100% Cotton Undergarments With Polyester Stitching or Elastic Waistbands?

Have you ever been curious on why care/garment labels show their content as 100% cotton when they have components with elastic and polyester? This reader did.

Hello, wondered if you could help me out. I am a firefighter and it is recommended that we wear 100% cotton undergarments. However, I noticed that the stitching in the seams appears to be polyester and the the waistbands are full of elastic . They say 100% cotton. Do you know why this is?

Also I am interested in Under Armours charged t shirts. Any input you have would be helpful.

My Response

hey craig!

thanks for stopping by and sending in your question!

many cotton undergarments are sewn with polyester thread – mainly because it’s stronger and it will stretch with the garment. pure cotton thread is more likely to break if the garment is stretched too much. of course, it also depends on the sewing “stitch” or technique used as well. i don’t know diddly about the different stitch types, but wikipedia.org has a sewing stitch category you can take a look at if you’re interested.

while i don’t know for certain, i assume the ftc has certain guidelines on how garments are labeled and if the body of the garment is made with a certain fabric, the only requirement is to state that fabric’s contents. i’ve never seen any product that states what type of thread is used, or the make-up of the elastic waist bands either.

for whatever it’s worth, i’ve actually heard of “100% cotton” t-shirt products containing a tiny bit (maybe 1%) of spandex/elastane to provide stretch. since 1% is so small, no one can detect it and thus, companies that do that don’t disclose on the label that it contains that 1% of spandex.  i’m not sure how i feel about that, but i heard it happens.

i’m not too familiar with where to find 100% cotton undershirts/underwear that are made with 100% cotton thread, but you may want to check out haband.com and see what they have to offer. check with their customer service to confirm in advance. i would still guess that their products are sewn with poly thread, but maybe you’ll find some boxers that don’t have the big elastic waistbands. you might also want to check out some other woven boxer products like the “coopers by jockey” (nordstrom) or something similar.

lastly, i may be wrong, but i don’t think the 100% cotton recommendation from your firehouse implies that the items cannot be sewn with polyester thread or have elastic waistbands. if they really did mean that, it would be kinda difficult for you to find products like that.

Under Armour Charged Cotton T-shirts

I did forget to respond to Craig’s question about the Charged Cotton T-Shirts (with Cotton Inc’s TRANSDRY) from Under Armour, but if you’re interested, do a quick search for “Charged Cotton” on my site and you’ll find some article on that product and other similar products like Polarmax, which is also made from TRANSDRY.

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