Cotton Modal Jersey Knit (cotton/modal/spandex)
I have tried quite a few different types of knit fabrics, and I found a few that I really like for t-shirts. My personal favorite is “cotton modal jersey knit”. This fabric is soft, has great recovery, and has the perfect weight (think: cotton/spandex, but softer and with better drape). I even love the white because it is hardly sheer at all. I’ve worn and washed my shirts made with this fabric SO many times and it does NOT pill. The fabric isn’t cheap, but it’s well worth it for shirts that you are going to wear a ton and that will last you a long time. My husband has a couple t-shirts in this fabric too, and they are the first ones to be worn after the laundry is done because he loves them so much!
Dana Knit (cotton/modal)
Robert Kaufman “Dana Knit” is another popular t-shirt fabric that I like. It’s a cotton/modal blend, but it doesn’t have any spandex (less recovery when stretched out). It’s a little bit thinner than the cotton/modal jersey. I use this fabric for loose-fitting or oversized shirts that won’t be stretched out while I wear them.
Dana knit also comes in some pretty drab colors, in my opinion, so you have to really search to find which store actually has the color that you want in stock. I really like this fabric in the black and huckleberry colors.
Boyfriend Wash Solid (cotton/poly/spandex)
The last fabric I will mention is the boyfriend wash solid fabric from The Fabric Snob. It’s a cotton/poly blend that has really great stretch and recovery, and it’s really soft. It’s also a little bit lighter weight than cotton modal jersey knit. I ordered some to sew a couple of shirts for my sister (pictured above). The fabric reminded me a little bit of athletic fabric when I first felt it, and because of the poly content it doesn’t wrinkle easily! Definitely a plus. It does have that heathered look, but I found ordering the swatch card to be very helpful, because some of the colors are more heathered than others. I just recently made shirts for me and my husband, and they both turned out nice.
Here is the blog post that I wrote about my shirt. * UPDATE: This shirt and my husband’s shirt started to pill a bit after a few washes. It’s a relatively cheap fabric, so a great option to practice on. But if you want a fabric that is going to last a long time and not pill as much, the other two fabrics are a much better opinion. *
I usually wash my clothes on ‘delicate’, dry them halfway, and then take them out while they’re still damp. I love that they have stayed nice, and it feels so good to have finally found a few fabrics that I can depend on for being great for shirts.
I plan to update this post if I find other great fabrics, or have other information to add in the future. Do you have a favorite fabric that you use for t-shirts? I would love to know!
Happy t-shirt sewing!