Why Do Undershirts With the Exact Same Fabric Blend Feel Different?

Here’s a great question from a reader who was wondering why two different shirts with the exact same fabric content feel different:

I just checked again and you are right the site is up and running, (it was down for a while I guess) what do you know about the martial being so much heavier, the shirts (Execwear) are great and I wear them as an undershirt all the time for work (under scrubs) but they are not as light as the marines ‘T shirt Tactical’ which I wear for workouts, the 83% nylon 17% spandex lightly done is fantastic for that application, I only have 4 and need 6!

So, what this reader was referring to, was the original Marie Tactical T-Shirts (undershirts) compared to the Execwear undershirts that had the exact same fabric blend.

I reached out to several folks who I knew were “in the business” (garment manufacturing), and was astounded when I got this very detailed answer from one of them:

Circular Knitting Fabric Machine

Info Courtesy of Ceil Natkins / Knitted Textile Industry / Reader of  “The Undershirt Guy” website

Any single fiber content (or fiber blend / ie: 83 nylon 17 spandex ) can be made into many different types of fabric constructions, and within that, different fabric constructions can be made into many different weights. Additionally, fabrics of the same construction and content can be ” finished ” in different ways – making yet another way something can be & feel different.

If one sees two shirts on the internet of the same fiber or fiber blend, the only expectation one should have about any similarities between the two shirts should be only that they are the same content. One should not expect they would be the same for anything else, but of course, sometimes they could turn out to be the same.

For further detail, and for those who might be interested regarding the Knit fabric category:

Within any given single fiber or multiple fiber blend :

– there are many different yarn counts (yarn sizes) within any given yarn fiber or blend

– which can be knit onto many different types of knitting machines

– of many different gauges

– which can be made into many different types of fabric constructions such as jersey, patterned jersey, ribs such as 1×1 rib, 2×2 rib, 3×1 rib, 6×2 rib etc, interlock (a form of double-knit), thermal stitches, mesh stitches, jacquard patterns, french terry, fleece…so many different types of fabric constructions.

– all of these individual constructions can be made into many different weights and additionally the finished fabric can be ” finished ” using varying methods to provide different hand feel and/or different properties.

 The content / fiber / is the base element of a long process of technical and design decisions that ultimately yield a great variety of fabric combinations.

Wowzers! Now that’s some bad-ass detailed information. Thanks to Ceil for taking the time to school yours truly on knitting techniques.

So, just because two undershirts are made with the exact same fabric blend, it doesn’t mean they will feel or fit the same.

Think about it — haven’t you seen a bunch of 100% cotton undershirts that fit and feel differently from one another?

5 thoughts on “Why Do Undershirts With the Exact Same Fabric Blend Feel Different?”

  1. There virtually are countless ways fabrics can be made to feel different or better than others. Just in the yarn manufacturing, if the yarn is twisted loosely, that will give a much softer feel to the fabric than yarn that is twisted very tightly. After the fabric is made, there are a million varieties of “hand builders” as the industry calls them (chemicals that are applied to the fabric to give it a softer feel. One example is a silicone softener, similar to Downy) Some companies garment wash their shirts, which give them a “lived-in” feel. Others brush their fabrics, which pulls up loose fibers and makes the fabric seem warm and super soft (think Abercrombie t-shirts). The list goes on and on.

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