[Complete Guide] The Best Shirt Fabric Update 07/2022

To answer the question of what is the best shirt fabric, I’ve often pondered it before starting a new project. There are so many beautiful fabrics to choose from that it’s difficult for me to choose on just one for my next project. As a result, I decided to spend some time looking into which fabrics would be best for sewing the kinds of shirts I would want to make in the future.

The following is a list of the most important findings:

If you’re going to be doing something active while wearing the shirt, you’ll need a fabric that’s appropriate for that activity. You’ll also want to consider the season when picking out a shirt’s fabric. Top shirt fabrics include:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Linen
  • Rayon
  • Wool
  • Polyester
  • Blends

Check out our guide to help you figure out what kind of shirt fabric is best for different types of outfits and events. We’ll also go over the positives and negatives of each type of shirt material. After reading this article, you’ll be able to determine which shirt fabric is best suited to your sewing project’s requirements.


Best Fabric for Shirts

Aesthetics, softness, and breathability are all important considerations when choosing a shirt fabric. In this part, you’ll discover the top 12 shirt fabrics and the most effective uses for each one.

1. Cotton

Calvin Klein Men's Dress Shirt Slim Fit Non Iron Herringbone, White, 16' Neck 32'-33' Sleeve (Large)

Everything from casual t-shirts to dress shirts may be made from cotton, which is used by fashion designers. Cotton may be used in both knitted and woven shirt patterns because of its versatility.

Because of its versatility, affordability, softness, and universal availability, this fiber is a favorite of designers and consumers alike. Because it is one of the most pleasant and breathable fibers to wear right next to the skin, people consider it one of the greatest materials for shirts.

Cotton can also be a terrific way to show off one’s individual sense of style. Textile designs such as slogan t-shirts and printed blouses look great when printed with this fiber, which is easy to dye and print with fine detail. Cotton shirts can be worn in a variety of ways, including business-casual, dressy, casual, athletic, refined, or laid-back.


  • Comfortable and breathable
  • Easily accessible and reasonably priced
  • Screen printing is good on this surface because of its smoothness.


  • It is susceptible to wrinkling and shrinkage.
  • In cold temperatures, it does not provide adequate protection against heat loss from the body.
  • Planting cotton requires a large amount of harmful chemicals, such as defoliants and weedkillers to keep the plants in good condition. This has a negative impact on the environment.

2. Pima Cotton

Amazon Brand - Lark & Ro Women's Pima Cotton T-Shirt: Crew Neck & V-Neck, Light Grey Heather, XS

There are few textiles more attractive for shirts than extra long-staple Pima cotton, which produces a soft, durable, appealing fabric that is easy to wear. For example, shirts manufactured from Pima cotton are more resistant to being ripped, torn, wrinkled, and faded than shirts made from regular short-staple cotton.

Pima cotton has many of the same qualities as other cottons, such as softness, breathability, and adaptability, apart from its affordability. It is more expensive than other cotton fabrics because of its rarity.

The growing region is one of the main differentiators between Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton. Farmers grow Pima cotton in Peru, the southern United States and Australia.

The growing region is one of the main differentiators between Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton. Farmers grow Pima cotton in Peru, the southern United States and Australia.

  • The growing region is one of the primary differentiators between Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton. Pima cotton is grown in Peru, the United States, and Australia.
  • It is one of the key differences between Pima cotton and Egyptian cotton as to where the cotton is grown. In Peru, the southern United States, and Australia, Pima cotton is grown by small-scale producers.
  • More durable than Upland cotton in terms of wear and tear


  • This cotton fabric is more expensive than others of its type.
  • Contrary to popular belief, genuine Pima cotton is extremely difficult to come by; it is both scarce and much sought after by counterfeiters.

3. Egyptian Cotton

JustWhiteShirts Men’s Egyptian Cotton White Non Iron, Stain Resistant Dress Shirt, Long Sleeve Modified Collar, Button Cuff (15-34 Reg)

Long staple Egyptian cotton fabrics like Pima are among the most luxurious cotton fabrics available. Long-staple cotton is softer, silkier, and more pleasant on the skin than regular cotton. It is also more resistant to pilling, tearing and other symptoms of wear and tear. Egyptian cotton fabrics, on the other hand,

When comparing Egyptian cotton and Pima cotton, one of the most important differences is the area in which they’re grown. Egyptian cotton is grown in the fertile soil of the Nile River basin, which is rich in nutrients. Others who aren’t fans of this fiber say it doesn’t necessarily mean good quality because any cotton farmed in Egypt can legally be branded “Egyptian cotton.”


