Friday Fact: Tubular T's

Megan's husband Cleve walked in to the dining room carrying the basket of rolls. My mom gave him a quizzical look, and said, "Hey, where's your seam?"

"Huh?" he asked. He had no idea what she meant, let alone where his seam was.

"Your seam. On your shirt. How come your t-shirt doesn't have a seam?"

Megan walked in behind him, carrying the fruit.

"Look!" my Mom said. "Megan's t-shirt has a seam running down the side. Cleve's doesn't."

We all inspected their t-shirts and threw around our wild theories on the matter.

"Maybe it's just a men's t-shirt thing. Women's have seams 'cause they need  more shape, and men's don't 'cause men's torso's are basically rectangles!"

"Maybe it's 'cause the seamed t-shirts are easier to warp in the wash, and women usually know better how to handle laundry."

"Sounds like something for a Friday Fact," said Mom.

I was seemed to me like t-shirts with no seams would me much harder to make. I mean, HOW would they make them? It must be some magic trick, 'cause where would they attach the sleeves?

So I looked into it.

'turns out that the seamless t-shirt is made from a specific type of fabric that is created in a seamless tube shape to begin with. They call the t-shirts "Tubular T'shirts" - which is like, totally bodacious, man.

 (Rolls of tubular fabric)

(Tubular fabric 'slitter' machine)

And contrary to what I supposed, the tubular T is much easier to make than a seamed T; and it's the Tubular T that is notorious for warping in the wash. The Tubular is considered (in professional T-shirt manufacturing circles) to be of lesser quality. Easier to manufacture, usually cheaper material, and - since there's no option for shaping the tube - a less appealing fit.

 (basic T-shirt by Hanes; what I refert to as a 'box T')

This may have been the case in the beginning, but the Tubular T has found it's niche.

Turns out the Tubular T is much easier to print on - and you can have alternative placement for the graphic designs on a Tubular T that you can't on a standard T. Seen those cool-guy T-shirts with the crazy design wrapping around the side of the shirt? Nearly impossible to do on a standard T with side seams.

("penguin T" from let'

And the fit? Well - they've pretty much figured that one out, too. The Tubular may not be as tailored as the seamed T (and who doesn't love a well-fitting T?), but they've given up their boxy ways and have figured out how to be 'shapeless' while still showing some shape!

 (In Case of Zombies by Ollie Moss on Threadless)
(see a better print of it here)

In the end, it's a matter of preference. 

So there you have it. Another awesomely trivial fact for your entertaining arsenal.


Nae said...

You know, I've actually wondered about that on occasion. Thanks for figuring that one out!

Rich said...

My mind is now at ease. Next fact Friday can you explain the mystery of why socks seem to disappear?

Lara said...

With all the laundry I have done over the years I can't believe I have never noticed this! I went and perused through our closet and sure enough, most of Jayson's t-shirts were missing a seam, and without exception all of mine had a seam.

Vicky Ram said...

Brilliant article! Really useful

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