Garment Basics

-Shirts - Sweat Shirts - Golf Shirts - Wovens - Outerwear - Headwear - Other Apparel


It’s all about choice when selecting the right T-shirt for your needs.

You’ll need to decide between 100% cotton and a cotton/polyester blend. An all cotton garment “breathes” better than the blends and absorbs more perspiration. Blends, on the other hand, are more stain resistant and come out of the dryer looking more “finished”.

Cotton shirts come in a variety of weights—measured in ounces-per-square-yard. Heavyweight T-shirts range from 5.4 to 5.6 ounces. The next weight range is 6.0 to 6.2 ounces and, at the top of the scale are shirts weighing in at 7.0 to 7.5 ounces per square yard. Cotton/polyester blends are generally available only in the 5.4 to 5.6 ounce range.

There are two basic types of fibers used to produce cotton fabric: open-end and ring-spun. The additional processing of ring-spun cotton gives the resulting fabric a softer, richer feel and greater strength. More costly and fashion-oriented T-shirts often go through an additional process like mercerizing which produces a finer and silkier-feeling fabric.

The basic All-American T-shirt has a crewneck collar and short sleeves. In addition, this apparel category includes long sleeve crewnecks, v-necks, sleeveless Ts, tank tops, ringers (with a contrasting color band at the collar and cuffs), and two-button henleys.

Ladies’ styles have grown in popularity over the years. Today you can choose from ladies’ T-shirts and tanks with scoop and v-necks, shirts with cap sleeves, spaghetti strap and crop tops in both smooth jersey-knit fabric and in a 1x1 ribbed fabric.

All T-shirts are perfect for screen printing designs while the heavier shirts should be utilized for embroidery, especially when there are higher stitch counts.

Return to Top

Sweat Shirts

The variety of sweatshirt weights and fabric choices has grown dramatically over the past few years.

The basic shirt—termed a mid-weight—ranges between 7.5 and 8 ounces-per-square-yard in a 50% cotton/50% polyester blend. It is available in youth and adult sizes, in crewneck, pullover hooded and drawstring pants.

A step up to the most popular grouping—the heavyweights—weighs in between 9 and 10 ounces-per-square-yard. The basic fabric is also 50% cotton/50% polyester. But, there are also adult garments available in 90%/10%, 80%/20% and 95%/5% combinations.

Heavyweight styles include crewnecks, pullover hoods, zipper-front hoods, ¼-zip pullovers and drawstring pants. Youth sizes are also available in the basic styles.

At the top of the spectrum are the UltraHeavyweights—weighing in at between 11 and 12 ounces-per-square-yard, generally in a 95% cotton/5% polyester combination. Both crewnecks and hooded pullovers are available in this weight. Finally, the pinnacle of fleece is the reverse-weaves or cross-grains with the fabric specially cut to control shrinkage across the body and with gussets down both sides to assure a comfortable fit for the life of the garment.

From year to year a variety of fashion-orient styles with knit trims, v-necks and specialty fabric finishes come into style, often for just a year or two.

Most sweatshirts and fleece garments can be utilized for both screen printed designs and embroidery.

Return to Top

Golf Shirts

No garment category offers more variations and varieties than golf shirts. There’s one designed and priced to meet every need. All-cotton shirts account for the vast majority of styles offered. Cotton/polyester blends have far fewer options.

Less expensive shirts will be made of open-end yarn; better garments will be combed and ringspun cotton. At the top of the line are pima and mercerized cottons. Each price level offers its own features that contribute to the quality and durability of the garment.

The two most popular fabric finishes are pique and jersey knit. Pique is a high/low weave comparable to the surface of a waffle while the jersey knit is a smooth finish, much like a pancake. There are a host of other weaves available: herringbone, jacquard, needle-out or drop-needle being just a few. Each fabric style will also come in a variety of trim combinations: striped and patterned collars, jacquard collars, tri-colors and the like.

Unlike T-shirts where weight equates with the quality and price of the garment, golf shirt fabric weights do not necessarily reflect this aspect. Finer fabrics weigh less than coarser weaves.