  • Astonishing suppleness
  • Exceptional toughness
  • Wrinkles, fading, pilling, and ripping are less likely to occur with this type of cotton than with regular cotton.


  • Pure, original Egyptian cotton with an extra-long staple fiber is difficult to come by since it is sometimes counterfeited or fraudulently combined with lower-quality cotton fibers.
  • Expensive

4. Supima Cotton

Lands' End Women s SS Relaxed Supima V Neck T Shirt Ivory Dried Floral Petite X-Small

In terms of breathability and softness, Supima cotton is a top choice for shirts because of its similarity to regular cotton. Additionally, it provides a few additional advantages.

In the United States, only “Supima cotton” refers to long-stapled and premium quality cotton fiber. It is claimed that Supima cotton is twice as robust as normal cotton.

In order to keep track of their products as they move through the supply chain, Supima’s management has devised a system. Finished clothes created from Supima cotton fiber benefit from this level of traceability.


  • Hands that are delightfully supple
  • The best resistance to ripping, fading, and pilling of all kinds
  • The product’s authenticity is guaranteed by the organization’s attempts to monitor its movement.


  • Costly in comparison to other cotton fabrics.

5. Silk

CAMIXA Women 100% Silk Blouse Long Sleeve Ladies Shirt Satin Charmeuse Work Top S White

In nature, silk is made from the cocoons of silk worms. When it comes to manufacturing elegant dress shirts and beautiful blouses, silk is a top choice because of its silky feel, good drape, breathability, and stunning appearance. A smaller percentage of fashion designers employ silk into t-shirts, athletic shirts, and other shirt designs.

Dress shirts can benefit greatly from the usage of silk-blend fabrics that are created by textile designers. Silk and linen, for example, provide all the benefits of linen in a sturdy, long-lasting, and breathable fabric. Compared to ordinary linen, the combined fabric has a lustrous, silk-like surface.


  • Intricate, one-of-a-kind textiles
  • Luxurious and squishy feel
  • It’s a stunning piece of drapery.
  • Lightweight
  • Strong


  • Extremely pricey
  • To produce silk, silk worms must be killed. This isn’t a fiber that’s suitable for vegans.
  • In order to wash it, it needs specific attention.

6. Linen

Makkrom Mens Long Sleeve Shirts Linen Button Down Beach Yoga Casual Summer Shirts

Linen is a natural cellulose material that comes from flax plants and is extremely durable. Because of its durability, breathability, adaptability, softness, and fashionable appearance, this fiber is ideal for shirt textiles. Clothing made from linen, such as fitted dress shirts, crew neck shirts, and fancy or casual knitted t-shirts, is quite versatile.

In comparison to other fabrics, linen doesn’t droop as much, such as silk, rayon, and polyester do. Textile designers, on the other hand, have a variety of strategies to counteract this harsher trend. In order to enhance rayon’s drapability and movement, they often combine it with other fibers such as spandex, cotton, or polyester.


  • An ideal combination of breathability and ease of wear
  • Fabrics with high wear and tear resistance are produced.
  • Compostable


  • Susceptible to wrinkles
  • Extremely pricey
  • Can’t stretch or drape like some other materials can.

7. Poplin

Amazon Essentials Men's Regular-Fit Short-Sleeve Plaid Casual Poplin Shirt, Gold/Navy, Small

Unlike other plain weave fabrics, Poplin has a higher percentage of its weight in the weft yarns than in the warp strands. As a result, the across direction has a modest but fascinating ribbed appearance.

One of the best fabrics for making dress shirts is poplin, because it has so many appealing properties. It’s long-lasting, adaptable, comfortable, and fashionable. These shirts can be worn to work every day, but they are also appropriate for formal events like weddings.


  • Wearing cotton poplin is both breathable and easy on the skin.
  • Hard-wearing and rather long-lasting.
  • An essential piece of clothing that may be dressed up or down depending on the occasion


  • Susceptible to wrinkles
  • Doesn’t keep you warm while it’s freezing outside.

8. Flannel

Amazon Essentials Men's Regular-Fit Long-Sleeve Flannel Shirt, Red/White/Blue, Plaid, XX-Large

Twill or plain weave cloth that has been woven, fulled, and napped is commonly used to make flannel.

