Published Feb 4, 2024 ⦁ 19 min read
Choosing High Quality Sweatshirts for Printing

Choosing High Quality Sweatshirts for Printing

Finding high quality sweatshirts that print well can be a challenge.

By understanding key criteria like thread count, fabric weight, and manufacturer reputation, you can select sweatshirts that will yield stunning printed results.

In this guide, we'll explore the essentials of sweatshirt quality, compare fabric options and printing methods, evaluate manufacturers, and summarize best practices for care and customization to help you choose the perfect high quality sweatshirts for printing.

Introduction to High Quality Sweatshirts for Printing

When selecting sweatshirts for printing, it's important to consider quality. High quality sweatshirts have features that make them ideal for printing, including optimal fabric weight, thread count, fit, and durability.

Understanding the Essentials of High Quality Sweatshirts

A high quality sweatshirt starts with the fabric. Look for the following specifications:

  • Fabric Weight - A midweight fabric, around 7-9 oz, provides enough heft for a premium feel while maintaining comfort. Lighter fabrics may be too sheer while heavier fabrics can be stiff.

  • Thread Count - A higher thread count, usually around 18-20 threads per inch, gives the fabric more density for vivid print quality. Lower thread counts may appear faded.

  • Fit - Well-fitted sweatshirts hold their shape better through repeated washings and wearings for long-lasting branding.

  • Durability - Quality sweatshirt fabrics are typically 80-90% cotton with some polyester for shape retention. They withstand high heat printing.

The Importance of Fabric Weight and Thread Count

When printing on sweatshirts, fabric weight and thread count have the biggest impact on print vibrancy.

Heavier weight fabrics above 7 oz contain more cotton for ink absorption while dense threads prevent fading, allowing logos and designs to pop. Together, these properties provide stunning imagery.

Conversely, light or sheer fabrics with sparse threads yield muted prints. So quality benchmarks for sweatshirts intended for printing should include weight and thread count specs.

Identifying Your Printing Needs and Quality Benchmarks

Your specific printing application should dictate the sweatshirt quality you require. Factors like print size, quantity needed, timeline, and budget play a role. Consider the following:

  • Small logos or simple designs allow more flexibility versus complex, full-garment prints demand higher quality for clarity.

  • Bulk orders or merch meant for resale require durable, consistent sweatshirts that maintain brand integrity across many prints.

  • Fast turnarounds limit chances to redo flawed prints so quality helps prevent defects.

Understand your exact printing needs, then source sweatshirts meeting quality thresholds for stunning, accurate designs.

Which brand has the best quality sweatshirts?

When it comes to high quality sweatshirts for printing, a few key brands stand out for their exceptional fabrics, construction, and durability:


Champion is known for their heavyweight, midweight, and lightweight sweatshirts that feature a soft inner lining and smooth outer surface ideal for printing. Their hoodies and crewneck sweatshirts are made with up to 9 oz fabrics consisting of 50% cotton and 50% polyester.


Gildan offers high-quality blank sweatshirts and hoodies perfect for printing, with options like their premium cotton Pullover Hoodie made of a 60% cotton/40% polyester fleece blend. Their sweatshirts feature a smooth printing surface and soft inner lining.

Fruit of the Loom

Fruit of the Loom provides a budget-friendly line of blank sweatshirts in a variety of weights and styles. Their HD cotton sweatshirts contain up to 60% cotton and feature a smooth, consistent surface great for printing.

Bella + Canvas

Known for their super soft fabrics, Bella + Canvas has lightweight, midweight, and heavyweight options perfect for printing. Many of their styles contain a poly-cotton fleece blend between 60-80% cotton.

When selecting the best quality sweatshirts for your printing needs, focus on sweatshirts featuring at least 50% cotton, with the highest cotton percentages yielding optimum print results. Prioritize sweatshirts with a smooth, consistent outer surface and soft inner lining for printing comfort. The brands above offer reputable options to consider.

What's the best printing for hoodies?

Screen printing is one of the most popular and cost-effective methods for customizing hoodies and sweatshirts. In this technique, a design is transferred onto a mesh screen, and ink is pressed through the screen onto the fabric.

