Ever wondering why our tees are so soft?
Updated: Oct 2, 2021
Have you found yourself reading product descriptions and ask, what the heck is that? Or, I wonder if this is a soft tee? We're about to reveal some of our secrets along with some fashion industry terms that we learned (err... Googled) rather quickly in the game.
Tri-blend (Nor°easter Signature Tees)
A #triblend is a fabric made up of three different materials: cotton, polyester, and a third—most often rayon. Rayon was created as a silk substitute, giving it a luxuriously soft feel. It's also absorbent and often chosen for athleticwear.
Regular cotton vs ringspun (We always choose ringspun)
Regular cotton gets made from soft vegetable fibres by twisting them together to make yarn, which gets woven into the material. It's less expensive and an industry-standard for brands like Gildan, Hanes and Fruit of the Loom.
#Ringspun cotton refers to the process used to manufacture it. The yarn created for ringspun cotton produces longer strands that are soft, extremely durable and free from the rough texture of standard raw cotton. The process of continuously spinning, twisting, and thinning the cotton creates a more durable product.
Combed Cotton (Many of our women's tops are made from combed, ringspun cotton and are SUPER SOFT! It's as premium as cotton gets!)
Combed cotton is softer than regular #cotton because it doesn't have any impurities or short protruding threads—those get combed out before it's spun into yarn. Short fibres are prone to breakage, removing them makes the cotton stronger. After combing, the straightened fibres join together more tightly, leading to less fraying and unravelling. These benefits, plus the additional work required to manufacture it, makes #combedcotton more expensive and luxurious than regular cotton.
TIP: Did you know the cooldown cycle on your dryer helps the cotton to relax? It will help prolong its life too.
#Algodon is simply the Spanish word used for cotton. Some sources say it is a derivative from the Arabic word for cotton. There is no difference between it and regular cotton.
French Terry Fabric (We have several sweaters made with a glorious French Terry)
#Frenchterry fabric often gets blended with polyester. It's a knit fabric similar to a #jerseyknit, with loops on one side and soft piles of yarn on the other. It is midweight—lighter than fleece and heavier than your typical tee. It's cosy, moisture-wicking, absorbent, and keeps you cool—this is why bath towels get called "terry cloth". For clothing, the loops on the back of the fabric are not as long.
Modal (Sometimes found in our tri-blend fabrics)
Modal is a semi-synthetic fibre that has found fame in the age of activewear and gets made from beech tree cellulose. #Modal is a form of rayon*, another plant-based textile, but slightly more durable and flexible. It is often blended with other fibres like cotton and spandex for added strength and considered a luxurious fabric, thanks to its soft feel and high cost. Modal, seen as slightly more eco-conscious, requires 10-20 times less water than cotton during manufacturing.
*In a nutshell, #rayon is a fabric made from purified cellulose fibres—typically created from wood pulp. Even though rayon comes from natural materials, it requires certain chemicals, therefore considered to be a semi-synthetic fabric. Also, it can easily mimic linen and wool fabrics.
Viscose (Sometimes found in our tri-blend fabrics)
Viscose is a semi-synthetic type of rayon fabric made from wood pulp and used as a silk substitute from as early as 1886. It has a similar drape and smooth feel to the luxury material. The term #viscose refers specifically to the solution of wood pulp that gets turned into the fabric.
Think #baseballtees. The sleeve extends in one piece up to the collar, leaving a diagonal seam across the front and back as it goes under the arm. It's intended to give an increased range of motion than a typical sleeve.
Think bat wings. A #dolmansleeve has a large arm opening—sometimes even extending to the waistline. If it's a long sleeve, it will typically narrow to a tighter cuff. In most cases, the fabric gets cut so that the sleeve and body are one continuous piece, eliminating the underarm seam completely. This style creates a flattering look, making the shoulders appear sloped and minimizing the waist.
In fashion, an #asymmetricalhemline is a hemline that is not straight. Sometimes it is shorter in the front and longer in the back (high and low), and other times it appears as a diagonal slash across the body; it can create a drastic line or very subtly.
WHY DO SOME OF MY CLOTHES PILL?
Pills appear on fabric when groups of short or broken fibres become tangled together in a tiny knot. Pilling occurs from rubbing or abrasion during normal wear and use. Unfortunately, the pill becomes a magnet for other loose threads in the wash, and the two become entangled. That's why black pants can end up with little white knots. That white knot is fuzz from other clothes!
While it is difficult to predict which fabrics will pill, some are more prone than others. Knitted fabrics tend to pill more than woven fabrics because the threads are looser and can easily rub together. When fibres get blended, one is usually more durable. The weaker will be more inclined to break and knot around to the strongest. Sadly, those blended fabrics are often the softest that make us ooh and awe because they feel like butter! That said, the pilling is less if higher grade fibres are used during manufacturing and with a little extra care.
While there is no guarantee that any fabric will not pill, we research and test new products before selling them to determine which will pill the least, if at all. When surveying our customers, most opt for minimal pilling if it means they get to wear the softest tee on the market!
TIPS TO AVOID PILLING:
don't over fill the load of laundry
avoid bleaches that can damage fibres
use a laundry detergent that contains the enzyme cellulase— an enzyme that will help break down cotton pills and remove them
fabric softeners will coat the fibres so that they abrase less
hang clothes to dry
choose woven fabrics over knits
when buying knit fabrics, choose a tighter knit over a looser one
fabrics that blend natural and synthetic fibres are more inclined to pill
long fibres like #silk, #linen and combed cotton are less likely to pill