Have you ever bought a T-shirt and when you try it on its paper-thin or thick and heavy? Tired of feeling like Goldilocks and looking for the fit that’s just right? Ever wonder how much does a t-shirt weigh in different sizes and fabrics? That helpful bit of information is useful, especially when buying clothes online or in bulk packages in stores.
An average T-shirt weighs between 3oz (85grams) and 7oz (198.5g). The weight depends upon the fabric blend, weight, thickness, amount of fabric used for different sizes, and even the age range and gender for which it’s made. So, an adult small can range from 3.5oz to 4.5oz and a 2XL 5.5oz to 6.1oz or more.
We’ve all bought clothes without trying them on and got them home and they’re too big, too small, too thin, too thick, or ‘too’ something! Knowing how much T-shirts weigh in different sizes and fabrics, how stenciling or printing affects the weight, and how to figure out the weight is useful. We’ll help you answer those questions so you’ll be better prepared to purchase online or in-store and get the product weight that you want.
- How Much Does a T-Shirt Weigh?
- Why T-shirt Weight Matters?
- Average T-Shirt Weight
- How Does Fabric Material Affect Weight?
- How Does Shirt Size Affect Weight?
- Does the Printing Style Affect the T-Shirts Weight?
- Long Sleeved T-Shirts and Hoodies Weigh
- How is T-Shirt Weight Advertised?
- Bella Canvas Tees and Next Level Tees
- T-Shirt Weight for Shipping
How Much Does a T-Shirt Weigh?
More and more online outlets are providing information about the weight of different items of clothing. Whether for shipping calculations or to provide shoppers with extra information about a product, it can improve your shopping success. The weight is especially helpful if you know the weight ranges of T-shirts for your size, as it provides a reference when ordering shirts or blouses, as well as your favorite Ts.
Adult T-shirts range from 3oz to 7oz or more depending on several different factors. The weight is affected by fabric composition, thread count and thickness, printing or stenciling, and even humidity. It can further reflect different sizes and even genders too.
The heft can also be used within a size to identify fabric weave, thickness, and quality. A T-shirt between 3oz and 5oz is considered lightweight, between 5oz and 6oz is medium, and those over 6oz are heavyweight. It should be noted though, that medium weight fabric may be used to produce lightweight Ts.
It is important to know the weight of your favorite Ts to prevent confusion. A small adult T-shirt weighing 6.5oz will be much thicker and heavier than a 3oz one, while a 2XL with the same 6.5oz mass, will be almost as thin and light as a 4oz adult small due to the extra fabric. Another confusing issue is how stores report weight: ounces, grams, pounds, or kilograms.
Converting between ounces and grams or pounds and kilograms can be a daunting task laced with nightmares of junior high math. If you grew up learning there were 16oz in a pound or 1000g in a kilogram, then one unit may prove easier than the other. Unfortunately, the unit of measure you’re comfortable with may not be what is listed.
Here are some helpful conversions:
- 1ounce = 28.35grams
- To convert ounces to grams, multiply the number of ounces by 28.35, and you’ll get the weight in grams. (3.5oz x 28.35 = 99.225g)
- 1 gram = 0.0353 ounces
- To convert grams to ounces, multiply the number of grams by 0.0353, and you’ll get the weight in ounces. (198.5g x 0.0353 = 7.007oz)
- 1 pound = 0.454kg (or 0.000454g)
- To change pounds to kilograms multiply by 0.454, or by 0.000454 for grams.
- 1kilogram = 2.2lbs (or 35.27oz)
- To change kilograms to pounds multiply by 2.2 (or 2.205), or by 35.27 for ounces.
- The combined weight of multipack shirts can be used to determine the individual unit weight too. A package of 5 T-shirts with a total weight of 1pound means each T weighs 3.2 ounces (16oz ÷ 5 = 3.2oz) or 90.72 grams (3.2 x 28.35 = 90.72g). If the shirts are lady’s small, they’ll be lightweight, if they’re men’s XL they’ll be super thin and ultra-lightweight, and of questionable durability.
Most manufacturers don’t list the weight of shirts, nor do they identify the amount of fabric that goes into each item. If you are a sewer or sewist, you may have a general idea of how much fabric is needed to make a T-shirt in your size and the weight and kind of fabric you prefer.
Lightweight cotton T-shirt fabric often weighs 2 ounces a square yard, medium weight is around 4oz, and thick or heavyweight is 6oz or more a square. The width of the cloth influences how many yards in length you may need to purchase – 36”, 42”, 54”, 60” – but the weight per square yard remains unchanged.
