Understanding the Difference: Tubular vs. Side Seamed Garments

When it comes to choosing the perfect T-shirt for your next print project, understanding the nuances between tubular and side-seamed garments can significantly impact the final outcome. Both styles offer distinct benefits and limitations, making them suitable for different preferences and print needs.

Tubular T-Shirts: A Seamless Choice
Tubular T-shirts are named for their construction method. These shirts are made from a single fabric tube, eliminating the need for side seams. This construction technique offers a few key benefits:


  • Cost-Effective: Tubular T-shirts are generally less expensive to produce, making them a budget-friendly option for large orders.
  • Uniform Fit: Without side seams, tubular shirts can provide a more consistent fit across different body types, though this can also be a double-edged sword in terms of comfort and appearance.


  • Boxy Shape: The lack of side seams means these shirts tend to have a boxier fit, which might not appeal to everyone, especially those looking for a more tailored or form-fitting style.
  • Twisting: Over time and with multiple washes, tubular T-shirts may twist due to the fabric’s natural tendency to move around the tubular construction, potentially distorting the fit and print alignment.

Side-Seamed T-Shirts: Tailored for Comfort
Side-seamed T-shirts feature seams that run down the sides of the shirt, from the armpits to the bottom hem. This construction style is often associated with higher-quality garments for several reasons:


  • Contoured Fit: The presence of side seams allows for a more anatomically correct fit, contouring more naturally to the body’s shape.
  • Stability: Side seams provide structural integrity to the garment, maintaining its shape and reducing twisting after washing.
  • Quality Perception: Due to the tailored fit and enhanced durability, side-seamed shirts are often perceived as higher quality, making them ideal for premium brands or designs.


  • Higher Cost: The additional material and labor involved in constructing side-seamed T-shirts typically result in a higher price point.
  • Size Inconsistency: While designed to offer a better fit, the added structure of side seams can sometimes lead to inconsistencies in sizing across different batches or brands.

Choosing the Right Type for Your Project
Deciding between tubular and side-seamed T-shirts depends on your project’s specific needs, budget, and target audience. Tubular shirts might be the way to go for casual, promotional wear where cost is a significant factor. However, for premium brands, fashion lines, or any project where fit and quality are paramount, side-seamed garments offer a superior option.

At The Graphic Hive, we understand the importance of selecting the right garment for your print project. Whether you’re looking for the affordability of tubular T-shirts or the premium feel of side-seamed options, our team is here to guide you through the selection process, ensuring your final product perfectly aligns with your vision and quality standards.