Starter’s Guide: How To Choose Fabrics For Custom Hoodie?

Do you know who made the world’s first hoodie? —Champion, a brand we are familiar with, made the first sweatshirt in 1930. Since then, the fashion of hoodies has never ended.

champion hoodie
champion hoodie

Hoodies are trendy nowadays because of their versatility and easiness of putting them on. Hoodies are snuggly, warm, and highly comfortable and are great for various occasions. You can wear a hoodie at home when you go for a walk or a hike, run errands, and even on a date with your lover.

Nowadays, hoodies are so easy to make, so if you are thinking about designing your own hoodies for your clothing brand, there are some things you need to take into account, such as the functions and the type of fabric most suitable for your hoodie.

New in the clothing industry? I will guide you step by step.

Thickness of fabric

What is fabric weight? (GSM)

The abbreviation GSM stands for Grams per Square Meter (g/m2). The fabric is weighted by calculating the grams of one meter by one-meter square and the weight of the material: the higher gsm, the thicker fabric.

Generally speaking, the gsm of a hoodie starts from 250gsm to 500gsm.

250-270gsm fabric is normally considered a lightweight fabric for jumpers. Suitable for sport and fitness hoodies.

220gsm vs 250gsm hoodie
220gsm vs 250gsm hoodie

280-320gsm fabric is a mid-weight fabric most frequently used for hoodies and sweatshirts.

280gsm vs 300gsm hoodie
280gsm vs 300gsm hoodie

350-380gsm fabric, we will consider it as a heavyweight fabric which some streetwear brands commonly use.

330gsm vs 380gsm hoodie
330gsm vs 380gsm hoodie

400-500gsm fabrics are super thick. Only suitable to wear in cold weather.

480gsm vs 500gsm hoodie
480gsm vs 500gsm waffle hoodie

Softness of fabric

What is the single means in fabric?

Singles, or S, refers to the yarn count. It determines the softness of the fabric. The higher the number, the finer the thread and thus, a more delicate, softer fabric is created.

For example, the 32S cotton fabric is softer than the 21S cotton fabric.

10S-16S cotton fabric feels rough and stiff. It used to be considered a fabric for cheap jumpers. But now, as the vintage craze intensifies, low-count fabrics are also in demand. The unique rugged texture of 16S fabric brings your hoodie a stylish and vintage look.

21S-32S cotton fabrics are the most frequently used. I will say 90%of the jumpers you see in the market are 21S, 26S or 32S. It is soft and moderate.

40S-50S cotton fabrics are considered high-quality fabrics. Usually, only some high-end brands use high-count fabrics to make jumpers. For jumpers made of this kind of fabric, the price is generally not less than $150 or even higher.

60S or higher S cotton fabric can be said to be the “Hermes” in fabrics. It is unparalleled soft and has a smooth, non-marking finish. Wearing it is like lying on a cloud.

40s vs 10s fabric
40s vs 10s fabric

Different types of fabric for the hoodie

Now you have a rough idea of the thickness and softness of the jumper’s fabric. The next step is to choose the fabric type you need for your hoodie.

The following fabrics are generally used for hoodies and sweatshirts:

  • French terry
  • Fleece
  • Brushed french terry
  • Polar fleece
  • Jersey
  • Ponte de Roma
  • Ribbing

Let’s have a look one by one.

French terry fabric

What is French terry?

French terry is similar to Jersey in that they are both knit fabrics. French terry has soft piles of yarn on one side and loops on the other side. It is a midweight fabric, so it is suitable to wear all year round. This fabric is absorbent and cozy and keeps you cool when you wear it.

250gsm fabric with french terry lining
250gsm fabric with french terry lining

French terry is often used in casual clothing. You’ll find it in pullovers, sweatpants, shorts, and hoodies. Apparel made with french terry is comfortable and great to wear over your workout clothes or simply when hanging out with friends.

The unique terry texture of french terry makes it so popular in streetwear brands. It comes with a vintage and stylish features.

French terry is excellent because it rarely wrinkles, and it doesn’t need dry cleaning. In short, it is a low-maintenance fabric. This fabric can be washed, and if it is made of 100% cotton, when you take it out of the drier it won’t smell contrary to the synthetic ones.

I will recommend using french terry for your custom hoodie if:

  • You are making a gym hoodie or sweatshirt.
  • You want your hoodie to suit most of the weather.
  • You are a streetwear brand owner.
  • You don’t like a puffy and plush hoodie.
  • You are making loungewear and daily wear hoodies.
customized womens oversized drop shoulder french terry hoodie wholesale
french terry hoodie

Fleece fabric

What is fleece?

