No matter your print process, the end finish is always going to be affected by the t-shirts you are printing.
This list is not about which t-shirt is the best to wear as that is highly subjective. The criteria are rating the shirts by will ultimately result in better wear – pricing is another consideration we won’t be going into.
Shape, Fabric and Finish are the criteria we judge a shirt by.
When screen printing, the shape and consistency of the t-shirt is as important as fabric quality as this will affect your printing position and a crooked shirt will result in a crooked print, lastly, a major bugbear when printing is lint or fluff left on the garments during manufacture which can make getting an even print on even an otherwise great printing t-shirt difficult.
Gildan Brand T-Shirts 4/10
Gildan have been the go-to worldwide for budget t-shirts.
However they are often irregular in Shape, Fabric is coarse often with holes so have a low-quality Finish.
Anvil, AL Style, American Apparel all suffer from the Gildan Syndrome, where they experience a significant downgrade once bought by Gildan and are produced in their factories – However, the Fabric that makes the printing surface is slightly nicer 5/10.
Biz and Jb’s T-Shirts 5/10
These shirts are generic and though the Fabric is much better than most of the Gildan offerings, they suffer similar shape and finish issues.
Urban Collab T-Shirts 7/10
UC Hoodies are their own beast, however, the UC T-Shirts are a revival of the last good Anvil T-Shirt for printing.
It is too early to make a call and will be watching these tees with some interest however the “staple killer” Anvil Black tees were high-quality t-shirts. Fabric, Shape and Finish. Urban Collab is one to watch, though New Zealand Only at this stage.
Cloke T-Shirts 7/10
Cloke has done an Anvil black and instead of changing it up have essentially copied the popular Staple Tee, they’ve done this in a similar quality, more or less the same as the Anvil. Another New Zealand brand.
AS Colour T-Shirts 8.5/10
AS Colour T-Shirt Printing is a massive part of what we do, however some of their tees are probably more of a 7/10 and we’d avoid the Basic Tee where possible and it certainly drags their score down, however, they have some damn perfect T-Shirts for Screen Printing.
We Prefer using AS Colour T-Shirts for Screen Printing because you know what you are getting, and that is a consistent Shape and Finish, with great Fabric which screen prints beautifully.
The core range (Staple, Maple, Mali, Classic) are all great, the budget Basic had some teething issues, however, the price point Block Tee is our most requested garment when AS Colour T-Shirt Printing. The printers favourite is the Organic Tee which is a finer fabric.
We would recommend AS Colour for T-Shirt Printing, request it in your quote requests and you can check our AS Colour T-Shirt Printing pricing here.
Freeset and Little Yellow Bird T-Shirts
With cotton to die for, they are the only 100% Fair Trade supplier we have, we still cannot wholeheartedly recommend Freeset – Shape consistency issues are compounded by severe stock issues. We LOVE printing Freeset, it’s just often near impossible.
Little Yellow Bird T-Shirt Printing is something we just getting into and love from an ethical standpoint, a majority of their garment production is Fair Trade and almost all cotton is organic.
They sell their seconds at a discount online, so you generally only get a great quality garment when printing Little Yellow Bird and we are excited to be working with them here in New Zealand.