- 1 linear yard = 0.9 meters or 90 centimeters, and 1 linear meter = 1.09 yards or 39.4 inches
The weight of the fabric per square yard or meter, multiplied by the amount of fabric in that size of T-shirt, will identify its approximate weight. The weight can be used to identify if the shirt is light, medium, or heavyweight.
A small adult T commonly uses 0.94 yds² and a 2XL approximately 1.5 yds². That means a 2XL would weigh 8.34oz if made of mid-weight 5.56oz cotton T-shirt fabric but only 3oz if made of lightweight 2oz cotton – a significant difference in feel, warmth, and durability.
The average amount of fabric in a T-shirt based on size can be calculated with 4 simple measurements. The length from where the neck and shoulder join down to the desired hem-line multiplied by the width across the chest under the arms added to that the length of the sleeve from shoulder to cuff after multiplying it by double the width of the sleeve at its cuff. The sum of the two parts is then multiplied by 2 since there are two sleeves and a front and a back.
- [(Shirt length x chest width) + (sleeve length x 2sleeve width)] x 2 = square units of fabric
There are 1,296 square inches in a square yard, and 10,000 square centimeters in a square meter. There are 2.54cm in an inch, and 1in² = 6.4516cm². The Table below identifies the average amount of fabric found in different uni-sex T-shirts.
|Average Amount of Fabric in Uni-sex T-Shirts|
|Size||Chest Width||Shirt Length||Sleeve Length||Sleeve Widthx2||Total Square Units||Total Fabric in Yards||Total Fabric in Meters|
Note: Table values are average flat measurements and include seam and hem allowances.
Why T-shirt Weight Matters?
The weight of a T-shirt is greatly determined by the weight of the fabric it is sewn from. The weave and type of fiber make up the fabric. A cotton-polyester blend can weigh the same as 100% cotton, or be lighter or heavier.
A lightweight fabric T is often softer, lighter, thinner, more flexible – one reviewer referred to it as ‘buttery-soft’ – and breathable for hot summer days. It may also be more transparent on humid or rainy days. It is lighter to pack, or ship, dries more quickly, takes up less space in luggage or dresser, but it wrinkles easier – especially if cotton.
A medium-weight T can also be soft and as thin or thicker than the lighter weight of the same size. It usually provides a less transparent cover, even when damp or wet. It offers more protection from wind and is usually warmer than lighter material. The added weight takes longer to dry, and is less compressible in a drawer or suitcase, but it tends to wrinkle less.
Heavyweight T-shirts may be soft, brushed, or even coarse. They are heavier opaque fabrics more suited for workwear or cooler weather. The thicker material wrinkles less but is heavier and takes up more space when packed away. It also takes longer to dry.
Average T-Shirt Weight
The weight of a T-shirt depends on the weight and amount of fabric used for different sizes. Shirts less than 5oz (126.75g) are considered lightweight, those between 5 and 6oz (170.1g) are medium weight, and Ts over 6oz are rated heavyweight.
Larger sizes weigh more due to the amount of fabric used, but may be made of lighter weight material, and be rated medium or lightweight. Comparing weights provided by different sales options against the amount of fabric helps identify if a prospective purchase is light, medium, or heavyweight.
The table below identifies and compares the fabric weights using the cloth amounts from the Table (Average Amount of Fabric in Uni-sex T-Shirts) above based on fabric weight per square yard or meter, with the weight of standard size ranges from several different brands.
|Comparison of Average Uni-Sex T-Shirt Weight by Fabric and Brand|
|Fabric or Brand||X-Small||Small||Medium||Large||XL||2XL|
|2oz light weight||1.66oz
|4oz medium weight||3.32oz
|6oz heavy weight||4.98oz
|Fruit of The Loom (Budget)||3.57oz
|Gildan Softstyle Men’s||3.76oz
|Gildan Softstyle Women’s||3.37oz
It is interesting to note, though, that the brand 2XL shirts, although in the heavy T-shirt weight range, are actually made of medium weight fabric. Additionally, the brand smalls and mediums are also made of medium weight cloth, although they fall into the lightweight range.
- T-shirt weight ÷ amount of fabric/size ≈ weight of the fabric used per square yard
- 6.45oz ÷ 1.5 yds² = 4.3oz fabric weight per yard, so medium weight T-shirt fabric
- 4.16oz ÷ 0.94 yds² = 4.4oz fabric weight per yard, so medium weight T-shirt fabric
How Does Fabric Material Affect Weight?
