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How Much Does a Shirt Weigh?

This article explains the weight of a shirt and lists and describes the lighter materials that can be used to make shirts of various kinds.

Three white tee shirts on wooden hangers, brown wall

The weight of a shirt depends mostly on the size of the shirt and the material used to make it. Naturally your winter shirts will weight more since they are made of a thicker material to keep you warm, where as your warmer weather shirts are lighter weight to help keep you cool.

In general, shirts can be sorted into 3 categories: lightweight, medium, and heavyweight. A shirt between 3 and 5 ounces is lightweight, a shirt between 5 and 6 ounces is medium, and anything over 6 ounces is heavyweight. Lightweight shirts are very popular among consumers.

This article will cover in depth the fabrics used in these types of shirts. The list is not exhaustive, but it does consist of the shirt fabrics that are most in demand.

Table of Contents

Average T Shirt Weight and Shipping

Plain white short sleeve scoop neck tee shirt on wooden hanger, hanging on wooden pallet

The average weight of a shirt is between 4 to 7 ounces. This is an estimate from reliable industry sources.

Selling shirts to a mass consumer base means you will need to do a great deal of packaging and shipping. The cost of doing so must be appropriate to the revenue you take in. Shipping lighter weight shirts can save you up to 30 cents per package.

Lightweight Fabrics for Shirts

If you specialize in making lightweight shirts, then you will need to gain a cost advantage by shipping large numbers of them at a time. This is best done by forging partnerships and alliances with local distributors.

You should not only consider the weight of the shirt for cost purposes, but also market demand. Many people like lightweight shirts because they are easy to wear, and allow the body to breathe. They are especially popular in warmer climates.

There are also specialty lines that you can pursue. People often buy certain types of shirts when they go on summer vacation or take a luxury liner cruise. There are also those who want shirts that make them sharpen their professional appearance. In both instances, you will do well to make shirts that are lightweight, and that allow the skin to breath. Fortunately, there are plenty of fabrics that can be used to make such shirts. This makes it possible for you to open multiple lines of production to serve a varied consumer base.

Here are some of the most high-quality lightweight fabrics used to make shirts:

Fine Cotton

Six white long sleeve button down dress shirts hanging on white and silver clothes hanger stand, solid light blue background

Pima, Swiss, and Egyptian cotton are the best on the market. They have high thread counts of between 160 and 220. These cotton fabrics are all made from fibers of the same plant. They can be spun into find and strong yarns, and their two-ply construction makes them very soft.

Of the three, Egyptian is the finest—and thus the best. Egyptian cotton is grown in the Nile River Delta, and it is desired for its luxuriousness and durability. If you decide to buy this fabric, it will be one of the most expensive and most valuable investments your company ever makes. However, you cannot go wrong with this brand of cotton. It has a well-earned worldwide reputation for being the very best kind of cotton there is. Stamping your shirts with the Egyptian Cotton label is sure to make them sell.

Pima cotton is a broadcloth that is also of very high quality, but is less expensive. It has a soft and smooth finish that can be made into very attractive and light shirts.

On average, a lightweight cotton shirt weighs 3.62 ounces, a heavyweight cotton shirt comes in at 5.3 ounces.

Poplin

This is one of the more popular fabrics used in shirts. It is a plain weave fabric which is smooth, cool and crisp. The best poplin is finely and tightly woven. It is also soft to the touch.

The one trouble with this fabric is its transparency. If you want to make an opaque style of shirt, then this material may not be preferable. Another downside of poplin is that it wrinkles easily. Poplin is crisp and elegant when it is freshly pressed, which is why it is most suitable as a dress shirt. This is not the kind of fabric to pour into t shirts or shirts for casual wear.

On average, a poplin shirt weights between 5.64 to 6.34 ounces.

Twill

This is a fabric weave that is soft to the touch but is a little heavier than cotton, poplin, or silk. It is quite durable and sturdy. High quality twill is slightly shiny, easy to iron, and resistant to wrinkles.

There are several kinds of twill patterns. Chino is a twill fabric that is extremely light weight. Houndstooth is twill with a check pattern in black and white. Herringbone is a twill fabric consisting of diagonal stripes in a zig zag pattern.

The average weight of a twill shirt is 6.34 ounces.

Linen

Linen is one of the finer lightweight materials for shirts. This material gets better with age and washings. It is more loosely woven than cotton, and is most suitable for wear in hot climates.

Perhaps the biggest downside to linen is that it wrinkles—a lot. It is not the kind of material that drapes over the body. It must be ironed constantly. When freshly ironed, it is the very soul of elegance.

The tendency to easily wrinkle is one of the things that puts people off about linen shirts. However, there are solutions to this. Rather than making shirts of 100% linen you can blend the linen with bamboo or cotton. This will give your shirts the staying power that your customers want.

On average, a lined shirt weighs between 3.5 to 4.4 ounces.

Flannel

This is a thick weave and a heavier fabric than any of the above. It is warm, and has a soft and fuzzy feel. However, it is still lightweight. Flannel is soft to the touch, and is most suitable for wear during the winter months.

Flannel is very popular among grunge aficionados. It embodies the casual careless vibe pursued by that crowd.

A medium-quality flannel shirt weighs on average 5.ounces. Most high-quality flannel shirts weight at least 6.5 ounces.

Gabardine Cotton

This is a medium weight twill-weave fabric that can be made of wool or cotton fibers. It is a highly durable material that does not wrinkle easily but drapes well. You can make strong, sturdy shirts with this fabric that are still lightweight.

The only disadvantage of this kind of cotton is its coarseness. However, you can blend it with other materials to make shirts that are thin, light, and easy on the skin.

Oxford Fabric

This fabric is very durable and breathable. However, it is not suitable for dress shirts. Oxford fabric is rougher and heavier than poplin. It is best used for the making of casual shirt or sportswear.

Conclusion

From all that’s been said, you should come away with two conclusions. First, the weight of a shirt matters, especially if you are in the business of making them. The lighter the weight of the shirt the less you will spend on shipping costs. Second, lighter weight shirts are popular and the materials used to make them plentiful. This article presents only a sample of the many and varied fabrics that are used to manufacture shirts. Fabric weight is the outcome of how a fabric has been woven, its finish, and its type.

Fourth, there is no obvious choice among the lighter fabrics used to produce shirts. Although shirts tend to weigh no more than 7 ounces, there are considerable differences among the weights of the materials described in this article. Your choice will more likely be determined by other factors such as the quality of shirt that is most suitable to your present and future needs.