The world of fabrics and fashion is forever changing, leading to all kinds of clothing innovations. You may have heard of blended fabrics, typically made of two types of fibers. The fabrics are most often used for shirts. You may have heard of tri-blend fabrics as well, which are also used for shirts. But what exactly is a tri-blend shirt?
A tri-blend shirt is a shirt made of three different kinds of fabrics. The most common fabrics for tri-blend shirts are cotton, polyester, and rayon. These shirts are soft, lightweight, and are typically used for screen printing and performance wear.
In this article, we’ll look closely at the ins and outs of tri-blend shirts. I’ll explain some of the characteristics of tri-blend shirts and the differences between tri-blend and other types of shirts. Finally, I’ll recommend some of the best tri-blend shirts out there.
What Is a Tri-Blend Shirt?
Blended shirts are any shirts made of at least two different types of fibers. A tri-blend shirt is made of three different types of fibers, and most of the tri-blend shirts out there are made from cotton, polyester, and rayon fibers.
The most common blended fabrics used for shirts are usually cotton/polyester blends, in which the percentage of cotton to polyester can be 50/50, 60/40, 75/25, or other combinations. But in tri-blend fabrics, the percentage of the fibers is usually 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon. However, the exact percentage of cotton and rayon may vary, while 50% polyester is pretty standard.
The biggest difference between most other blended shirts and tri-blend shirts is the added rayon. Rayon helps to make tri-blend shirts super soft while still giving the shirt other characteristics that polyester and cotton provide. Examples of the characteristics that cotton and polyester provide include durability and breathability, among others.
What Are Tri-Blend Shirts Used For?
Tri-blend shirts can be used for anything. However, tri-blend shirts are most commonly used for casual wear due to their comfort, as well as screen printing because they hold designs very well. This is because they contain cotton and rayon, which hold dyes very well. Tri-blend shirts are also great for giving screen-printed shirts a softer or more vintage look.
But another common use for tri-blend shirts is for performance wear. This is because they provide a lot of movement but also provide durability and breathability. They also tend to absorb moisture but don’t hold moisture in. Instead, the fabric dries pretty quickly, so it is a great choice for wicking away sweat when exercising or doing any physical activity.
Characteristics of Tri-Blend Shirts
The great thing about tri-blend shirts is that they share many characteristics of polyester, cotton, and rayon in one package. They are generally very soft and comfortable to wear. But they also have durability and stretchiness to them. Lastly, they are breathable and lightweight.
Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of the three fibers that make up tri-blend shirts individually. That way, you’ll better understand what makes the shirts so great.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is essentially a type of fabric. But because it is synthetic, it is made to have specific characteristics. One of those characteristics is durability and being fairly resistant to shrinkage. Both cotton and rayon are prone to shrinkage and aren’t the most durable when compared to polyester, so that’s why polyester makes up the largest percentage of tri-blend shirts.
However, another benefit of polyester is that it is moisture-wicking. Polyester is one of the most used fabrics for sportswear because it doesn’t hold on to moisture and dries very quickly. Cotton, on the other hand, tends to absorb moisture and doesn’t dry quickly. So this is another reason why polyester makes up the largest percentage of fibers in tri-blend shirts.
Cotton is a natural fabric used to make clothing and other textiles for centuries. Cotton is also one of the most commonly used materials for making shirts and t-shirts. This is because the fabric is generally very comfortable, but it is also versatile. It can be made into fabrics of different weights.
Because cotton can be made into fabrics with different weights, it can be used both for fabrics that need to keep you cool and fabrics that need to keep you warm. In the case of tri-blend shirts, lightweight cotton is used because it is breathable and helps to keep the wearer cool.
Cotton is also very durable, but not as durable as polyester. Cotton also tends to shrink. But because polyester is the highest fiber percentage in tri-blend shirts, cotton provides added durability and breathability, since polyester isn’t the most breathable.
Rayon is a semi-synthetic fabric, which means that it comes from plant-based materials, but they are chemically processed to create the fibers used for clothing. The biggest benefits of rayon being used for clothing are that it is incredibly lightweight and breathable.
Rayon gives tri-blend shirts a little more breathability than just using cotton alone. What’s unique about rayon is that it is absorbent like cotton but dries quickly like polyester. That’s why tri-blend shirts are so popular for performance wear.
Rayon also helps to make these shirts super soft, which gives them that vintage and worn-in feel. Rayon also has the most stretch out of all the fibers used for tri-blend shirts, and if you combine that with being breathable and lightweight makes the shirts super comfortable and gives the wearer plenty of movement.
However, rayon is the least durable fabric in tri-blend shirts and will shrink the most when used. Again, polyester in tri-blend shirts helps to add durability.
Do Tri-Blend Shirts Shrink?