Flannel shirt materials can be made from a variety of fibers, including cotton, wool, polyester, and mixes of these. According to the fiber content of the produced flannel fabric, its qualities will differ. When you put on one of these distinct kinds of flannel, you might expect to have varied results.

Casual shirts can benefit greatly from the softness, drapability, durability, and comfort that cotton, wool, and micro-polyester flannel fabrics provide.

Wool flannel creates some of the greatest cold-weather work shirts because of its outstanding heat-insulating characteristics.


  • Accommodating to wear on the skin
  • Long-lasting and dependable
  • It covers well.


  • Laundering wool flannels is a delicate process that requires considerable attention.
  • A high risk of pilling

9. Twill

Amazon Brand - Goodthreads Men’s Slim-Fit Long-Sleeve Plaid Twill Shirt, Navy Eclipse, Small

Softness and unique diagonal lines are the hallmarks of twist weave. For these reasons, twill is a popular fabric for manufacturing dress shirts as well as more casual shirts.

Cotton, silk, rayon, wool, polyester and mixes can all be used to weave twill fabrics. ” Twill textiles will have varying features and benefits depending on the fibers used in their manufacturing. This is why it is so important to choose the right fibers when making twill fabrics. To make shirts that are soft, breathable, adaptable, and timeless, cotton twill is the fabric of choice.


  • Extraordinary suppleness
  • An ideal combination of breathability and ease of wear


  • Risky when it comes to shrinking
  • It does not drape as well as a basic weave structure like poplin.

10. Rayon

Van Heusen Men's Air Short Sleeve Button Down Poly Rayon Grid Shirt, Black Iris Texture, Large

Wood chips, wood pulp, or bamboo plant fiber can be used as raw materials for the production of rayon fabric. Despite the fact that the fabric is made from natural materials, it is neither natural nor totally synthetic.

Rayon is one of the best shirt materials because of its absorbing properties, smooth hand, and graceful drape.

If you want to make a printed shirt, rayon is a great fabric to use. The use of rayon in weaving and knitting results in very smooth surfaces. Results in graphics being clear, bright, and crisp when printed on rayon.

Shirts made from rayon blends are also quite attractive. It’s possible that you could sew a rayon shirt from a polyester/rayon or rayon/spandex blend. Cotton/polyester/rayon/spandex combinations are also available.


  • Spectacular movement and drape.
  • Comfortable to wear because to the material’s high level of breathability.
  • Wood pulp and fast-growing bamboo are used in the production of these products.
  • Affordably priced
  • It’s easy to knit or weave into smooth fabrics for printing on since it takes dyes and prints wonderfully.


  • Dry cleaning is the preferred method of cleaning because it weakens significantly when wet.
  • The use of environmentally unfriendly chemicals is over.
  • In cold temperatures, it does not keep the wearer warm.

11. Wool

Pendleton Men's Long Sleeve Fitted Board Wool Shirt, Blue Ombre, SM

You can get wool by shearing sheep or other fiber-producing animals. Breathable and wicking qualities make it an excellent choice for sewing dress shirts, t-shirts, and other types of casual wear, as well as for activities such as hiking and skiing.

A combination is not necessary for wool, which is an exceptional fiber in and of itself. Textile designers, on the other hand, do use wool in combination with other fibers.

Textile makers often use synthetic blends with approximately 10% to 20% wool to make lower-end shirts and other clothing. Adding even a small bit of wool to finished fabrics can have a huge impact on their warmth, resilience, and feel. If you can’t get your hands on 100 percent wool fabric or it’s too expensive, you might settle for a shirt made of 20 percent wool and 80 percent synthetic fibers.


  • Heat-retention-optimized t-shirt fabric
  • Resistant to smells
  • Wicks away perspiration and breathes well.


  • If not properly cared for, it is vulnerable to shrinking and felting.
  • Shirt textiles should avoid coarse wool fibers because they can be irritating.

12. Polyester

MIER Men's Quick Dry Polo Shirts Polyester Casual Collared Shirts Short Sleeve, Moisture-Wicking, Sun Protection, Khaki, S

In terms of fibers, polyester is by far the most widely used. At its best, polyester can make some of the best athletic shirts. When made with breathability in mind, polyester can provide some of the most lightweight and effective sporting garments. The latest high-tech polyester materials can feel pleasant, breathable, silky, and opulent in comparison to traditional polyester fabrics.

