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Why Tultex’s 36 Singles Tee Is a Game-Changer for Your Business

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Why Tultex’s 36 Singles Tee Is a Game-Changer for Your Business

n the world of decorated apparel, Tultex is a brand that many have loved printing on for years. In 2024 though, they're changing the game with their latest innovation, the 602 Combed Cotton T-Shirt.

Why is this seemingly simplistic sounding tee so special though? It’s made with 36 singles fabric, giving it a sumptuously soft hand and is designed to accommodate a variety of printing needs at a competitive price point. But, let’s dig a little deeper.

A Premium Tee Made Close to Home

Tultex aimed to develop a shirt with an unparalleled fit and an exceptionally soft touch. This led to the creation of the 602, a premium t-shirt that’s USMCA (United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement) certified and proudly made in North America. This certification not only helps boost regional economic benefits, but also facilitates expedited shipping, with the tees reaching most U.S. destinations in just three to four days.

Crafted from U.S.-grown combed ring-spun cotton, the 602 is manufactured entirely in one factory, from spinning to finishing. As a printer or distributor, you can confidently pitch the 602, knowing it boasts a single country of origin and is consistently produced in the same location and manner every time – appealing to consumers who want a North American-made, sustainable tee at an affordable price point.

While the top-selling style for band merch, retail, print-on-demand business and lifestyle brands is still the combed ring-spun cotton, 30 singles t-shirt. the Tultex 602 supercharges those qualities, because of the 36 singles construction.

Setting a New Standard of Luxury and Quality

While many consumers prefer the silky feel and drape typically found in blended t-shirts, there’s a growing preference for the natural benefits of 100% cotton. This fiber, known for its strength and durability, is naturally colorfast, and resistant to pilling and shrinking, making it a favored choice for discerning buyers. The 602 offers this unique blend of luxury and practicality with its 36 singles fabrication.

Crafted from 36-diameter twisted cotton yarn, the 602’s fibers are compacted to enhance durability and smoothness, resulting in one of the industry’s most luxurious 100% cotton t-shirts. Notably, the 602 stands out as the only 100% cotton combed ring-spun 36 singles tee in the industry. Despite its premium quality, it’s priced strategically as a margin builder, providing a competitive edge in this highly contested category.

In addition to its superior fabric, the 602 boasts a range of features designed for comfort and longevity. From the ribbed collar to the double-needle sleeves and bottom hem, every aspect of the design reflects Tultex’s commitment to quality.

For those who prefer a CVC companion style, the 602CVC Combed CVC T-Shirt offers a blend of combed ring-spun USA premium cotton and polyester, ensuring versatility without compromising quality. With options like Heather Black and Heather Grey, the 602CVC provides customers with comfort, durability and style with added texture.

The Distinct Advantages of Printing on 36 Singles Fabric

If you’re familiar with t-shirts and other garments, you’re likely aware of the term “singles” referring to the yarn's diameter. The higher the single (or the number of twists), the finer the yarn; conversely, the lower the single, the thicker the yarn.

Take Egyptian Cotton sheets with an 800 thread count, for instance – they’re known for their incredible softness. Sheets with higher thread counts are crafted with finer or thinner yarns, resulting in a smoother, denser fabric. The twisting process highlights the short hairs of cotton, yielding a stronger yarn with a significantly softer feel.

The advantage of using combed cotton fabric lies in its superior print quality. The “combing” process, akin to combing your hair, aligns cotton fibers just as a comb aligns hair strands. This alignment is crucial for achieving high print quality. Unlike carded cotton, which simply sweeps over the yarn without aligning threads, combing ensures fibers lay flat, minimizing stray fibers that might compromise print quality.

Let’s break down the benefits of DTG and screen printing on a 36 singles fabrication:

Direct-to-Garment Printing:

In the DTG process, water-based ink is sprayed or shot down onto the garment, so a fabric’s yarn diameter significantly impacts how well a shirt accepts the ink. When you DTG print a 36 singles shirt vs. 30 singles, you’ll have more yarn per square inch to deposit ink, which reduces the amount you need to saturate the garment.

“Since the ink is somewhat translucent and viscous, it won’t work as well on lower-diameter yarn. Since it absorbs unevenly and too deep into the garment, reducing the print’s fine detail and clarity.”
“Because the fabric surface is denser, there are fewer peaks and valleys, meaning the ink saturation can be achieved using a thinner layer that still yields the necessary printing results needed for DTG prints.”
- Jason Peters, Contract Decorator Network Manager at S&S Activewear

When you DTG print a 36 singles shirt vs. 30 singles, you’ll have more yarn per square inch to deposit ink, which reduces the amount you need to saturate the garment.

Direct-to-Garment Printing Pretreatment:

This solution is an aquatic polymeric emulsion that fills in the spaces between the fabric. When cured, it creates an invisible film that provides a smooth surface ideal for DTG inks to be applied, resulting in a higher-quality print.

Since there’s hardly any space between the fabric or synthetic fibers to block out, the Tultex 602 should require less solution since most of it sits right on top of the shirt's surface. A thinner layer of pretreat on a dark garment means you can print a thinner layer of white ink and still get high opacity.

“On dark garments, this layer of white creates a semi-solid surface for the wet-on-wet CMYK colors to print on. A thinner pass of the white ink that holds the finest details results in the highest level of photorealistic imagery DTG is known and loved for.”
- Jason Peters, Contract Decorator Network Manager at S&S Activewear  

Screen Printing:

The 602 has one of the most printer-friendly fabrications for water-based and plastisol printing. The 36 singles and combed surface make it easy to achieve a soft, detailed print, since the ink sits directly on a smooth, tight-weave surface.

“For water-based screen prints, when you want vibrant colors printed on a dark shirt with the softest hand, the 602 will be your premium choice. Less ink means more profit."
"Because the print surface has a tighter knit, needing to use less ink will also help you net more profit from an order, when using the 602. That way you can extend the use of your ink over more orders in your make.”
- Jason Peters, Contract Decorator Network Manager at S&S Activewear  

A 36-singles combed ring-spun cotton shirt would be the ultimate print canvas for this print method, because you can achieve the opaquest print with the lowest ink deposit, producing an incredibly soft finished product.  

Start Pitching the 602 Today

Exclusively available at S&S Activewear, the Tultex 602 and 602CVC are game changers for the printwear market. These styles are all about luxe softness and top-notch print quality at an attractive price point. They’ll also appeal to a wide range of audiences like musicians, lifestyle brands and POD customers. If your client wants a premium cotton tee with amazing printability that’s proudly made in North America, the Tultex 602 could be your new go-to.

Feb 25, 2024