Screen printing is ideal for designs with:

  • Bold, solid colors
  • Intricate details and complex graphics

Some key benefits of screen printing hoodies and sweatshirts include:

  • Ability to print crisp, vibrant designs
  • Cost-effective for bulk orders
  • Wide range of ink colors available

Other printing methods like direct-to-garment (DTG) printing and dye sublimation work for smaller orders or full-color photographic designs. But for most branding campaigns using custom hoodies, screen printing checks all the boxes.

When selecting a screen printing partner, it's important to choose one that specializes in garments versus paper or hard goods. Factors like fabric type, ink adhesion, pretreatment, and curing processes are all unique for apparel decoration. An experienced garment screen printer will understand all the variables to create a quality print on your custom sweatshirts.

What makes a good quality sweatshirt?

When selecting sweatshirts for printing, it's important to consider the fabric quality. Here are some key factors to look for:

100% Cotton or Cotton Blends

100% cotton sweatshirts, or cotton blended with polyester or rayon, provide the best printing results. Cotton offers:

  • Soft handfeel
  • Breathability
  • Ability to hold prints without cracking

Fleece and French terry cotton are common sweatshirt materials. Fleece is thick and plush for warmth. French terry has loops on the inside for softness.

Fabric Weight

Heavier weight fabrics above 7 oz/yd2 are best. Lightweight sweatshirts under 5 oz/yd2 may not hold prints well.

High Thread Count

Fabrics with high thread counts above 30 threads per inch create crisp printed graphics. Lower thread counts under 20 produce blurred prints.

Reputable Manufacturers

Choose reputable brands like Gildan, Hanes, Fruit of the Loom. Check manufacturers' printing guides for ideal fabrics.

Stick to high-quality, 100% cotton or cotton blend sweatshirts from reliable brands. Prioritize heavyweight, high thread count fabrics for optimal printing results. This ensures graphics stay vibrant with each wash.

How much does a quality hoodie cost?

A high quality hoodie suitable for printing and branding typically costs between $40-$60. Here are the key factors that impact cost:

  • Material: Hoodies made from heavier weight cotton blends with high thread counts tend to cost more due to better durability and printing capability. Expect to pay more for quality fabrics like ring-spun cotton, poly-cotton blends, and fleece compared to basic cotton.

  • Brand Reputation: Established brands known for quality apparel and printing performance like Gildan, Hanes, and Fruit of the Loom are reliably priced in the $40-$60 range. Lesser known brands may compromise on quality to offer lower prices.

  • Style Details: Details like zippers, pockets, tapered waists, and lined hoods add cost over basic pullover hoodies without embellishments. These features improve styling but aren't necessary for good printing capability.

  • Order Quantity: Buying hoodies in bulk brings down the per unit cost. Expect bulk order discounts from reputed manufacturers.

  • Print Location: Having your branding printed domestically rather than overseas saves on shipping and logistics costs.

Prioritizing fabric quality and print durability over frills and extras allows finding optimal hoodies for printing in the $40-$60 range from reputable brands. Compromising too much on quality to save money often backfires through poor printing, wash performance and customer experience. Investing in high thread count, mid-weight hoodies pays dividends through great prints and happy customers.

Selecting the Best Fabric for Printing

The fabric composition and characteristics that affect sweatshirt quality will be examined in detail.

Comparing Fiber Content for Optimal Printing Results

When selecting a sweatshirt for printing, the fiber content is a key consideration for optimal print quality. Cotton is generally regarded as the best fabric for printing due to its breathability, softness, and ability to absorb ink evenly. A cotton-polyester blend can also work well, with the polyester providing enhanced shape retention.

Rayon and modal fabrics are typically not ideal for printing since they lack the durability and structure to hold up to repeated washings with a print. Stretchy athletic fabrics with spandex should also generally be avoided, as the elasticity can distort the print over time.

Ultimately a midweight 100% cotton or 50/50 cotton/polyester sweatshirt offers the best balance of softness, shape retention, breathability, and print vibrancy. The high cotton content allows for brilliant color reproduction without distortion or fading.

Assessing Fabric Weight for High Quality Printing

When printing on sweatshirts, the fabric weight greatly impacts the print quality. Lightweight fabrics under 8oz show through and may not provide a crisp print surface. Heavy fabrics over 12oz can prevent ink from fully saturating the garment.

The sweet spot is typically a midweight 10oz fabric, which provides enough thickness for vivid ink absorption without being too heavy or rigid. This allows the print to look smooth and solid without any visible texture from the fabric underneath.

