Watching Your Weight – GSM 101

All t-shirt suppliers use this code when describing their different garment options, and you might have been wondering, what is GSM? We thought we might go through that for you to help clarify this term.

GSM stands for Grams per Square Metre – so it’s referring to the weight of the fabric. However, a lot of people often form the opinion that lightweight fabric equals poor quality and heavyweight fabric equals good quality…..this is not always the case!

In fact, a lot of t-shirt suppliers who have lightweight t-shirts available actually charge more for this option.

So what does equal quality?

There are a few different types of fabric finishes available, and these are usually the things that determine the quality of a fabric. Here’s a brief description of a few different terms you might come across when you’re looking for your next run of tees:

  • 40s or 40 singles / 30s or 30 singles / 20s or 20 singles etc – This refers to the fineness of each strand of cotton thread used to weave your t-shirts. A higher number means a finer thread, so in turn a softer, finer fabric is created with better drape/hang – it basically flows better and sits nicer on your body.

  • Brushed Cotton means exactly that! The cotton is brushed to remove any excess lint and fibers from the fabric, resulting in a soft, smooth feel.

  • Combed Cotton uses a combing method to remove short fibers and to straighten or arrange longer fibers into parallel order to create a smooth, fine yarn. Combed cotton is usually used to produce finer (lightweight) t-shirts and is softer than Brushed Cotton. – American Apparel, AS Colour, Gildan (64000 style only)

  • Ring Spun Cotton is made by twisting and spinning a rope of cotton fibers. This results in a really soft feel yet very strong fabric. – All American Apparel, AS Colour, Gildan (64000 style only)

  • Enzyme Washed Cotton has gone through a special process using enzymes to produce a really soft finish and smooth look to the fabric. – American Apparel Power Wash tee

So next time you’re looking at your t-shirt options, take the GSM into account but be aware that there are other factors for consideration!