Posted on October 12 2018
Ever wonder why that nice new T-shirt you got at an attractive price just doesn’t look or feel so nice after you washed it for the first time. Albeit you washed it according to the instructions on the care label? It may never regain its original shape and somehow it may have also shrunk much more than the aforementioned care label stated. The side seams seem to have a life of their own, twisting and curling in an unruly manner, no matter how you try to “reshape whilst damp” or iron or steam the retched garment when it’s dry.
The obvious answer to this puzzler is of course quality. The lighter the jersey, the more likely it is for the knit to be looser and the material may even start to twist in production, which is a sure-fire recipe for a sad looking garment after some wear and washing. Dense, heavier jersey, on the other hand, makes for a crisp and even jersey that will hold its shape and last many times longer than poor quality lighter jerseys.
Don’t get me wrong. You can buy a super lightweight loosely knit jersey shirt at a designer store and pay half your monthly salary for it. Weighing a garment in your hand and holding it up to the light to check the density does not always tell you the whole truth about fabric quality. And if you really are paying a fortune for this kind of garment, you at least have to hope the illusion of trashy quality is really just that - an illusion - and that the shirt will in fact be in mint condition for years to come.
But we are talking about everyday T-shirts now.
Fabrics are measured in grams per square meter. This is called a GSM value. The GSM value of a standard T-shirt is a round 160. GSM value is determined by using a round cutter 10 cm in diameter for cutting a piece from the fabric and placing this piece on an electronic weighing balance. The weight is then multiplied by 100 and this is the GSM of the fabric. For top quality T-shirts a GSM of 170-210 is mostly used and this is the standard at Diiple too.
The facts of fabric quality in any give garment are usually not explained in full detail to the consumer. It really is a bit of a jungle out there and consumers must be alert if they want to know what they are buying. Even if you try to interrogate a sales person at a shop to get the info, it’s likely even they have no idea about how the fabric has been made or what the GSM value is. What shop assistant would tell you the quality sucks anyway?
You can only really rely on your senses and try to determine the quality by feeling and appearance. These are good means of evaluating quality though when buying your standard T-shirt, if you just know what you are looking for. Former buying experiences are of course good too. If you buy a T-shirt and it’s lasted the test of time, you are probably very likely to look to the same brand when you need a new tee.
Also look for a dense and smooth rib knit on the collar of your T-shirt. If the collar feels very light, chances are it will just stretch and never regain its original shape. This is what usually does happen with cheaper T-shits. In most cases a ratty looking collar means you’ve tried to take the easy way money-wise and hoped for the best. This seldom works out.
The rule of thumb then would be to check the weight and density of the fabric just by feeling and give the collar a good stretch and see if it bounces back. You are safer with good quality brands like Diiple.
Also, buying a good quality garment means it will last longer. Buying another cheap, poor quality T-shirt when the previous one will inevitably give out after a short time is much more of a strain on the environment and it also produces heaps more unnecessary textile waist.