Heavier fabrics also require adjustments in ink drying times between print passes to prevent bleeding or distortion in the design. So if choosing a thicker 14oz+ sweatshirt, work closely with your print provider to calibrate ink volumes and drying times accordingly.

Maximizing Print Quality with High Thread Count Sweatshirts

For sweatshirts, the thread count indicates how many threads were used to create each square inch of fabric. Most sweatshirts have a thread count between 20 and 30.

For printing, a higher thread count is better, generally above 24. The increased density provides a smoother surface for transferring ink evenly across the fabric, allowing for more precision in the printed design.

High thread count sweatshirts also tend to be softer and more durable over time. The tighter weave resists pilling and holds its shape better after repeated use and washing.

So when selecting a blank sweatshirt for printing, prioritize options with a thread count over 24. This will provide the best possible print quality and garment longevity regardless of the printing method used.


Evaluating Manufacturers for Quality Sweatshirts

Guidance will be provided on vetting sweatshirt suppliers and manufacturers to source high quality garments. When selecting a manufacturer to produce sweatshirts for printing, there are a few key factors to evaluate:

Ensuring Manufacturer Reputation and Quality Certifications

  • Look for manufacturers with a long-standing reputation for quality and reliability in the industry. Seek recommendations from other merchandisers.
  • Prioritize manufacturers that hold certifications like OEKO-TEX Standard 100, which indicates the products are tested for harmful substances. This helps ensure safety and quality.

Ethical Sourcing and Sustainable Production in Sweatshirt Manufacturing

  • Opt for manufacturers that use ethical sourcing standards for materials and labor. This promotes fair, safe working conditions.
  • Favor production methods that are environmentally sustainable, like water-based inks and renewable energy in facilities. This reduces environmental impact.

Balancing Cost and Quality for High Quality Sweatshirts

  • Higher quality sweatshirts tend to cost more due to factors like materials used and production methods.
  • Compare pricing tiers amongst manufacturers to find the right balance of quality and affordability for your budget and needs.
  • Spending a bit more upfront for better quality that lasts through printing washes can save money in the long run.

Vetting manufacturers thoroughly on these criteria helps secure reliable, high quality sweatshirts tailored to your merchandising needs. Sourcing ethically and sustainably produced garments from reputable suppliers is key for successful printing and promotion.

Printing Methods for High Quality Sweatshirts

We'll explore methods for custom printing and embellishing sweatshirts along with considerations for each.

Exploring Direct-to-Garment Printing on High Quality Fabrics

Direct-to-garment (DTG) printing is an increasingly popular method for customizing sweatshirts and other garments. It involves printing directly onto the fabric using specialty inkjet printers.

Some key benefits of DTG printing on high quality sweatshirts include:

  • Ability to print photorealistic, full-color designs including gradients and photographic images. This allows for very complex and detailed prints.
  • No minimum order quantity required. This makes DTG ideal for small batch or even single item orders.
  • Soft feel is retained on the fabric since no transfer media is used.
  • High quality sweatshirt fabrics like ringspun cotton/poly blends can achieve vibrant print results.

When evaluating sweatshirts for DTG printing, opt for fabrics with a smooth printing surface and high thread count, usually around 18-24 threads per inch. Higher densities allow for better ink absorption and image accuracy. Stay away from heavily textured or patterned fabrics.

Advantages of Dye Sublimation on Quality Sweatshirts

Dye sublimation is a digital printing technique that can work well for custom sweatshirts. It relies on heat to infuse specially formulated inks into the fabric for a lasting, embedded print.

Benefits of dye sub for quality sweatshirts include:

  • Ability to print over seams and across zippers and pockets seamlessly since the inks actually dye the fabric. This allows for unique "all-over" print options.
  • Vibrant, photorealistic prints result since the inks bond at the molecular level with the fabric polymers.
  • Soft hand is retained thanks to direct infusion into the fabric instead of layering ink on top.

For sweatshirts, look for at least 50% polyester content for proper dye sublimation. The process works best on high quality performance fabrics that can withstand heat pressing requirements.

The Role of Embroidery in Enhancing Sweatshirt Quality

Getting logos, names, numbers and small designs embroidered is a classic way to customize sweatshirts. Embroidery provides a high-end, dimensional finish that elevates the garment.

