweight fabric similar to poplin by using a one-to-one weave for a smooth fabric finish.
A washing process that uses enzymes to soften and give T-shirt fabric a worn look and feel.
A T-shirt designed to fit close to the body. The style is often used for athletic and performance shirts.
A style of T-shirt designed to better fit the body of a female. A feminine cut often includes curved side seams, narrower shoulders, shorter sleeves and an overall narrower fit.
Fine gauge knit
A type of shirt fabric made with a fine or small needle to produce a small stitch.
A T-shirt that is cut to more closely follow the shape of a person’s body.
A fabric with a finished edge used to create collars and cuffs on short- and long-sleeved T-shirts.
Often called weft or back and forth knitting, it is a procedure that creates a sheet of fabric by knitting from side to side.
A shirt designed to be loose-fitting with more overall room.
Garment dyed/garment washed
T-shirt fabric that is dyed and/or washed after it is cut and sewn. The procedure softens the color and texture for a more broken-in feel.
An indication of the number of stitches a garment has per inch.
A small piece of fabric sewn between T-shirt hems for added reinforcement.
A type of tag that hangs down from a T-shirt and can include information about size, the manufacturer, fabric, washing instructions and more.
Heat transfer label
A label that contains information about a T-shirt and is affixed by heat and pressure. It is an alternative to a hang tag that can sometimes irritate the skin.
A process that blends different colored fibers into one yarn for a soft, muted appearance.
A term used by Gildan® for its 5.3-oz. sturdy cotton T-shirt. It is the most popular Gildan T-shirt due to its affordability, durability and color options.
In general, a T-shirt that weighs about 6 oz. and is manufactured with heavy cotton yarn.
A collarless shirt designed with a small opening or placket on the chest where several buttons are located.
Herringbone or chevron stitch
A special type of stitch used in embroidery that resembles a herringbone pattern, similar to the bones in the spine of a herring fish.
The International Safety Equipment Association, which oversees the manufacturing of personal protective equipment and technologies. It is an ANSI-accredited standards developing organization.
Any type of design such as a logo or text printed on a T-shirt via a printing process.
A knitting process that creates a thicker fabric credited with keeping its shape longer.
A soft, stretchy knit fabric that is smooth on one side and offers more texture on the reverse side. It can be made with various materials such as polyester, rayon, cotton and blends.
A small loop located on the top, backside of a shirt that is used to hang it on a hook. Locker loops are most commonly found on button-down shirts but are sometimes sewn into T-shirts.
A small panel typically sewn into the top, backside of a T-shirt to reduce stretching when hung on a hook.
A design, mark, symbol and/or name that identifies a company, brand or organization.
A trademarked brand representing a type of synthetic elastic fiber known as spandex. It is popular for its elasticity in clothing.
A form of rayon made from wood pulp. It is produced using recyclable, eco-friendly solvents and boasts wrinkle resistance and a silky feel when blended with cotton to make shirts.
T-shirt fabric that typically is 150-350 grams per square meter (GSM). The higher the GSM, the denser the fabric.
A textile industry treatment for cellulose fabric such as cotton to improve durability, dye acceptance and appearance, and to reduce shrinkage.
A T-shirt fabric often made from polyester or a polyester blend that is highly breathable.
A synthetic fiber often made with a blend of polyester and nylon to create T-shirts that are more durable than cotton, retain shape after wearing and washing, and are quick drying.
Mineral wash (acid wash)
A garment-washing process involving a bleaching agent that makes T-shirt fabrics appear weathered and faded.
A fabric treatment process that wicks away moisture from the skin to keep a T-shirt wearer dry and comfortable.
A type of T-shirt fabric that pulls sweat from the material and away from the skin for a drier, cooler experience.
The typically rough, fuzzy surface of certain fabrics such as velvet or wool.
A registered trademark for the Next Level Apparel company and its line of soft, comfortable T-shirts and other clothing.
Apparel such as cotton T-shirts that generally do not require ironing to retain a neat appearance.
