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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dress Shirt Fabrics

Dress shirt fabrics come in various constructions such as oxford, herringbone, twill, poplin, end-on-end, pinpoint, basket weave, ginham, etc.  Most of which are woven fabrics.  Shirt fabrics are also referenced as "shirtings".   
dress shirt fabrics
Cotton is by far the most common fabric for dress shirts, and most fabric names refer to a particular method of weaving the shirting fabric.  The numbers sometimes listed with fabrics denote the thickness of the yarn from which the fabric is made; higher numbers mean thinner yarn.  The finer yarn results in a finer clothing and typically higher prices.

Yarn is the generic term for a thin, long, continuous strand of textile fiber before it is woven into cloth.

A yarn number tells you the diameter of the yarn used in the fabric.  Fabric has a lower yarn number because the yarn used to make the shirt is wider. Thinner fabric has a higher number.  Typically 80-100 signifies high quality.  Thread count is often referred to with a number like 50s, 80s, 100s, 120s, 140s 160s, etc. up to 200s.

Ply is a term used to describe the number of yarns that are spun together in the shirt fabric. Two ply means that two different yarns are twisted together before the shirting fabric is woven.  Fabrics can either be two-ply or single ply.

You might see a fabric’s construction described as something like “100/2×100/2″. The way to read this is that it has 100s two-ply threads running in both the warp and weft directions.  Warp threads run vertically. Weft yarns run horizontally.

Broadcloth—very similar to poplin–is a tightly woven fabric with a very simple over-under weave and slight sheen, which makes it very dressy.  Broadcloths are great for guys looking for as little texture as possible in their fabrics.  They are generally a thinner, lighter fabric.

Oxford vs. Pinpoint - The difference between the fabrics is not in the weave, but in the thickness and weight of the yarns that are used. Pinpoint generally has a higher thread count, and a lighter, finer weave then Oxford Cloth.  Thus, pinpoint dress shirts are preferable over oxford cloth dress shirts in formal situations.

The construction of the cloth and yarn count is only part of the shirt fabric puzzle.  The fabric also must complete a proper finishing process to be prepared for being cut and sewn into dress shirts.  There are a variety of processes that must occur before the cloth is considered “finished.”  These processes are referred to as the “finishing.”  This process can include dying, sizing, pre-shrinking, and sanforization (Sanforization is a process of treatment used for cotton fabrics mainly and most textiles made from natural or chemical fibres, patented by Sanford Lockwood Cluett) to name just a few common ones.  Some finishing techniques such as bleaching and dyeing are applied to yarn before it is woven while others are applied to the grey cloth directly after it is woven or knitted.  Each of these processes has a direct effect not only on the appearance of the cloth, but also on how it later performs.


Dress Shirt Weaves (Charles Tyrwhitt shirts)

If you are a fashion designer looking for factories to manufacturer your dress shirts in the shirting fabric construction of your choice, you can check the dress shirt factory section of our clothing factory area.

You may want to also learn about suit fabrics if you would like to do a bit more reading.

Learn more about fabrics from our fabric mill section.


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