Do you like to customize your shirts for family, friends and to sell? Are you tired of your shirts shrinking, not fitting right or falling apart in the wash? I was there too! I have been on the hunt for the best shirts for HTV, I’ve tried out over 100 different shirts, sweatshirts, hoodies, onesies and more! These are the best of the best. Thanks to Threadsy for sending me some of the shirts to try. The opinions in this post are 100% mine.
There is nothing more frustrating than spending time to customize an item only to have it not turn out how you pictured it in your. Or even worse, when you make shirts to sell and your customer says it isn’t what they pictured in their head. One of the most commonly asked questions I get when it comes to making shirts is what are the best shirts? Or where do I find the best shirts for HTV?
A few years ago I actually had a shop in addition to Tastefully Frugal where I sold shirts, onesies, hats, etc. So I got to try out a bunch of different shirt blanks AND got wholesale pricing on items. If you want to read more about how I made money selling my Cricut crafts, check out this post. I feel like this was such a great experience because, not only was I able to help support my family but I learned what brands of shirts were good (and not so good) and also what wholesale pricing looks like.
Where is the best place to buy shirts for HTV?
Making shirts is a great side hustle, and can be a great business, if you do it right and don’t spend an arm and a leg on your apparel blanks. I’ve spent countless hours searching online for a company that offers not only the best prices on apparel but also has a good selection. A lot of sites only offer a few styles or colors, or are constantly sold out of the popular colors. Fast shipping and great customer service is a plus too. So when Threadsy reached out to me I decided to give them a try.
After placing my order (at like 2 am), it was shipped out that morning, less than 10 hours later and I had my shirts in 3 days! Not only that but their pricing is SO good! They offer bulk discounts starting at $110 (and it doesn’t have to be all the same style or brand) AND their discount at $250+ is actually BETTER than the wholesale prices on some of my favorite shirts.
This picture above shows the price of the Bella+Canvas 3001 (one of my top 3 favorite shirts) on Threadsy, another online retailer and my favorite (and lowest priced) whole shop. You can see that the base price at Threadsy is $.79 less than the other retailer, and only $.26 more than wholesale. The price difference is the same, if not better, on all the shirts I recommend below too.
I know first hand how hard it can be when you’re first starting out on your business too, so I talked with Threadsy and they were able to give us a discount code for $5 off $75 order (that’s like getting a shirt for FREE). Use code FRUGAL5 at checkout to save!
Best Shirts for HTV
Alright so now we know WHERE to buy our shirts but now let’s talk about WHAT shirts are the best! Like I said I’ve literally tried on, customized, washed, dried and then washed and dried again over 100 different items for this post and I’m sharing with you the ones that I love the most after everything.
I also wanted to compare what fit most true to size. I’ve found that a medium unisex shirt, for MOST SHIRTS, fits similarly to a large in a women’s cut so those are the sizes I based everything off of. I know everyone has different needs and personal preferences on shirts so I broke up the shirts into a few different categories:
- Short Sleeve Shirt – Unisex
- Short Sleeve Shirt – Ladies
- Long Sleeve Shirt
Best Short Sleeve Shirt – Unisex
I personally prefer a unisex shirt for my body type. After having 5 kids, I like a shirt that has a little more room in the tummy area that doesn’t squeeze too tight. My top three favorite unisex shirts are:
- Bella + Canvas Unisex Jersey T-Shirt 3001 (Also available in heather colors 3001CVC) – This shirt runs true to size, holds up well in the wash and doesn’t get piles on shirts. I give it a 7/10 on softness!
- Next Level Apparel Unisex Cotton T-Shirt 3600 – Runs true to size, doesn’t shrink or gets piles and is an 8/10 on the softest meter
- Gildan SoftStyle G640– BEST BUDGET OPTION – Runs a little big, but pretty close to true to size, holds up well in the wash and is also 7/10 on softness.
- Bella + Canvas Sueded T-Shirt 3301C – BONUS- This one is a few dollars more than the other shirts in my top 3 but it is literally the softest shirt I have ever owned! It fits true to size, holds up great in the wash with no piling.
