If you’ve never heard the term ‘ring spun cotton’, you may not be aware that there is a whole other category of cotton garments that will feel softer to the touch, and which will be much more durable over the course of their life cycle.
All of this is due to the process used to convert yarn into cotton fibers, and in the case of ring spun cotton, that process creates a product which feels better when worn, and will provide the user with longer-lasting usefulness.
What is Ring Spun Cotton?
Ringspun cotton got its name from the manufacturing process used to produce it, which differs in several ways from the production of regular cotton. The method used causes the yarn to be spun, twisted, and thinned out, so that it yields soft strands which are highly elongated.
These strands are not only longer than regular cotton, but they’re also considerably stronger, more durable, and they have a much softer texture than ordinary raw cotton does. While undergoing this twisting, spinning, and thinning, the threads of the yarn will become compacted in such a way that the end result is a material which is extremely durable and stronger than regular cotton products tend to be.
Even though ring spun cotton goes through this special process, it does not add significantly to the cost of any finished goods it’s used in. Normally, it will cost only slightly more than regular cotton will, and the cost certainly would not be a reason to avoid purchasing it at a clothing store.
Some people purchase ring spun cotton products either due to the soft feel they impart or for their durability, but the truth is that both types of cotton are extremely popular, and both have their fans.
How is This Different From Regular Cotton?
If you were to sum up the difference between standard cotton and ring spun cotton, you could simply say that ring spun cotton feels softer and it’s generally nicer. However, there is a reason for that, and this reason amounts to the real difference between the two types of cotton.
The way that each of these is manufactured involves a completely different process. Regular cotton is produced from fibers which get twisted together in order to create yarn, and that yarn then gets woven into a brand-new material.
Most T-shirts that you will find in clothing stores are made from regular cotton, because it’s less expensive to make and sell, making it extremely popular for mass production. Major T-shirt manufacturers, such as Fruit of the Loom, Hanes, and Gildan, sell regular cotton T-shirts to their customers, and have acquired strong followings for these products.
The process used to produce ring spun cotton is much different than the regular cotton process. This methodology involves twisting and spinning each individual cotton strand, so as to make cotton fibers which are very soft, very strong, and extremely fine.
Because of this special processing, ring spun T-shirts are much more durable and will generally last for a much longer period of time than their standard cotton counterparts. Of course, that will also add to their price tag, but the increase in price is not prohibitive, and it certainly shouldn’t scare anyone away who wants a soft, durable T-shirt.
In terms of how they feel to the wearer, ring spun cotton will generally feel lighter and softer when worn. It’s fairly easy to tell the difference in the two just by picking up a T-shirt of each type, and comparing the softness and the texture, since a regular T-shirt will feel somewhat rougher.
Is Ring Spun Cotton Stretchy?
Both regular cotton and ring spun cotton start out with the same manufacturing process, in that both are converted from raw form into rough yarns of a smaller size, until they’re appropriate for manufacturing into T-shirt thread. Ring spun cotton will then undergo an extra step which involves having the yarn spun rapidly around a ring mechanism, and from there onto a huge bobbin that will thin out the yard into a finer gauge.
This process also twists the fibers all in the same direction, resulting in neatly spun fibers which have a smooth twist to them, as opposed to the frayed and ragged fibers of normal cotton. Ring spun cotton thus can produce yarn products which are smoother, finer, and softer, and that means the garments they are used in have those same properties.
Because all the fibers of the yarn have been twisted tightly together in a consistent direction, ring spun cotton becomes more durable, and far less likely to undergo breakage or fraying.
All this leads into the concept of ‘singles’ in cotton, which is a measure of its heft, weight, and overall feel.
Most standard cotton T-shirts will sit at 18 singles or thereabouts, whereas ring spun T-shirts measure in between 30 and 40 singles. The higher the single count, the lighter and slimmer any T-shirt would feel when worn.
The stretchiness of a given T-shirt will be directly related to how finely it has been processed, for instance a ring spun shirt will feel more stretchy than regular cotton, and a tri-blend T-shirt, made of polyester, rayon, and combed cotton, will feel even more stretchy and soft.
How Does it Fit?
When you’re considering the fit of any cotton garment, you should always take into account whether it’s regular cotton or ring spun cotton.
For instance a T-shirt that is 100% regular cotton will undoubtedly undergo some level of shrinkage during washing and drying, and you could lose as much as a full size after the first time this happens.
On the other hand, 100% ring spun cotton is subject to far less shrinkage, because the fibers have already been tightly compacted and twisted together. When you purchase a ring spun cotton garment, you can expect it to offer a truer fit, and to remain close to its original size even after several washings.
Machinery for All Your Cotton Harvesting Needs
At Certi-Pik, USA, we don’t manufacture cotton products like T-shirts, but we do provide all the important components and repair parts necessary for the machinery that is used to harvest cotton. If you are harvesting cotton, whether for regular use or to be ring spun, contact us today for any of the high-quality aftermarket parts you need to keep your harvesting operation running smoothly.