T-Shirt Print Size Ratio Guide

T-Shirt Print Size Ratio & Quantity Guide

Here at Fifth Column we’ve been printing tees and customising clothes for decades. As a consequence, we’ve come across virtually every problem that you can imagine. One which often causes customers sleepless nights is figuring out the best spread of shirt sizes for their project. Well, our t-shirt print size ratio and quantity guide can help in that regard. Below, we’ll consider ways to make sure you not only get superior quality screen printed t-shirts but also a good range of small, medium, large etc.

General Tee Print Size Ratio.

Let’s jump right in with a general t-shirt size range breakdown. A suggestion that’s in middle ground, a cover the bases kind of thing. Specifically,

  • Ratio: Small x 1 | Medium x 2.5 | Large x 3 | XL x 2.5 | XXL x 1

To illustrate that, we can apply it to an order for 100 printed shirts. It would equate to:

  • Order: Small x 10 | Medium x 25 | Large x 30 | XL x 25 | XXL x 10

Now, you’ll notice that sizes like XS, 3XL, 4XL and so on are omitted from this formula. So, you may want to tweak quantities on the ‘main’ sizes to accommodate a limited number of these depending on your market. But, please don’t think that’s job done, end of story. Truth is, there is no simple answer in terms of how to a calculate size ratio. Sadly, it’s one of those instances where one size doesn’t fit all.

The above is only an approximate guide. One which works pretty well insofar as there is logic to it. That’s to say, it’s weighted toward the middle and common sense suggests this will cater for a majority. But every customer has different requirements. For instance, we have some who go stronger on larger sizes up to 5XL and leave out small. Others who stick to S, M, L and XL with a 1 | 3 | 3 | 1 formula.

Below, we’ll take a look at other areas which can help inform your decision.

General T-Shirt Print Size Ratio.

General T-Shirt Print Size Ratio.

Who’s Going to Wear your Shirts?

Probably one of the most important questions to answer when you’re thinking about how many garments you need printed for each size. Call it what you want, demographic, target market, but it’s the crux of the matter. In some circumstances, the answer is at your fingertips. Ordering workwear for example. Your workforce will give you their sizes and it’s just a case of scaling from these figures. In effect, you have a ready made t-shirt print size ratio upon which to base the quantities required for the order.

However, many won’t have such a straightforward option. And this is where knowing your market could prove valuable. In itself, this sort of knowledge may not be conclusive but it can offer guidance. Even general information can give an indication. A few example questions about your audience.

Your market and size range.

  • Is it age specific?
  • Is there a predominant gender?
  • Does it promote/favour a particular build/body type?
  • Is location, country and region, a factor?

Put simply, research will offer insight. Similarly, data bases are helpful should you have access to any. The odds are that you’re unlikely to get it spot on at the start. Ultimately, individual experience will hone sizing to the optimum level. In the interim, we have several more useful custom printing size range tips.

Fit and Style of the Blank Tees.

Now, it’s only ever a positive when you have a proper understanding of your buyers/users. And somewhat of a luxury actually having a premade size ratio for your order. But all of that goes out of the window if you misjudge the fit and style of the plain garment. The simple fact is that, these days, not all smalls, mediums and larges are the same. Each shirt manufacturer can have their own definition of a size which will in itself vary according to the styling of garment. For example, oversized has recently been trending. As you would expect, these tees are cut bigger than a standard fitting.

One fallback position is to opt for a regular/standard fit shirt. The measurements for which are something like the following.

Regular Fit T-Shirts (inches).

  • Small – 36 to 38.
  • Medium – 38 to 40.
  • Large – 40 to 42.
  • XL – 42 to 44.
  • 2XL – 44 to 46.

But remember, even regular fitting shirt sizes aren’t set in stone. So, you need to confirm them before matching to your t-shirt print size ratio.

Matching market and t-shirt print size.

Matching T-Shirt Print Size and Market

Size Ratio and Shirt Supply.

Size Ratio and Shirt Supply

T-shirt print size, style and colours.

Sending your T-Shirt Style, Colours and Sizes

Matching T-Shirt Print Size & Design.

There is an aspect of shirt size range which crosses over directly with the artwork you want to print. Specifically, the surface area of the smallest size in your offering dictates maximum size of the screen print. And that’s for all sizes of shirt being printed on the run. Clearly, this needs to be considered when printing tees at either of the spectrum. What fits the smallest also has to look right on the largest. It’s by no means an insurmountable obstacle but certainly worth thinking about.

Sourcing Suitable Blank Tees.

Okay, you’ve got an idea of the best t-shirt print size ratio for your project. And are therefore able to settle on quantities to order. But there is one more big step which we’ve already touched upon. Yes, exactly, you need to choose a plain garment before the screen printing carousels can start spinning. Now, that may sound like the easy bit. And in many ways it is relatively straightforward. That said, a little thought and preparation can avoid headaches later on.

For one thing, is the supplier reliable and do they have stock of all sizes on your proposed order. You’re good to go if the answer is yes and this is a one-off. But it may also be worth ascertaining the life cycle of the product if your plan includes the possibility of reordering. Otherwise you could find yourself in an awkward spot further down the line. Because changing brand and style of base t-shirt on an existing line can be a messy and time consuming business.

Sending your Size Breakdown when Placing an Order.

Lets’ conclude with a word about submitting your order and how best to do that. Ideally, we need the following info about the garments.

  • Manufacturer.
  • T-Shirt Style and/or SKU.
  • Colour.
  • Quantity for each size and colour.

Of course, we can discuss and confirm details in instances where some information is unknown. In any event, everything is agreed and signed off before commencing production. For reference, our minimum order for screen printing a run of t-shirts is 50 garments. DTG printing is a standard alternative for smaller numbers.

Is this the definitive t-shirt print size breakdown calculator? Well, it’s certainly genuine guidance from people with plenty of experience. But only that at the end of the day. Because each project has different requirements. And even the biggest clothing retailers make mistakes which end up with surplus stock. However, the most successful make every effort to minimise the possibility.

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