A T-shirt (or t shirt, or tee) is a style of unisex fabric shirt named after the T shape of its body and sleeves. It normally has short sleeves and a round neckline, known as a crew neck, which lacks a collar. T-shirts are generally made of a stretchy, light and inexpensive fabric and are easy to clean.
Typically made of cotton textile in a stockinette or jersey knit, it has a distinctively pliable texture compared to shirts made of woven cloth. Most modern versions have a body made from a continuously woven tube, produced on a circular loom, such that the torso has no side seams. The manufacture of T-shirts has become highly automated and may include cutting fabric with a laser or a water jet.
The T-shirt evolved from undergarments used in the 19th century and, in the mid-20th century, transitioned from undergarment to general-use casual clothing.
The most common form of commercial T-shirt decoration is screen-printing. In screen-printing, a design is separated into individual colors. Plastisol or water based inks are applied to the shirt through mesh screens which limits the areas where ink is deposited. In most commercial T-shirt printing, the specific colors in the design are used. To achieve a wider color spectrum with a limited number of colors, process printing (using only cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink) or simulated process (using only white, black, red, green, blue, and gold ink) is effective. Process printing is best suited for light colored shirts.
Other methods of decoration used on T-shirts include airbrush, applique, embroidery, impressing or embossing, and the ironing on of either flock lettering, heat transfers, or dye-sublimation transfers. Laser printers are capable of printing on plain paper using a special toner containing sublimation dyes which can then be permanently heat-transferred to T-shirts.
Coming soon – a directory of Custom T Shirt supply and printing in South Africa