T-shirt fabric is made of natural, synthetic, or blends of both types of fibers. The fibers are spun into yarn of varying thicknesses, and then knitted or woven into fabric. The fabric can be identified by thread count or weight per square yard or meter.
It may also be identified as light (2oz/ yds²), medium (4oz/ yds²), or heavyweight (6oz/ yds²) T-shirt fabric. Some fabric merchants may identify any fabric less than 5oz as light, 5oz to 6oz as medium, and any weight above 6oz as heavy, which can add to the confusion.
Cloth with thicker yarn usually is heavier than thinner material, but the weight of the fibers also influences the weight. Hollow synthetic fibers are lighter and thicker than many thinner natural fibers. A small Tee made of 100% cotton can weigh the same as one made of a 95% polyester & 5% elastane blend. The weight and amount of the cloth used to make the shirt determine its base weight, adding pockets, images or other decorations will increase the weight.
Here are some T-shirt fabric blends and some of the weights they are available in:
|T-Shirt Fabric Blends and Weights*|
|Fabric||Light Weight||Medium Weight||Heavy Weight|
|50% cotton & 50% polyester||3.7oz
|50% polyester, 25% cotton & 25% rayon||3.4oz
|82% polyester & 18% spandex||3.48oz
|95% polyester & 5% elastane||3.74oz
*Weight is based on ounces per square yard (oz/yds²) and grams per meter square (gpm).
Note: There are different percentages of blends and weight values, the above Table holds a random sampling for comparison. The Light, Medium, and Heavy Weight headings reflect categories common in my region.
- 1oz = 28.35g
- 1 yds² = 0.836m²
- 28.35 x 0.836 = 33.911
- To convert oz/yd² to g/m² -> multiply oz/yd² x 33.911 = g/m²
- To go from g/m² to oz/yd², divide by 33.911 = oz/yd²
Lightweight T-shirt fabrics may be 100% natural material, 100% synthetic, or a blend of both fiber types. Most lightweight fabrics weigh less than 4oz/yd² or 135.6g/m². The weight of a shirt made with this fabric will vary depending on its size; the larger the T, the heavier its weight. Light fabrics wrinkle and cling or form to body curves more, and if stretched are almost transparent.
Similar to lightweight fabric, the thread count and yarn size coupled with the fiber composition affects the mass per square yard or meter. Medium-weight fabrics fall between 4oz/yd² (135.6g/m²) and 6oz/yd² (203.5g/m²), and are usually a comfortable weight and breathability for a T. It is thin enough to be flexible and move with the wearer, but thick enough to hide curves.
Heavy T-shirt fabric commonly weighs more than 6oz/yd² (203.5g/m²). It is thicker and moves less freely, so you feel it more. It also breathes less and is warmer, which may make it more suitable for cold weather wear.
How Does Shirt Size Affect Weight?
The amount of fabric in a T-shirt size and the weight of that fabric per square yard or meter determines the shirt’s weight. Small Ts have less material than a 2XL, so will weigh less if made of the same weight of fabric. Different manufacturers and factories use different weights of fabric, which also influences the feel and durability of the product.
As noted in the Average Amount of Fabric in Uni-sex T-Shirts Table above, an XS T-shirt uses 0.76yd² (0.636m²) of cloth and a 3XL slightly more than double that, or 1.55yd² (1.299m²). So, if the same weight of fabric is used to make both shirts, the 3XL will weigh twice as much as the XS.
Does the Printing Style Affect the T-Shirts Weight?
The print style can affect the weight of a T-shirt. The weight of the ink, paint, thread, or plastic used to create the image will increase the overall heft of the shirt, although the change is usually small. Images commonly are added with heat transfer, screen, or digital printing.
Digital printing commonly has the least impact on shirt weight. Digital printing applies the print color directly to the fabric so it uses less ink and produces almost photographic detail. When the ink dries, only the pigment is left, altering the shirt weight marginally.
Screen printing uses more ink or paint than digital, resulting in more weight, but results in more vibrant colors. When the thicker medium dries, it leaves more weight. Although heavier than the digital, it is usually less than the weight of a heat transfer.
Long Sleeved T-Shirts and Hoodies Weigh
The weight of long sleeved Tees and hoodies depends on the amount, kind, and weight of the fabric used in their manufacture. Long sleeved Ts are made of the same type of material as regular ones, while hoodies are heavier fabrics or fleece.
Long sleeve T-shirts are longer sleeved than regular Ts, so more fabric, which results in greater weight. The sleeves can range from 18 to 24-inches (or more), instead of 8.6 to 10.4 for the common T. Some shirts follow similar body patterns to regular Ts, but some are wider and longer to go over other layers. They are also frequently made from medium or heavyweight (5oz to 6oz+/yd²) material too.