Other short sleeve unisex shirts I liked that didn’t make the top three are:
- Gildan Performance T-Shirt G420 –
- PROS – 100% polyester so you can do sublimation or infusible ink on these shirts. Held up well in laundry
- CONS – Fits snug around tummy and is a bit see through
- Hanes Essential T Shirt 5280 – If you prefer heavy shirts, this is the best of the heavy shirts I have tried
- PROS – For heavy shirts it’s pretty soft, holds up decent in the wash, it shrinks a bit but I thought the shirt was boxy to begin with and liked it a little better after it shrunk. Budget friendly
- CONS – thick/heavy, very boxy
Best Short Sleeve Shirt – Ladies
I have what my kids lovingly call a kangaroo pouch so ladies fit shirts aren’t usually my favorite. I based my choices below both on past experiences with shirts I loved pre-pouch, as well as the ones that wore and washed the best the past month.
- Next Level Apparel Ideal Dolman 1560 – I love how loose the shirt fits. The rolled sleeves give it a flattering look as well. Fits true to size (is one of the looser fitting ladies cuts). Holds up well in the wash and is 8/10 for softness.
- Bella + Canvas Ladies Triblend Short Sleeve T-Shirt B8413 – Super soft 10/10, runs true to size and holds up well in the wash.
- Next Level Apparel Ideal T-Shirt N1510 – BEST BUDGET OPTION – The most fitted of my three favorites but not too tight. Runs true to size and holds up well in wash. 7/10 on softness.
These two shirts were honorable mentions:
- Bella + Canvas Relaxed Triblend T-Shirt 6413 – I liked everything about this shirt BUT it was a little too short. Super soft, holds up well in the wash and no piling.
- Fruit of the Loom Ladies HD Cotton T-Shirt L3930R – This had one of the loosest fit for ladies shirts which I liked but it wasn’t super soft, maybe a 5/10. Held up well first 3-4 washes, after that had some color fading.
Best Long Sleeve Shirts
I tried a mix of both unisex and ladies long sleeve shirts and picked three of my favorites from each
- Bella + Canvas Ladies Flowy Long Sleeve T-Shirt 8852– This was my favorite of all the long sleeved shirts. Even though it was a ladies’ shirt it was still really loose and super soft. Held up great in the wash.
- Threadfast Unisex Ultimate Long Sleeve T-Shirt 100LS – This was my favorite of all the unisex long sleeve shirts I tried! The sleeves were the perfect length, it didn’t fit tight and it held up great after washes. 8/10 for softness.
- Bella + Canvas Unisex Jersey Long Sleeve T-Shirt 3501 – BEST BUDGET OPTION –This shirt runs a little small but is still one of my faves. Holds up great in the wash, and is 8/10 on softness.
- Next Level Apparel Unisex Triblend 3/4 Sleeve Raglan 6051 – This has been one of my favorite long sleeve shirts for YEARS! Fits true to size, sleeves are loose and holds up great in the wash. 9/10 for softness.
- Next Level Apparel Ladies Triblend Scoop Long Sleeve Shirt 6731 – This was the most fitted of the shirts but it was the softest and held up great in the wash. Runs true to size for ladies shirts.
I had so much fun trying on different sweatshirts! There is quite a range of styles available and I found some new favorite brands that I love! Here are my favorites:
- Bella + Canvas Unisex Drop Shoulder Fleece 3945 – This is by far the SOFTEST sweatshirt I have ever owned! One of biggest troubles I have with sweatshirts I have is that they can tend to pile quickly in the wash, this one looks brand new even after 5+ washes. Runs true to size and is a loose fit.
- J. America Ladies Zen Contrast Crew JA8927 – This was a new to me brand that I have fallen in love with! This sweatshirt has a grunge look to it but it super soft and loose fitting. It holds up great in the wash and runs true to size. Looser fit for ladies but runs true to size.
- Next Level Apparel Unisex Santa Cruz Pocket Sweatshirt 9001 – This sweatshirt is my perfect mix of hoodie and sweatshirt. It has a front pocket of a hoodie but the neckline of a sweatshirt. Runs true to size, has long arms and holds up great in the wash. 7/10 on softness.