Benefits of embroidery on quality sweatshirts:

  • Provides a premium, upscale look compared to prints. Works well for signature branding elements like logos.
  • Lasting durability since thick, industrial threads are stitched directly into the fabric.
  • Machine washable and dryable without distortion or fading.
  • Can handle fine detail and accommodate a range of special threads and patch attachments.

When selecting sweatshirts for embroidery, opt for tightly knit fabrics without loose threads or holes which can snag machine needles. Embroidery can handle midweight to heavyweight fabrics between 8-14 ounces nicely. Lighter fabrics may pucker around embroidery stitches.

Maintaining the Quality of Printed Sweatshirts

Proper care and washing methods are critical for maintaining the quality and appearance of printed sweatshirts over time. Following the garment tag instructions and using best practices when washing can prevent damage and extend the life of printed designs.

Adhering to Care Instructions for Longevity

When sweatshirts are printed using direct-to-garment or dye sublimation methods, the prints become part of the fabric itself. However, they can still crack or fade prematurely if not cared for properly.

It's important to always follow the care tag instructions on printed sweatshirts to prevent harm. Key things to note are:

  • Wash in cold water - Hot water can cause printed inks to run or designs to crack
  • Turn garment inside out - This protects the print from abrasion in the washing machine
  • Air dry only - Putting printed sweatshirts in the dryer can damage prints through heat exposure

Taking these simple steps per the care tag will help printed sweatshirts retain their vibrancy and appearance for longer.

Best Practices for Washing Printed Sweatshirts

When it comes time to wash printed sweatshirts, follow these best practices:

  • Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle with mild detergent
  • Turn the garment inside out before washing
  • Avoid using bleach or other harsh chemicals
  • Line dry only - do not put printed sweatshirts in the dryer
  • Wash similar colors together to prevent dye transfer

Washing inside-out prevents abrasion between prints and other materials in the wash, while air drying helps protect prints from heat damage. Taking these precautions will keep prints looking great wash after wash.

Effective Stain Prevention and Removal Techniques

To keep printed sweatshirts looking their best, it's also important to prevent and remove stains quickly. Common stains include:

  • Ink - From pens, markers, printer paper, etc.
  • Food & drinks - Ketchup, mustard, coffee, wine
  • Oil and grease - Motor oil, cooking oil, lotions

Tips to prevent stains:

  • Avoid contact with staining materials
  • Apply a stain barrier like Scotchguard
  • Rinse spills quickly with cold water

For removing stains:

  • Pretreat with dish soap, vinegar, or stain remover
  • Wash promptly in cold water
  • Avoid harsh scrubbing on prints

Catching stains early and using mild removal methods protects print integrity on sweatshirts.

Following these care, washing, and stain tips will keep custom printed sweatshirts looking great for seasons to come! Let us know if you have any other questions.

Wholesale and Bulk Options for Quality Sweatshirts

Sourcing high quality sweatshirts for printing in bulk quantities can be challenging, but following some key strategies can help streamline the process.

When looking to purchase blank sweatshirts in bulk for printing purposes, consider the following:

  • Research sweatshirt manufacturers and wholesalers that specialize in blanks suitable for printing. Look for ones that focus on high quality materials and construction.

  • Pay attention to fabric blends, weights, shrinkage rates and other technical specifications to ensure the sweatshirts will hold up well during printing and wear.

  • Consider ordering sample packs from a few suppliers to assess blank quality firsthand before committing to a large wholesale order.

  • Opt for high thread count, mid to heavy weight cotton/polyester blend fabrics with low shrinkage rates.

  • Partner with printers to determine ideal sweatshirt specs for the printing technique you plan to use (e.g. direct-to-garment, screen printing).

Finding the Best Deals on High Quality Blank Hoodies Wholesale

When sourcing blank hoodies at wholesale prices, keep these tips in mind:

  • Work with vendors that specialize in printing-friendly blanks to get the best quality at wholesale cost.

  • Order during off-peak seasons and negotiate rates for bulk purchases to get the lowest prices.

  • Consider buying irregulars or seconds which have minor cosmetic defects but still print well.

  • Join buyer groups and cooperatives to access steep group discounting from manufacturers.

  • Be flexible on colors and sizes to take advantage of overstock specials on high quality hoodies.

Quality and Affordability: Sourcing High Quality Blank Hoodies for Printing

Balancing quality and affordability when buying blank hoodies for printing involves:

  • Having clear standards for acceptable fabric blends, construction, shrinkage and other metrics.

