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T-shirts are the ultimate blank canvas for your artwork. Whether you’re creating custom t-shirts for yourself or your online store, selecting a blank t-shirt with just the right look, feel, and fit is important.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how the Gildan 5000 and the Bella Canvas 3001 stack up in terms of fabric composition, colors, customization options, price point, and more. Why? So you can make an informed decision and get the most out of your t-shirt printing.
Let’s dive into the world of t-shirts.
Gildan is a well-known brand in the apparel industry, thanks to its wide range of products and affordable prices. When it comes to t-shirts, the Gildan 5000 is one of the most popular options in Gildan’s range.
Crafted from 100% cotton (or a cotton-polyester blend for some colors), this t-shirt has a durable, structured look that’s great for layering with streetwear outfits. Its tubular construction also means it’ll maintain sharp lines and keep its shape, wash after wash. It’s available up to size 5XL, making it a good choice for many different people.
Bella + Canvas is a newer brand in the apparel industry, but it has quickly gained a reputation for its high-quality products. Bella + Canvas is known for its fashion-forward designs and its commitment to sustainability. Their t-shirts are ethically produced from eco-friendly materials.
Made from high-quality cotton, the Bella + Canvas 3001 t-shirt is available in a range of solid, heather, and heather prism colors. The fabric is soft and light and has just the right amount of stretch. Just like the Gildan 5000, it’s pre-shrunk, so it’s sure to maintain its shape in the long run. The t-shirt is available up to size 4XL.
Now that we’ve looked at the two brands and their respective t-shirts, let’s compare them side by side. The key aspects you should consider when choosing a blank t-shirt are style, fabric composition and weight, colors, sizes, customization options, and price.
When it comes to style and fit, the Gildan 5000 and the Bella + Canvas 3001 have some notable differences.
The Gildan 5000 is a classic men’s tee. It has a boxy fit that’s suitable for those who prefer a more traditional look. It has a tubular construction, which means there are no side seams, giving it a seamless look. The sleeves are roomy, making it comfortable for those with larger arms, but it may not be as flattering for those who prefer a more fitted look.
On the other hand, the Bella + Canvas 3001 is a unisex tee. It has a more modern, fitted style. It has a side-seamed construction, which creates a more tailored fit that hugs the body. The sleeves are shorter and slimmer, giving it a more fashionable look.
The Gildan 5000 is a heavy cotton shirt made of standard open-end cotton yarn or a cotton-polyester blend for some colors. The weight of the fabric ranges from 5.0 to 5.3 oz/yd² (170–180 g/m²), making it a heavier option compared to the Bella + Canvas 3001. The fabric weight gives it a structured look and makes the shirt more durable, but it may not be as soft or comfortable as the lighter-weight Bella + Canvas 3001.
On the other hand, the Bella + Canvas 3001 is made from high-quality combed and ring-spun cotton or a cotton-polyester blend for some colors. The fabric weight is 4.2 oz/yd² (142 g/m²), which makes it lighter than the Gildan 5000.
It’s worth noting that combed and ring-spun cotton is at a big advantage when it comes to t-shirt quality. The process of combing and ring-spinning makes the fabric smoother and more comfortable to wear and less prone to pilling or shrinking. Combed and ring-spun cotton t-shirts also tend to hold up better in the wash and have a higher quality look and feel compared to open-end cotton yarn t-shirts.
The Gildan 5000 is available in 24 colors at Printful, ranging from solid colors to heather blends. The color palette is diverse, with options like military green, Carolina blue, and Irish green.
On the other hand, the Bella + Canvas 3001 comes in a vast range of 51 color options. The palette includes solids, heathers, and heather prisms. The heather prism colors have a unique, almost tie-dye effect, with subtle flecks of color blended into the fabric.
The Gildan 5000 is available in sizes ranging from XS to 5XL, while the Bella + Canvas 3001 is available in sizes XS to 4XL. Note that the Bella + Canvas option has a slightly slimmer fit than the Gildan, which has a more traditional, relaxed fit.
For embroidery, you can choose left chest or center chest placements (maximum embroidery area of 4” x 4”), a large center placement (maximum area of 10” x 6”), or sleeve placements (maximum area of 2” x 3”).
For DTG printing, there’s a front and back printing area (12” x 16”), a sleeve print area (4” x 3.5”), and an inside and outside label area (3” x 3”).
If you’re interested in embroidery, the Bella + Canvas t-shirt has one major advantage—the unlimited color embroidery feature. It’s a new technique that uses white recycled polyester thread that’s colored during the embroidery process. This means you can use literally any thread color you like and can even achieve a gradient effect in your embroidered t-shirt design.
Both the Gildan 5000 and the Bella + Canvas 3001 have tear-away labels. A tear-away label is a label that can be easily removed from the t-shirt, leaving no residue or discomfort for the wearer.
If you run a t-shirt business with Printful, the label is an excellent way to showcase your brand. You can add an inside label printing area for $2.49 and print your logo right on the t-shirt. Once your customer tears off the blank t-shirt’s label, they’ll have a custom-branded garment with your store’s name on it.
Finally, let’s compare pricing. At Printful, we offer print-on-demand fulfillment, which means that the following prices include both the t-shirt and the fulfillment option of your choice (DTG printing or embroidery). The prices exclude taxes and shipping.
DTG printing (1 printing area on the front or the back)
Gildan 5000: $6.95
Bella + Canvas 3001: $11.50
Embroidery (1 embroidery area)
Gildan 5000: $12.95 + embroidery file digitization ($6.50)
Bella + Canvas 3001: $14.50 + embroidery file digitization ($6.50)
Unlimited color embroidery (1 embroidery area)
Bella + Canvas 3001: $18.25 + embroidery file digitization ($6.50)
Choosing between the Gildan 5000 and the Bella Canvas 3001 ultimately comes down to personal preference and budget. If you’re after an affordable t-shirt with a classic fit, the Gildan 5000 is your best bet.
If fabric softness, quality, and eco-friendliness are your priorities, it could be worth investing a little extra in the Bella + Canvas t-shirt.
Here’s one final tip: with Printful, you get a 20% discount on sample orders. The best way to find the right t-shirt is to see it in real life. So go ahead and order samples to get a firsthand look at the fabric, the stitching, the overall construction of the shirt, and the printing quality.
Let us know what you choose in the comments.
Aleksandra is the editor of the Printful Blog. Coming from a background in communication studies, she's passionate about all things marketing. In her spare time, she runs her own print-on-demand business.
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