A material made from synthetic polymers containing polyamides and developed into fibers for the manufacturing of apparel.
A budget-friendly process of turning cotton into yarn for T-shirts by bonding fibers with a wrapped fiber that operates vertically to the fiber bundle.
Ounces Per Square Yard
A measurement for fabric in the U.S. T-shirts with higher ounces per square yard are thicker and considered more durable than those with lower ounces per square yard.
Shirts that are treated with excess or multiple dyes for a unique, vivid color appearance.
PMS Color Matching
A standardized color reproduction system that gives a more accurate shade of selected colors. All PMS Colors correspond to a number and are more precise for logos and branding.
A pocket sewn onto the outside of a T-shirt like a “patch” by using pre-cut pieces of material.
A finished fabric treatment that gently breaks some of the material’s fiber for a softer, more comfortable feel.
T-shirt material that is designed to be durable and stretchy for sportswear and other types of activity for people on the move.
Peruvian Pima cotton
A type of high-quality, hand-harvested cotton from Peru that is known for its exceptional durability, absorbance and softness.
Whole pieces of fabric that are dyed after the material is knitted or woven.
A post-production process that applies dye to the surface of fully-sewn T-shirts for a weathered appearance.
The process that occurs when the surface of certain fabrics experience abrasion and produce fuzz or lint balls.
High-quality cotton with a longer fiber than traditional cotton. It is considered wrinkle-resistant, durable and soft to the touch.
A uniquely weaved fabric with raised geometric designs such as parallel cords that give the material texture.
The number of yarns twisted together to create a single thread and used to create a shirt.
Any T-shirt material that is manufactured using polyester fibers or yarns.
A T-shirt that is made with polyester and a mix of other fabrics such as cotton.
A type of T-shirt made with a blend of natural cotton and artificially-made synthetic polyester.
A T-shirt material made by blending rayon and polyester for a soft-to-the-touch finish.
A type of material used to make apparel such as thermal T-shirts and designed for moisture-wicking.
Plain-weave cotton material with tiny horizontal ribbing that produces a durable, crisp, silky-feeling fabric.
Pre-laundered or pre-washed fabric
Material that is washed after manufacturing. Pre-washed cotton T-shirt material is known for holding color better.
A process of washing or utilizing other mechanical means to condense the fibers of the fabric to reduce shrinkage later.
A long, round seam that provides shape and a more flattering fit for a woman’s T-shirt.
A type of material made from plastic polyvinyl chloride that gives a shiny appearance to T-shirts.
A manufacturing technique that rotates the mill a quarter of a turn to eliminate or relocate a crease on a T-shirt.
A sleeveless T-shirt with a T-shaped back across the shoulder blades for less restrictive movement.
A sleeve made with a piece of fabric that continuously extends from the collar to the underarm. Often called baseball shirts, it is named for Lord Raglan who wore a coat of this style after losing his arm in a battle.
Raw edge jersey
A T-shirt style that either doesn’t have a sewn hem or has one with a single fold-over that allows the material’s edge to fray over time.
A fabric that is made from a manufactured cellulose fiber derived from a plant source such as wood.
A type of T-shirt dye that bonds with the fiber to produce a wide range of permanent colors.
Also called classic fit, the cut for these T-shirts tends to be loose and typically made for the average-size person.
A more trendy-fitting T-shirt that often runs smaller and has shorter sleeves.
A type of T-shirt fabric with a ribbed pattern of raised and lowered knit rows.
A type of fabric made by twisting and thinning cotton stands into very fine, soft, strong rope of cotton fibers. The process makes T-shirts more durable.
Nylon material that undergoes a special reinforcement technique during weaving to make them more resistant to tearing.
A selection of bright or neon-like colors used to create T-shirts for those who need high-visibility clothing to prevent safety hazards.
A washing process using sand to soften and give a distressed look to T-shirts.
A T-shirt neckline with an exaggerated lower circle than standard styles
A process that pushes ink through a custom-made screen or stencil onto the T-shirt fabric.