  • Gathering quotes from several vendors known for providing quality blanks suitable for printing.

  • Taking advantage of volume-based tiered pricing to get better rates at higher quantities.

  • Optimizing shipping costs by bundling orders or buying domestically.

  • Working with printers and manufacturers to troubleshoot issues with blanks that compromise print quality.

Design Considerations for Men and Women's Sweatshirts

Focusing on Women's High Quality Sweatshirts for Printing

When selecting women's sweatshirts for printing, it's important to consider fit and fabric weight. Women often prefer a more tailored fit, so opting for sweatshirts that come in women's sizing or offer a "fitted" cut can ensure proper shaping post-printing. Fabric weight between 7-9 oz tends to offer an ideal balance of durability and comfort for women. It's also wise to select sweatshirts comprised of at least 50% cotton, as higher cotton content lends itself better to printing techniques like direct-to-garment (DTG).

Some other aspects to factor when picking women's sweatshirts for quality printing include:

  • Fabric Makeup - Blends with cotton, polyester, and rayon provide softness while maintaining printability.
  • Garment Washing - Pre-washed garments yield better print quality since the fabric has already shrunk.
  • Style Variety - Offering multiple women's sweatshirt styles (hoodies, crewnecks, zip-ups) allows for broader branding applications.

Ultimately, prioritizing fit, fabric weight, and composition will enable high-quality printing on women's sweatshirts.

Selecting Men's High Quality Sweatshirts for Optimal Printing

For men's sweatshirts, the key considerations for printing tend to focus more on fabric weight and construction. Optimal fabric weight for men's sweatshirts falls between 8-12 oz. Heavier fabrics like 10 oz+ lend themselves better to printing techniques like screen printing. They also hold up well to repeated washings without losing print quality.

Other notable factors when selecting quality men's sweatshirts for printing:

  • Fabric Density - Higher thread count fabrics provide a smooth printing surface.
  • Garment Construction - Double-needle stitching and seamless necklines give a clean look post-print.
  • Fit - Boxy, classic fits accommodate larger print areas without distortion.

Prioritizing heavyweight, durable fabrics and relaxed fits allow men's sweatshirts to shine when printed. Focusing on fabric quality ensures high-quality printing that endures.

The Intersection of Style and Printability in Men's and Women's Hoodies & Sweatshirts

For both men's and women's hoodies and sweatshirts, it's important to find the overlap between aesthetic appeal and printability. This means selecting fabrics and fits that look great yet still meet the criteria for quality printing.

Some best practices in balancing style and printability:

  • Seek out fashionable heathered fabrics still comprised of mostly cotton.
  • Choose softer fabrics with elevated design details (pockets, toggles, ribbon ties).
  • Offer fitted and relaxed silhouettes to accommodate different body types.
  • Focus on medium-weight 7-12 oz fabrics even in trendy cropped or oversized styles.
  • Provide color variety but stick to light & dark neutral shades that print well.

Choosing sweatshirts and hoodies in on-trend styles doesn't mean sacrificing print quality. By following fabric guidelines and offering expanded fits and styles, fashion and function can intertwine. The result is stylish, personalized sweatshirts people love to wear.

Conclusion: Summarizing the Quest for Quality

Recap of Fabric and Printing Best Practices

When selecting sweatshirts for printing, focus on fabrics with the following qualities:

  • High thread count (160-300 threads per inch) for crisp image reproduction
  • Mid-weight fabric (7-9 oz) that drapes well and feels substantial
  • Cotton-polyester blends that hold shape and resist shrinking
  • Pre-washed fabrics that maximize print vibrancy

For printing methods, direct-to-garment (DTG) and dye sublimation are recommended for photorealistic, full-color prints. Make sure to choose the right technique based on quantity needs and budget.

Summing Up the Sourcing Insights

Vetting manufacturers is key - prioritize ethical, reputable brands known for quality construction and fabrics. Seek out transparency around supply chains and production methods. Domestic factories often allow greater customization and control.

Closing Thoughts on Customization and Care

Consider creative embellishments like embroidery and woven labels to make pieces truly unique. Care instructions are also vital - select durable prints and educate on proper washing methods.

Finding the "sweet spot" means balancing quality, ethics, and affordability. But with due diligence in sourcing, care, and printing choices, custom sweatshirts can effectively build brand loyalty.

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