What Does Tri-Blend Mean?

A tri-blend t-shirt versus a regular t-shirt is one of the choices that will come up when creating a t-shirt business or when you’re shopping. When I first started working at Threadless and didn’t know the lingo yet, I kept wondering: WTF is a tri-blend?

If you were to ask me, I’d tell you that a tri-blend tee is the softest thing you’ll ever touch. In fact, you’ll want everything in your life made out of tri-blend. But that’s not the most technical definition, so I’m here to shed some more light on the subject.

Tri-Blend Defined

As you might have guessed from the name tri-blend, the blend of the shirt is made of three different fabrics. While a regular t-shirt is 100% cotton, tri-blend tees are 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% Rayon, which makes them softer. Kinda like a fancy t-shirt that runs a little bit smaller and have more stretch to them.

What is Tri-Blend
Left: Regular cotton tee | Right: Tri-blend tee (“Stay Inspired” by Katie Lukes)

They look a little bit different too, having a bit of a dappled look to them, whereas the fabric of regular t-shirts are solid color.

What About Printing on Them?

Does this different tri-blend material mess up graphic designs printed on it? Not really. There’s a little bit of color variation between tri-blends and cotton shirts, but the differences are small. If anything, tri-blends make designs look a little bit better, but that’s my opinion. For more guidance on color on different materials and printing processes, check out this post.

So there you have it: the softest tee material ever, the tri-blend.

Want to start a business selling tri-blend t-shirts? Try out Artist Shops for free!

We’re an artist community built on the power of helping each other succeed — if you’re reading this and have tips of your own to share, please do so in the comments. Thank you!

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25 responses to What Does Tri-Blend Mean?

  1. CJ says:

    Hi, Thanks for the helpful articles! I am looking forward to loading designs up to my shop and was wondering if there is a specific date as to when we will be able to do so?

    • Carrie says:

      I remember them saying they will be opening in waves depending on when you signed up.

    • Lance Sells says:

      We’re expanding at a faster and faster pace so you’ll be seeing an email soonish. Apologies for any delay!

  2. Figure flattering and fab, our womens v-neck features a fitted silhouette and complimentary neckline. Its versatile and comfy look is perfect for stylin’ up, stylin’ down, or stylin’ any super cool outfit.

  3. Mike Bethany says:

    Yuck. I HATE these “soft” t-shirts. They don’t feel soft they feel oily and creepy. It’s like I’m being inappropriately touched by a stranger on the bus. #BanTriBlend

  4. John says:

    Thanks for helping clear up some of the tri-blend mystery. In my experience, I’ve definitely enjoyed tri-blend shirts more than 100% shirts, and the designs do tend to look better on them. As far as the color/look of the actual blend itself, I always think of a heather-type look.

  5. byYaris says:

    “WTF is a Tri-Blend?”..
    Ahahah 🙂 You`ve read my minds! Thank you, it was realy helpful post.

  6. Craig says:

    I pretty much have exclusively worn tri-blends ever since their invention. Everything else is just rubbish.

  7. Peter says:

    By far the softest tees! We used to use American Apparel but the costs were too high in Canada. Check out Today Tomorrow Apparel, these guys have amazing tri-blend tees, v-necks & tank tops. I’ve been using them over 3y now. http://www.ttapparel.com

  8. Ricardo says:

    Hey guys does anyone knows where do they actually make this shirts? So i can get in touch with them.. I am trying to kickstart a business and i could use the information. I would appreciate any help.. thanks

  9. Rhonda says:

    I bought my first tri blend tee at an outdoor festivity. I was really skeptical about buying it without trying it on, I wasn’t sure if it would fit small & tight or like a normal tee shirt. To my surprise, this is THE perfect tee shirt material & it fits better than most tees. It’s relaxed & comfortable & nothing like the stretchy silky feeling shirts that are popular right now (I hate those). I’m so glad that I discovered this, I love tees & this material is my new favorite!

  10. Felipe Baquero says:

    The triblend are the only ones that fit me, I have a few regular all cotton ones in my closet I’ve never worn, L is too big and M is too small, I’ve bought both 🙁 they also feel very cheap.

  11. Claire says:

    Tri-blend is so soft and beautiful to touch, and moves with you very comfortably when you’re wearing it. However, I live in a very hot climate and anything with much polyester in it is unsuitable for wearing in summer, unless you’re into heat sickness. I’d love to see a tri-blend with closer to 25% polyester, and the rest a cotton-rayon blend. I’ll keep dreaming!

  12. marc says:

    how can i distinguish between shitty Gildan-style cut and quality and what is most like American Apparel?

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  18. As far I know a tri-blend is a fabric made up of three different materials: cotton, polyester, and rayon. Rayon is certainly the wild card here, as it’s by far the least common and most mysterious material on that list.

    Rayon was originally created as a silk substitute, giving it a luxuriously soft feel. Made up of cellulose fibers, it’s also moisture-absorbent, making it a great choice for athletic or athleisure wear.

    Rayon by itself doesn’t make for a great t-shirt because of how light, thin, and drapey it would be, but combined with cotton and polyester it makes for nearly the perfect garment.

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  1. […] I love this design, especially against that pinkish background…but again, would never wear a pink shirt, and the color doesn’t exactly go with my room as far as home decor options go. So I bought it as a zip pouch – that way, I didn’t have to sacrifice the cool background color for a more neutral shirt color (as much as I dig my charcoal triblends). […]