Our Quest for the Ultimate T-Shirt

Results from independent tests on our luxury yarns have come in and our cotton has passed with flying colours.

We sent T-shirts made from our Star Supima yarn for tests to see how it scored against similar garments – made from imported yarns – sold by leading UK retailers.

Analysis of the results from tests at two well-respected industry benchmarking facilities showed the T-shirt made with our cotton yarns matched or exceeded the others in every category.

English Fine Cottons’ technical manager Mark Dentith said the outcomes prove retailers and designers can have complete confidence in buying products made with our cotton yarns.  He said: “Many of our customers and potential customers are household names and produce popular and much-loved products from cotton that has long been sourced abroad.

“Although they are keen to source from Britain, changing suppliers is always a risk for them. They want to be certain they are not compromising on quality. These tests will provide that extra reassurance.”

Garment testing

Many companies carry-out their own wearer trials to test new garments by asking customers to wear a sample product and report back on how it performs.  But most large retailers also routinely use independent testing facilities that help manufacturers gather data about the product without ‘human involvement’.
Mark explained: “Asking a customer to wear a garment and give their opinions on how it looks and feels after several washes is very subjective – for example, one person’s idea of softness is often different to someone else’s. What these tests do is eliminate the influences of human preferences – they are objective tests.”

The T-shirts were first sent to Bureau Veritas, a testing facility in Warrington, where they were put through a number of wash cycles and assessed for pilling, fuzzing, shrinkage and colour fastness.  It was also scrutinised for any puckering, distorting, breaks in stitching or pulling or opening at the seams.
Mark said: “The results were excellent across all parameters. Our garments matched the comparable garments across the board, and exceeded them in many areas.

“The testing at Bureau Veritas proved our fabric is very stable – it performed really well after the wash cycles. Our T-shirt had very low spirality against the comparable garments, there was less twist and torsion in the fabric and the pilling results were fantastic.”

The T-shirts then went to the University of Manchester, home to the Fabric Touch Tester, which tests the handle of fabrics. This state-of-the-art machine is owned by SDL Atlas, the world’s leading supplier of textile testing equipment to the fabric, apparel, yarn, and fibre industries.

There, the T-shirts’ smoothness, softness and thermal properties were examined.  Mark said: “They looked at the compression and roughness to indicate softness and smoothness, and the bend on the fabric, which is how it drapes and falls.

“They also feedback on the thermal properties of the fabric which is also really important for every garment.  If you’re making a t-shirt, you don’t want it to retain heat, you want it to keep you cool.
These tests showed our T-shirt fabric is very soft, cool and resilient.”

The new Britspun label on the seam of a garment made from English Fine Cottons yarn

The ultimate t-shirt fabric

Our general manager, Andy Ogden, said the test results are another indication that English Fine Cottons’ is succeeding in its mission.

He said: “We set our stall high from the very beginning. We didn’t want to just re-establish the cotton industry in the UK, we wanted to do that by producing cotton yarns that are among the finest in the world.

“Now just a year after going into production, these independent test results show a garment made from our yarns can perform better than comparable garments currently sold to the public.
This shows there really is no reason for retailers and designers not to buy British. Not only are British-made products what the consumers wants, they can be better quality.

“The feedback from these tests will be fed into our continuous improvement process, allowing us to optimise our yarns – and enable us to produce the ultimate T-shirt fabric!”

T-shirts made from English Fine Cottons Yarns

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