My Favorite Knit Fabrics for T-Shirts

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!

I’ve bought this fabric from Style Maker Fabrics and Black Bird Fabrics. I think more online stores are stocking it now, so go with whichever you are more inclined to buy from.

Here are a few blog posts where I used this fabric:
My 2020 Birthday Outfit
Sewing Maternity Style
SMF Fall Style Tour 2019

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.

Here are a few blog posts where I used this fabric:
The Astair Tee
Santa Fe Top
Strathcona Henley

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. *

End Thoughts

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!

9 thoughts on “My Favorite Knit Fabrics for T-Shirts”

  1. Another knit fabric I would highlight is Laguna stretch from Robert Kaufman. It’s a great basic and less expensive than some of the others you’ve mentioned. It’s great for kids’ clothes – my son was talking about the fabric in a t-shirt I made him and how much he likes it! I’m wearing a t-shirt made from it right now and it’s one of my favorites. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your favorites! That first one from Style Maker fabrics comes in so many colors. And I love that you can request matching thread from them…

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Laguna Stretch before, so now you have me curious! Thank you for sharing! I will definitely be trying it and then report back.

      And I love that Style Maker has started having matching thread too! So convenient, especially right now! πŸ˜‰

  2. I was so disappointed in the dana knit I got from a while back, it was terribly off grain. But I must admit the summer cardigan I made from it has worn very well! Thanks for the tips on the other types!

      1. Woah, I hadn’t even thought of that, I am a reluctant blocker of handknits! Good to know though!

    1. Hi Lois! I like when t-shirts have matching ribbing too. If you’re in the US, Style Maker Fabrics usually has lots of ribbing color options. If you’re purchasing fabric from them, they are great with helping to find the color that matches the best. You can just send them a message with the fabric you are looking at. I’ve noticed more shops carrying matching sweatshirt fabrics and ribbing, but sometimes it’s harder to find a matching jersey fabric.

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