All golf shirts can be decorated with embroidered designs. All smooth finished jersey knit garments can be printed. While rough weaves, such as piques, can be printed, care must be taken that the design does not have a lot of fine lines and detail which could be lost in the texture of the fabric.

Return to Top


Today’s casual workplace has given birth to a host of woven shirts, many with button-down collars at a multitude of price points to meet virtually any requirements.

From classic denim to the traditional oxford, from brushed or sanded twill to poplin to soft chambray there’s a shirt to satisfy every taste and need. Many are 100% cotton while others are easy-care cotton/polyester and smooth-as-silk polynosic rayon/polyester blends.

Many styles come in both short-sleeve and long-sleeve, others offer matching ladies’ styles as well.

All are just perfect for embroidery.

Return to Top

Outerwear—Jackets, Polar Fleece, Windshirts & More

Every need, every weather condition, every fashion can be satisfied with today’s incredible range of garment offerings. Whether you’re outfitting a team, exhibiting at a trade show, hosting a golf tournament or creating a look for employees—just about any purpose, there is a style that will meet your needs.

Jackets of every style and description, with heavy linings for winter or lighter linings for spring, summer and fall. Fabrics range from luxurious microfiber to cotton poplin to a wide range of nylons to fit every requirement.

Polar fleece, the warm but lightweight 100% polyester fabric, makes a great custom decorated garment. Available in several fabric weights, there are three basic styles available in both adult and youth sizes: full-zipper jacket, full-zipper vest and ¼-zip pullover.

A style rapidly gaining in popularity is the windshirt, a lightweight pullover perfect for those early mornings on the golf course or a walk on the beach. Fabric choices range from oxford nylon to luxurious microfiber, lined and unlined. A perfect garment for embroidery, styles include v-necks, henleys, crewnecks and more.

Return to Top


One of the fastest growing and most popular categories of custom-decorated apparel, there’s definitely a style to fit every taste and promotional need. The first choice is between a five-panel cap and a six-panel.

A panel is the pie-shaped piece that makes up the crown of the cap. A traditional golf cap, a five-panel style, has a double-sized front panel that provides a smooth surface for decorating. Some baseball caps also feature five-panel fronts. Newer caps feature six equal panels with a seam in the center of the front portion. These have become, by far, the more popular style.

The next choice is between constructed and unconstructed style. All five-panel caps have some form of fabric stiffener behind the front panel. Six-panel caps offer you a choice. Generalizations usually cause trouble, however both young men and women prefer the unconstructed style. Unconstructed hats more closely follow the contours of the head while the construction forces the hat to conform to the manufacturer’s desired shape.

There are a host of fabrics. Among the choices: cotton twill, cotton poplin, wool blends, brushed cotton and cotton/polyester blends. You’ll be able to select from yarn-dyed—the color is in the yarn—and pigment-dyed where the finished fabric is dyed and washed to produce a softer, more fashionable color.

There truly is a hat to fit any season, any occasion and any market. In addition to the traditional “baseball” style there are “floppy” vacationers, cycling styles, straws with bands that can be printed or embroidered, knit watch caps and even beanies (with or without propellers).

Return to Top

A host of other apparel…

Bags—So many styles, so many uses. Our account executives can help you plan your promotion with tote bags, sports bags, fanny packs, garment bags, equipment bags, plastic bags for trade shows, paper bags and even Halloween bags.

Aprons—Size, style, color; whatever you need for your restaurant, cooking school, gourmet shop, company picnic or barbeque, we’ve got the ideal choice for either screenprinting or embroidery.

Shorts—For every sports team, gym, camp and a host of personal activities, you’ll find the right garment for your needs. From jersey knits to boxers—regular and flannel, plain or plaid, in fleece, nylon twill and micromesh, the choices are fantastic.

Kidstuff—Infants to toddlers—you’ll be able to choose from tees, sweats, jackets, bibs, playsuits, rompers and even dresses. >From 6 to 24 months, toddler 2 right on up, Active has the perfect garment for all your needs.

Return to Top

Other Resources

Promotional Products, Corporate Gifts, Promotional T-shirts, Custom Golf Shirts, Imprinted Pens Promotional Products, Corporate Gifts, Promotional T-shirts, Custom Golf Shirts, Imprinted Pens