Fabric Weights Explained

Let’s be honest, most wholesale printable apparel has a bit of a poor reputation. When buying blanks in bulk, buyers half expect their hoodies and sweatpants to feel flimsy and cheap. However, this isn’t inherently because they’re blanks, but because most large-scale manufacturers opt for cheaper lightweight cotton or polyester blends. While lightweight cotton hoodies might be ideal for some people, most of us are looking for mid-weight or heavyweight options. These are the ones that have that expensive, luxury touch that is warmer, more durable and softer on the skin.

Unlike other wholesalers, all West Coast premium hoodies and sweatpants are made of 100% cotton and made to the highest standards using only mid-weight and heavy weight cotton. But what does that mean and how do buyers know the difference? Buying wholesale blanks doesn’t have to mean opting for poor quality when you know what to look for. This article introduces you to the differences between lightweight, mid-weight and heavyweight cotton, so you can shop with greater confidence and buy better products.

But first, it’s worth pointing out that there are essential environmental benefits to knowing how to identify quality hoodies. Firstly, understanding the quality of the different weights of cotton apparel can help promote better buying decisions with more emphasis on quality purchases. Secondly, and more importantly, better-informed purchasing choices are linked to longer-lasting clothing which in turn reduces waste. In an age where our every shopping choice can impact the environment, shopping smart is the smartest option for the planet.

So now we know how important it is to make quality choices, let’s get to it. What is a mid-weight or heavyweight cotton and how would you identify it? Heavier weight cotton is typically associated with canvas, corduroy or denim and is widely understood as a more stiff, rigid textile ideal for workwear. But switching up the weaving technique means that heavyweight cotton can also be made to be soft and flexible for premium leisurewear. For example, specially woven heavier cotton textiles can grant the durability of denim and retain the flexibility and comfort of your favorite athleisure wear.

In production terms, the process begins much the same with machines harvesting the raw cotton in the field. This cotton is then mechanically cleaned removing seeds and plant debris before being rolled into bales and sent to the textile mills. Once the textile mills receive the bales of processed cotton, they begin the process of ‘’Carding’ which essentially turns the fluffy fibers into long ropes of cotton ready to be spun into fine threads. The final stage is where the process begins to vary depending on the desired weight of the final textile.

Cotton threads can be woven into fabrics in any vast number of different ways at varying degrees of thickness and weight. These are sometimes collected into distinct groups and referred to as their fabric weight. To add complexity, two systems for weight are in simultaneous operation. An Imperial measurement system and the Metric system. In metric terms, a lightweight textile used to make thin hoodies might be 200-330 Grams per square meter (GSM) or 6-10 ounces per square yard (oz/yd²). This refers to the weight of the fabric, which is determined, in part, by the density of the threads. But this can also be impacted by the source fiber and the method of weaving. The most heavyweight cotton is typically used in jackets and coats are around 700 GSM or just over 20oz.yd², while the lightest cotton used for blouses and summer dresses are just 135 GSM or 4oz.yd². See the chart below for examples.

Type / Season

Metric Weight

Imperial Weight

Lightweight / Summer Use

200-330 GSM

6-10 Oz/Yd²

Mid-weight / Year-Round Use

350-450 GSM

10-14 Oz/Yd²

Heavyweight / Winter Use

475-600 GSM

14-18 Oz/Yd²

West Coast Blends use mid-weight and heavyweight cottons ranging between 350-600 GSM or 10-18 oz/yd² to make all of our high-quality blank hoodies and sweatpants. By using a heavier 100% premium quality cotton the apparel is more luxurious and comforting than the regular lightweight alternatives. 

Finally, the choice of weaving technique determines the feel of the final textile. West Coast Blends use the finest French terry loop back weave to make their mid-weight and heavyweight hoodies. This weaving technique creates loops on both sides that capture moisture. French Terry weaving is slightly different and creates a material with a smooth side facing outward and loops on the inside. By combining mid-weight and heavyweight cottons that have been woven into French terry loop back ensures an unparalleled level of luxury and comfort, that is durable and long-lasting.

So how would you wear a mid-weight versus a heavyweight? This is down to personal choice as both are durable and long-lasting. But a rough guide might be to think of mid-weight as the ideal choice for the shifting seasons; Spring and Fall while Heavyweight can be good for Winter. But because cotton is an organic natural fiber these hoodies are breathable and therefore suitable for year-round comfort.