Hoodies are commonly made from thicker material than short or long sleeved T-shirts. They are made larger to fit over top of other layers, have a hood with a lace, and often a pouch or pockets, resulting in much more fabric and a significant increase in weight. Additionally, the fleece fabrics commonly used for hoodies range from 5.3oz/yd² to 14oz/yd². A small hoodie may weigh in at 16oz (453.6g), while a 2XL may be 24.7oz (700.3g) or more.
How is T-Shirt Weight Advertised?
Different retailers and some manufacturers identify the weight of the fabric used in production in ounces per square yard or grams per meter square. Others identify the material as light, medium, or heavyweight, which could refer to the fabric used or to the product weight range.
Another method that is becoming common is identifying the actual weight in ounces or grams of the T-shirt or product. This method is helpful to determine shipping costs and the fabric weight used in manufacture.
Bella Canvas Tees and Next Level Tees
Shopping for individual or multiple products, whether for personal use or retail, there are many options available. Bella Canvas and Next Level are two such operations, with a twist. They carry a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors in their product line, and provide much useful information about the fiber composition and cloth weight. Their products are produced using eco-friendly practices and no-sweatshops too! They even have shirts with recycled material blended in.
Bela Canvas Tees
Bella Canvas Ts come in over 50 colors, multiple neck styles, plus slim and relaxed fit. Fabric weight is presented in ounces (OZ) per yard for each T depending on color and fabric blend. Sizes for women range from XS to 2XL, while men’s and unisex run from XS to 5XL. Bella carries Tees, tank tops, long sleeve Ts, sweatshirts, pullover and zipper hoodies, and fleece joggers.
A variety of different fabrics and weights are used in their clothing manufacture. Their T-shirts are sewn from 3.6oz, 4.2oz, or 4.4oz 100% cotton, 3.6oz, 4.0oz, or 4.2oz cotton/poly blend, and 3.8oz triblend polyester/cotton/rayon. The fabric weights make it easier to determine product weights too. All shirts work well with both digital and screen printing.
Next Level Tees
Next Level Ts are available in a wide variety of colors and necklines. The fabric weight in oz/yd² is listed, as is the fabric composition. Available in adult male XS to 4XL and female XS to 3XL, youth sizes ranging from XS to XL, as well as children’s XS to XL. Next level also carries tank tops, long sleeved and hooded Ts, pullover and zip-up hoodies, and sweat pants too.
The Ts are manufactured from 4.3oz 100% cotton, 3.5oz, 3.9oz, 4.3oz, 5.8oz cotton/poly blend, or 4.2oz or 4.3oz triblend polyester/cotton/rayon. The fabric weight for some products is listed as 9oz/linear yard, making weight calculations difficult unless the fabric width is known. All products are ideal for displaying screen or digital print work.
T-Shirt Weight for Shipping
The fabric thickness and weight affect the ease and cost of shipping. Most Tees weigh less than 6oz unless they are larger sizes. Shipping one or two shirts is fairly easy in a sturdy plastic bag style soft-pack envelope, boxboard or padded envelope, or in a recycled or reusable one. A Tee can even be rolled and inserted into a shipping tube too. Bulky or multiple items, however, may need to be boxed.
A 10”x14” soft-pack envelope adds about half an ounce to the shipping weight, and you can write right on it. That makes it a practical method for shipping 2 or 3 Ts, provided there’s no other packaging and paperwork included. Remember though, if the package is leaving the country or is greater than 3/4″ thick, it requires a visit to the postal office.
In the U.S., domestic packages under 13oz with the appropriate postage and no thicker than 3/4” can be dropped in a postal box. If unsure of the thickness or weight, take it to a postal outlet. In other countries, the size and shape of the packaging, along with the weight, often affect the postal shipping rate, so a trip to the local Post Office might be required.
There are alternatives to the postal service for shipping packages and boxes. UPS and FedEx are two common couriers and handle both volume and weight well. Some view them as more reliable than the postal services, however, they commonly are pricier too. The length and girth of the package, along with the weight and shipping distance helps determine the charge.
T-shirts weigh between 3oz and 7oz on average. The thickness of the material affects its weight, as does the size – a 3XL contains almost twice as much fabric as an XS! Adding a digital or screen print to the shirt won’t increase the weight of the shirts very much, but is a great way to individualize its look.
Whether purchasing or shipping, hopefully, you have a better understanding of how much a Tee weighs, and what influences that weight.