Since cotton and rayon are both prone to shrinking, you may wonder if tri-blend shirts will shrink too, and if so, how much? The truth is that tri-blend shirts may shrink some, but they won’t shrink as much as cotton or rayon would by themselves. It’s hard to put an exact amount when determining how much tri-blend shirts will shrink, though.
Of the three fibers that make up tri-blend shirts, rayon tends to shrink the most. If it is washed incorrectly, rayon can shrink every time you wash it. Cotton can shrink anywhere from 2-20%, depending on whether the cotton fabric is pre-shrunk.
However, the added polyester in tri-blend shirts helps to minimize shrinkage as much as possible. Polyester hardly ever shrinks because it is made not to shrink. And since polyester makes up the largest percentage of fibers in tri-blend shirts, the amount of shrinking is minimal, especially when washed according to the instructions on the care tag.
Is Tri Blend the Same as Dri Fit?
No, tri-blend and dri-fit are not the same things. The difference is that while tri-blend is made of polyester, cotton, and rayon, dri-fit is mostly polyester, with only a small percentage of cotton blended in. Sometimes, dri-fit fabrics can also have a small amount of elastane (spandex) blended in, but it depends on the manufacturer.
Plus, dri-fit fabric is made from microfiber polyester instead of standard polyester. That means that the polyester fibers used to make dri-fit fabrics are thinner. While tri-blend and dri-fit fabrics are used for performance wear, dri-fit fabrics are better for high performance levels due to their durability and superior moisture-wicking abilities. Dri-fit fabrics are designed to minimize moisture absorption by wicking sweat away from the body, whereas tri-blend fabrics are a bit more absorbent.
Tri-Blend Shirt vs Cotton
Cotton fabric is still one of the most common shirt and t-shirt materials, and tri-blend shirts likely won’t overtake cotton soon. But both of these fabrics have advantages, so how do tri-blend and cotton shirts compare?
The biggest difference is that cotton shirts are usually made from 100% cotton, whereas tri-blend shirts only have 25% cotton. Cotton shirts may be heavier than tri-blend shirts and may not stretch as much. Tri-blend will be more lightweight, breathable, and stretchy because of the added rayon.
Because cotton can be made in many different weights, you can also wear it year-round. You can wear heavyweight cotton fabrics in colder months to keep you warm and lightweight cotton fabrics in warmer months to keep you cool. However, tri-blend shirts are generally very lightweight and better for warmer months because they won’t do as good a job keeping you cool.
Finally, shirts made of only cotton may also shrink a bit more than tri-blend shirts unless the cotton has been pre-shrunk. But because tri-blend shirts have added polyester, they won’t shrink as much, especially if the shirt as a whole was pre-shrunk.
Best Tri-Blend T-Shirts
If tri-blend t-shirts seem like something you would like to try out, here are some great men’s and women’s options for both casual wear and performance wear.
Jerzees Women’s Tri-Blend T-ShirtThese tri-blend t-shirts by Jerzees are great if you’re looking for a t-shirt for casual, everyday wear or a t-shirt to screenprint on.
The fiber percentage is 50% polyester, 37% cotton, and 13% rayon. The t-shirts come in packs of two, and there are 5 different colors to choose from.
They also range in size from small to 3X large. They have a feminine fit and can be machine-washed.
Augusta Sportswear Women’s Lux Tri-Blend Long Sleeve ShirtThese tri-blend performance-wear shirts are long-sleeved and are designed for activity. They’re made of 50% polyester, 38% cotton, and 12% rayon.
You can choose from 9 different colors and sizes ranging from X-small to 3X-large.
They also have a feminine fit but have dropped shoulder sleeves for superior mobility.
They can also be machine-washed.
American Apparel Men’s Tri-Blend Short Sleeve Track ShirtThese men’s tri-blend t-shirts are great for everyday wear or screen printing, especially because they are affordable.
They’re made of 50% polyester, 25% cotton, and 25% rayon. You can choose from 11 different colors and sizes ranging from X-small to XX-large.
The shirts have a men’s cut but have a slimmer fit than most men’s t-shirts.
They also have a durable neckband and can be machine-washed.
Augusta Sportswear Men’s Tri-Blend T-ShirtAugusta Sportswear also makes tri-blend t-shirts for men, and these are great if you’re looking for tri-blend performance wear.
These t-shirts can be used for screen printing as well.
They’re made from a blend of 50% polyester, 38% cotton, and 12% rayon.
These shirts come in 8 different colors and range in size from small to 4X-large and can be machine-washed.
So now you know that tri-blend shirts are a blend of three different fabrics, usually polyester, cotton, and rayon. These shirts are commonly used for casual wear as well as screen printing and performance wear. They have all the benefits of cotton, polyester, and rayon combined in one garment, including being durable, breathable, lightweight, and soft. If you found this article helpful, be sure to share it with others.