The bottom hem of a T-shirt that is full and flowy for a casual look.
A T-shirt collar that has no joining seams and is knit in a circle.
A T-shirt collar that is made from the exact same material as the shirt.
A style of T-shirt that slightly clings to the body and is somewhat flowy.
A standard T-shirt sleeve with a shoulder seam that continues around the arm in a circle.
A finishing process that adds binding or tape to shoulder and neck seams for added durability at those stress points.
The calculation of how much a T-shirt will shrink based on the type of fabric and processes used during the manufacturing.
The seams located on both sides of a T-shirt that typically run from the armpit to the bottom hem.
The slits created in the bottom side seams of a T-shirt for added style and greater movement.
A type of material consisting of a protein secreted by certain insects to make cocoons.
A T-shirt sewing technique that allows one row of visible stitching on top and two rows on the opposite side.
Referring to the thickness of the yarn, which is determined by the number of times the fiber is twisted. The higher the single, the softer the T-shirt.
A more tailored fit that brings the fabric closer to the body by slight tapering across the chest and waist areas.
Soil release finish
A technique that includes a specific type of fiber and finishing agent used on T-shirts that makes it easier to remove dirt and stains via normal washing.
Synthetic material used to give elasticity to T-shirts and other apparel.
Any of several types of coatings applied to T-shirt fabrics that prevent or help reduce liquids and particles from sticking to the material.
A washing process that uses abrasive stones on T-shirt fabric to soften it and create a distressed look.
A T-shirt imprint process that transfers dyes of digital images onto fabrics.
A trademarked brand of cotton that is considered superior in the U.S. Its extra-long staple fiber gives it extreme softness, strength and added color retention.
A registered trademark of The Lycra Company, it is a form of nylon used to make T-shirts soft, lightweight and moisture-wicking.
T-shirts designed without a tag or label to prevent possible skin annoyance and discomfort..
A type of cotton established by Fermin Tanguis of Peru. It is known for its strong, uniform fibers and immunity to plant diseases.
Fabric or finishing tape sewn over a seam to enhance a T-shirt’s durability and comfort.
A slim-fitting T-shirt that tapers at the waist and drapes close to the skin.
A high-tech, woven polyester T-shirt material known for its durability and quick-drying qualities.
Tags made from a paper-like material that can easily be torn off without tearing the fabric.
A T-shirt fabric created by blending three different materials, often polyester, cotton and rayon.
A sewing technique that involves three threads guided through a single eye. Each stitch is sewn three times for greater reinforcement and fabric stretch capabilities.
A type of T-shirt that is constructed without side seams.
A stitch created when a needle receives a second loop. T-shirt fabrics with tuck loops have reduced elasticity and increased width.
A T-shirt that is manufactured and styled to fit both genders.
T-shirt material that is naturally or artificially engineered to protect the wearer from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
A trademark name owned by Gildan® for cotton weighing 6 ounces. The cotton is spun tight to create a thick, satiny feel.
A style of T-shirt with a neck opening shaped like the letter V.
A fabric weave technique that creates a honeycomb appearance on T-shirts.
A type of knitting that gives T-shirt fabrics crease-resistance and a fast-drying quality. Select yarns and patterning can increase the comfort and stretchability of warp-knitted items.
A dense T-shirt fabric such as nylon and polyester that is woven tightly to resist moisture.
A T-shirt fabric that is embedded with a coating or treatment to resist the penetration of moisture.
T-shirt material made with interlocking loops/stitches running left to right horizontally. Weft knits include rib knits, purl knits and jersey knits.
The act of absorbing or pulling away liquid such as sweat from T-shirt fabric.
The term for fabric designed to reduce or prevent air from penetrating through to the skin.
A process often used for heathered T-shirts that dyes the yarn before the fabric is knitted.
The section of fabric that spans the upper back shoulder area and connects to the backside of a shirt. The back yoke helps the fabric lie flat and drape properly for appearance.