Some of the best-blended fabrics for other sorts of shirts can also be made with polyester because of its affordability and wrinkle resistance. Polo shirts, dress shirts, and t-shirts can be made more affordable and wrinkle-resistant by combining polyester with another soft, absorbent fiber, like cotton, such as viscose.


  • Affordable
  • Easy to clean, stain-resistant, and machine washable
  • The ability to resist wrinkling
  • Dries in a flash
  • Long-lasting and durable.


  • No regard for the environment
  • Washing frequently isn’t enough to get rid of the foul smells.

What Is the Best Fabric for Dress Shirts?

Calvin Klein Men's Dress Shirt Slim Fit Non Iron Herringbone, Mist, 14' Neck 32'-33' Sleeve (Small)

Cotton, silk, linen, and rayon are some of the most popular fabrics for dress shirts because of their softness and breathability. Having a dress shirt that’s comfortable to wear is essential because it will be in direct contact with your skin. Dress shirts made of cotton are the most popular.

Dress shirts made of polyester/cotton mixes are among the most popular items on the market. Some customers prefer the addition of polyester to dress shirts because it reduces wrinkle susceptibility. Poly/cotton shirts, on the other hand, tend to be cheaper than cotton shirts.

Woven rather than knitted, the majority of dress shirts are used for business attire. Poplin, oxford, broadcloth, pinpoint, herringbone, and tweed are some of the most common weave architectures for dress shirts.

Best Quality Fabric for T-Shirts

The most popular t-shirt textiles are cotton, polyester, and blends, although fashion designers have fashioned t-shirts out of every possible material. In addition to sports t-shirts, wool is an excellent material for dressier t-shirts. Knitted cotton is a good bet if you’re not sure what fabric to select for your regular t-shirts.

Combed ringspun Pima or Supima cotton is considered by textile industry experts to be the softest, strongest, and best quality cotton. The combing and ring-spinning processes remove impurities and produce a soft, long-lasting product.

Microfiber is a better choice for polyester shirt materials since it is softer and more durable than regular polyester.

Best Fabric Blends for T-Shirts

T-shirt fabric blends can be made from an almost infinite number of different high-quality fabric blends. A tri-blend fabric comprised of cotton, polyester, and rayon is an excellent choice. Cotton/spandex and poly/cotton blends are also popular options.

What Is the Best Fabric for Polo Shirts?

Construction-wise, polo shirts and t-shirts are very similar, but the collar and buttoned placket of a polo shirt distinguish it from a regular t-shirt. When it comes to t-shirts, the best ones are made from the same fabrics that are used to manufacture the best polo shirts. Polo shirts are most commonly produced from cotton knits, cotton blends, or merino wool knits.

Knitted jersey and piqué are two of the most preferred options for high-quality polo shirts by fashion designers.

Merino wool is sometimes used to make premium polo shirts by designers at high-end fashion firms. Merino wool is a popular fabric choice for polo shirts because it works well in both hot and cold climates, keeping you warm when it’s cold and keeping you cool when it’s hot.

Best Fabric for Casual Shirts

Tank Tops

In the summer, tank tops are most commonly worn, therefore it’s best to use lightweight, breathable fabrics. When it comes to sewing tank tops, cotton and rayon are two of the most breathable materials.

Hawaiian Shirts

Alimens & Gentle 100% Cotton Regular Fit Short Sleeve Casual Hawaiian Shirt for Men - Color: 1640, Size: X-Large

Hawaiian shirts are best sewn with cotton, silk, rayon, or a combination of these textiles. An important factor for Hawaiian shirt manufacturers, therefore, is the fabric’s ability to print properly. The print on a Hawaiian shirt is one of its most appealing features. Printing on cotton, rayon, and silk is a breeze.

Fabrics made of rayon, in particular, have a tendency to display prints in a clear and distinct manner. Because of its excellent drape and breathability, rayon is an excellent choice for summer-friendly Hawaiian shirt fabrics.

Best Fabrics for Athletic Shirts

Hiking Shirts

Hiking shirts made of merino wool or polyester are the most comfortable. Moisture-wicking, breathability, lightness, speed of drying, and antibacterial properties are the most important considerations when designing a hiking shirt.

There’s one major advantage to using merino wool over polyester when it comes to producing hiking clothes. As wool is inherently antibacterial, the scents it produces are kept at bay. Polyester can be treated with antibacterial chemicals, although these tend to wash away with time.