There were so many good sweatshirts I found it was hard to narrow down my favorites. These three were definitely worth of being in the top 3 also.
- Next Level Apparel Ladies French Terry 3/4 Sleeve Raglan 6951 – The ONLY reason this one didn’t make top 3 is the neckline started to roll after wash #4. But other than that it held up great in the wash, no piling and super soft. Very flattering sweater for ladies.
- Jerzees NuBlend Unisex Fleece Crew 562 – BEST BUDGET OPTION – This sweatshirt isn’t the softest, 5/10, but its budget friendly, runs true to size and holds up well in the wash.
- Bella + Canvas Sponge Fleece Ladies’ Wide Neck Sweatshirt 7501 – This one was also so so close to making the top 3 the only reason it didn’t was it was the neck was REALLY wide. If you’re looking for a slouchy sweatshirt look, this is the one for you! Super soft, holds up well in the wash and runs true to size.
This was another fun category for me to find my favorites in. This time of year especially, hoodies can be big sellers for you. Finding the best hoodie can be tough because often times the quality ones can be really expensive, and the budget friendly ones often don’t hold up. While there is one or two pricier options in my favorites, all of these are super comfy, stand up great in the wash and are perfect for adding HTV on!
- Bella + Canvas Unisex Sponge Fleece Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt 3719 – I don’t know how Bella + Canvas does it but they have the SOFTEST sweatshirts and hoodies and they don’t pile at all! This style runs true to size for unisex. Arms aren’t too long which can sometimes be a problem with unisex hoodies for women.
- Fruit of the Loom Unisex SofSpun Hooded Sweatshirt SF76R – BEST BUDGET OPTION – I was actually surprised at how soft this sweatshirt was! 9/10 on softness. It runs true to size, fits loose and holds up well in the wash.
- Hanes Unisex EcoSmart 50/50 Hooded Pullover Sweatshirt P170 – This is another great budget option that is really soft, 8/10 and fits true to size. Holds up great after several washes too.
These honorable mentions are great options too – especially if you really want to wow your customers! The only reason they didn’t make the top 3 is they are a little pricier.
- J. America Unisex Vintage Athletic Hooded Sweatshirt JA8847 – This is my new favorite sweatshirt! It’s incredibly soft, not too light but not too heavy and fits perfectly. J America is the manufacturer of a lot of collegiate hoodies and this to me is the perfect sweatshirt for watching any fall sports outdoors! Holds up great in the wash and runs true to size.
- J. America Unisex Tailgate Fleece Pullover Hooded Sweatshirt JA8815 – Not only is this hoodie unbelievably soft but it also comes with a built-in insulated can koozie AND bottle opener attached to the pocket. This really is the perfect hoodie for tailgates.
What Shirts are the softest?
We’ve covered a whole lot of options when it comes to shirts haven’t we?! But what if you’re not seeing anything on the list that you like? Another commonly asked question I get is what are the softest shirts that I can buy to customize? While one shirt might be the softest for me, it might not be the softest for you. However there is a way to narrow down the types of materials that make the softest shirts.
Typically triblend, CVC and suede shirts are the softest when it comes to shirts (both short and long sleeve). When you are looking at sweatshirts you’ll want to look for sweatshirts that are made of a mix of cotton and polyester. If you are wanting to do sublimation, these shirts and sweatshirts with the higher polyester counts work well for sublimation as well as HTV.
How To Customize Shirts with HTV
I hope this list gives you some great options for shirts to buy to customize for yourself, family, friends or clients! If you need some help on knowing what iron-on vinyl or HTV works best for what shirts, and/or how to apply HTV, this how to use HTV post will answer all your questions!
Do you have a favorite shirt you like to buy that didn’t make the list?! Let me know in the comments. Also, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to check out all my video tutorials including projects and how to’s. For more Cricut projects and tutorials, check out these posts. For tips, tricks and immediate help, be sure to join our FREE Cricut Support Group.