Fleece is a soft fabric, and it is known to keep you warm! On the surface, fleece looks very similar to french terry and even has tiny furs and similar linings to the fleece fabric. The similarity between the fleece and french terry comes down to the gsm as they have the same gsm. However, fleece does feel thicker than french terry. The name of this fabric is derived from “fleece” from a sheep’s coat. It is important to note that this fabric is not made from sheep’s wool but by weaving wonderful fibers into a light fabric that gets brushed to become the fluffy, thick fabric known as fleece. Modern fleece is sometimes made from polyester or natural fibers mainly cotton as these are better for the environment. However, there is a difference between cotton fleece and french terry fleece; french terry fleece is more warm and breathable than cotton fleece.

fleece fabric
fleece fabric

Fleece is usually made from synthetic fibers and polyester. It has a dense fabric construction and fuzzy touch, making it suitable for cold weather and during the winter months. Fleece fabric is often used to make jumpers, winter loungewear, and leggings.

I will recommend using fleece fabric for your custom hoodie if:

  • You are looking for a heavyweight and thick hoodie.
  • You want your hoodie to be super soft, lazy and comfy.
  • Your new hoodie collection is sold in winter to keep warm.
  • You want a puffy hoodie.
  • You are making loungewear and daily wear hoodies.
wholesale woman loose fit heavyweight hoodie with high neck
fleece hoodie

Brushed french terry fabric

Is there a fabric that is somewhere in between french terry and fleece? The answer is yes— we got the brushed french terry.

What is brushed french terry?

Brushed french terry is french terry, but its loops have been brushed to give it a fuzzy feel.

brushed french terry fabric
brushed french terry fabric

I will recommend using brushed french terry fabric for your custom hoodie if:

You want a warm, fuzzy hoodie, but keep the hoodie a lightness of touch and not that puffy.

h9141 man oversized heavyweight hoodie (1)
brushed french terry hoodie

Polar fleece fabric

What is polar fleece fabric?

Polar fleece has a two-sided pile, is very durable, and doesn’t pill even with heavy wearing. Polar fleece is often made of polyester and sometimes blended with spandex to increase its stretchiness.

polar fleece fabric
polar fleece fabric

This fabric is very warm and varies in thickness. However, the thicker this fabric is, the stiffer it gets. Polar fleece repels water but dries quickly when wet. Because of this, polar fleece is one of the most well-known linings for sports jumpers, especially mountaineering hoodies.

In the last couple of years, many lifestyles – and street brands have incorporated polar fleece into their clothing lines because of its fluffiness and softness. Jumpers made of polar fleece have received positive feedback.

I will recommend using polar fleece fabric for your custom hoodie if:

  • You are making sports or outdoor hoodies.
  • You are tired of traditional fleece and french terry fabrics and want to bring something new to attract the customer’s eye.
  • You are making loungewear and daily wear hoodies.
polar fleece outdoor jumper
polar fleece outdoor jumper
polar fleece hoodie
polar fleece jumper


Jersey is made from cotton or synthetic fibers like polyester. It is a stretchy, knit fabric usually used for t-shirts but is often also used for hoodies because of its stretchy, soft, and lightweight features.

A jersey hoodie made of polyester is an excellent choice for physical activities. Because this hoodie is so stretchy and flexible, you’ll be able to hike or run in it without feeling sticky.

Due to the cotton knit fabric blend, clothing made with this fabric is highly breathable and airy while still keeping the wearer warm. This material also dries fast.

Cotton jersey or polyester jersey, which one to choose? It all depends on what scene you’re wearing the hoodie in. Whether polyester or cotton jersey, they are the lightest hoodie, as easy and convenient as wearing a T-shirt.

f2211 upf50+ full sublimation printing fishing hoodie for man(1)
f2211 upf50+ full sublimation printing fishing hoodie for man(1)

Ponte de Roma

This is a double-knit fabric, which means that it looks the same on both sides. This type of knitting is also known as a stable knit and as a result, the fabric doesn’t stretch much. Ponte is best suitable for a loose-fitting hoodie to provide comfort and style.

The double knit has a stable structure which provides the hoodie with a relaxed drape. This fabric isn’t baggy but instead, it makes your body shape more visible.

It is lightweight fabric but thicker than single jersey.

I will recommend using Ponte de Roma for your custom hoodie if:

  • You need a comfortable and suitable hoodie for cool summer evenings or light chilly early fall days.
  • You want a hoodie that will keep you warm while still making your look elegant. A Ponte hoodie adds sophistication to your casual hoodie.
ponte de roma 1
ponte de roma
ponte de roma
ponte de roma
ponte de roma hoodie
ponte de roma hoodie

Ribbing fabric

What is ribbing fabric?