BALEAF Women's Quick Dry Shirts Long Sleeve for Running Hiking Workout UPF50+ SPF Lightweight Pullover Light Blue Size M

Golf Shirts

Polyester or a 50/50 cotton/polyester blend are the ideal materials for golf shirts. Blends of other flavors are also becoming in popularity. Cotton/elastane, polyester/spandex, and polyester/rayon/spandex are all examples of this type of fabric.

Breathability, moisture-wicking capacity, and stretch for ease of movement are the most important attributes for golf shirt textiles. UV protection is another feature that many golf shirts have.

Best Shirt Fabrics by Season

Summer and Spring

When it’s hot outside, breathability is a must-have feature in your shirt fabric. As a result, the ideal shirt fabrics for spring and summer are cotton, linen, and rayon. Summer-friendly shirts can also be made using a combination of these fibers.

Polyester and nylon can also be used for shirt textiles if they are manufactured with breathability and comfort in mind.

Fall and Winter

Each fabric’s insulating characteristics should be taken into account while selecting winter shirt fabrics. Wool is the finest insulator out of all the shirt fabrics that are regularly available.

Wool or wool-blend tweed materials are ideal for winter dress shirts. In the fall and winter, wool flannel shirts are ideal for informal outings.

It is possible to use polyester and other synthetics for winter apparel if the garments are well-constructed. Polyester fleece is an example of a polyester shirt fabric that is suitable for the colder months.

Best Fabric for Men’s Shirts

Many appealing fabrics can be used to make men’s shirts; the best fabric for a particular shirt depends more than anything else on the shirt’s intended purpose. A man’s dress shirt would be made of a different material than his undershirt or athletic shirt, for example….

Cotton is the greatest material for men’s dress shirts based on popularity alone. Men’s dress shirts look great when made of silk. Silk is a wonderful fabric for dress shirts.

Different shirt fabrics are preferred by guys who work outdoors in the forestry or building and construction trades compared to men who work in cubicles and offices. Cotton flannel, wool flannel, polyester fleece, wool fleece, and similar fabrics that retain body heat well on cold days are ideal for these men’s work shirts.

To get started sewing your own shirts, we recommend checking out the following popular, highly rated fabrics:

100% Cotton Poplin Fabric

Pre-cut squares of 39 x 55 inches of combed cotton fabric are available at a low price (100x140cm). This fabric is available in a wide range of colors and patterns, so you’ll be able to choose something that fits your personal taste. It’s easy to clean and dry. It can handle being ironed, washed in hot water, or dried on the warmest setting in your washing machine.

Cotton Spandex

JerseyYou could make this soft, breathable cotton/spandex jersey into comfortable t-shirts or lightweight summer tops. It’s a four-way stretch fabric that offers a 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex blend. The fabric comes in a pleasing color palette of wearable colors, including black, yellow, a couple of blues, several pinks, several neutral shades and other colors.

The fabric is a breeze to maintain. It’s easy to clean and gets softer with each wash.

Yarn Dyed Linen Blend

Robert Kaufman, a reputable fabric producer that has been in business since 1942, is the source of this luxuriously soft and squishy linen-cotton blend fabric. The cloth might be used to make tailored shirts or beautiful blouses. The fabric has a denim-like appearance, but it drapes better and has a more refined aesthetic. As long as you take good care of it, this is a long-lasting material. To care for it, simply wash it in cold water in your washing machine and dry it on low heat in your dryer. Preshrinking is recommended because this fabric is likely to shrink slightly the first time it is washed.

Kaufman Flannel Solid White

This is another Robert Kaufman fabric that you may want to use to make your own comfortable and wearable shirts. This fabric is a flannel made of cotton that comes in a rainbow of solid hues. When you add the fabric to your shopping cart, you can specify how many yards you need it to be cut. Low-heat tumble drying is all that is required for this cloth.


As a rule of thumb, the ideal shirt fabric depends on the season and the occasion you’re going to be attending. Wool, silk, linen, rayon, or polyester shirts can also be worn on special occasions, although cotton shirts are the most common.

With this information, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions about what type of shirt fabric is appropriate for any given situation. Do you have a go-to material for your shirts? Let us know what your favorite shirt fabric is in the comments below, and if you found this information useful, please share it with others who might benefit from it.

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