Rib-knit fabric is distinguished by the visible perpendicular ribs it has on its front and back. Simply put rib knits are a double-faced type of fabric.

Normally, ribbing is not used extensively as the main fabric of a jumper.

Usually, a rib-knit is used for bands on hems, jumpers, neckbands, cuffs, turtlenecks, etc.

Different types of ribbing:

1*1 ribbing: it is lightweight to medium-weight and often used as cuffs and bottom for lightweight or medium-weight hoodies.

2*2 ribbing: it is medium-weight to heavy-weight and typically suits medium-weight or thick hoodies.

ribbing collar and cuff
ribbing collar and cuff
ribbing fabric
ribbing fabric

Different compositions of fabric for the hoodie

Now you know some types of different kinds of fabric for hoodies. This is just getting started. To choose the right fabric for your hoodie design, you also need to know the composition of each fabric.

Let’s see some of the most frequently used compositions of jumper fabric.

  • Cotton
  • Cotton/ poly blend
  • Polyester
  • Nylon


Cotton is the most used material when making clothes. Cotton is highly absorbent and made from natural fibre. Cotton hoodies are mostly used for sportswear and casual clothing.

Cotton is flexible and cotton fibres can be mixed with other fibres to create other fabric types like polyester.

I have to say that cotton suit almost all your hoodie needs.

But if you are making a sports hoodie, cotton might not be your best choice. Keep reading, and we have more fabrics that are more suitable for making sporty hoodies.

Cotton/poly blend

Suppose you have a limited budget; however you still want to keep the hoodie feeling like cotton. The cotton/poly blend fabric will be your best choice.

Adding some polyester doesn’t mean cheap quality. Moreover, 10%-20%polyester makes the fabric more durable.

But please remember, when polyester is more than 50%, the fabric won’t feel like nice cotton anymore. 10%-50% is a good range to balance quality and money.

I will recommend using cotton/poly fabric for your custom hoodie if:

You have limited funds and hope the jumpers to be more durable.

Cotton/poly/spandex blend or cotton/spandex blend

Spandex, Lycra, or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity.

Adding some spandex, usually 5%-20% makes the fabric extremely flexible and stretchy.

It is beneficial for people who love workouts that involve a lot of motion, such as weightlifting and yoga.

I will recommend using fabrics blend with spandex for your custom hoodie if:

You are creating sporty jumpers.

j9152 ladies hoodie light weight zip up jacket wholesale (3)
j9152 ladies hoodie light weight zip up jacket wholesale

Polyester or polyester/spandex blend

When it comes to polyester fabric, most of you might think it is a low-quality fabric.

Yes, you are right. It used to be a very cheap fabric; when you are on a budget, polyester is the way to go. That material costs less than cotton.

But nowadays, polyester is no longer a cheap fabric. The price of some nice quality polyester fabric is even much higher than cotton fabric.

For example, the premium quality 80%polyester 20%spandex fabric can be up to US$14.2/kg in China, while the cotton fabric is just US$7.5-8/kg.

mens athletic dryfit hoodie

Polyester-spandex blends are often used in activewear. That is because spandex is very stretchy and comfortable and can retain its original shape. Polyester is durable. Moreover, polyester can dry quickly; therefore, you won’t feel sticky while exercising.

There are also some polyester fabrics with fleece lining that keep you warm in the winter but quickly dry.

The windbreaker hoodie and outdoor hoodie are usually made from 100%polyester.

It is water and wind-resistant and lightweight. Some are even UV protected.

Nylon or nylon/spandex blend

Nylon or nylon/spandex blend fabric can be considered a brother of polyester or polyester/ blend fabric.

It is well stretchy, comfortable and dries quickly, just like polyester. It is even softer than polyester fabric. However, nylon is not as durable as polyester.

Nylon is also one of the frequently used fabrics for windbreaker hoodies or sun-protected hoodies, just like polyester does.

j1053 (1) woman customized cropped wind jacket wholesale china manufacturer
woman customized cropped wind jacket

Some last words

After reading this article, I believe you have a general understanding of some commonly used sweater fabrics. But fabric selection is not an easy course. When choosing a fabric, you must consider the use scenario of the jumper you are designing and the durability, breathability, sweat absorption, comfort, and drying speed of the fabric.

We can not say which fabric is the best for a hoody. You need to find a balance between the characteristics of each different material and find out the one which is the most suitable for your design.

Still confused? Why not get in touch with us? As a clothing manufacturer with over 18 years of experience, we are too familiar with fabrics. Get in touch with us. We will find the most suitable material and cost-effective solution for your clothing design within one working day.


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