Have you ever had a piece of clothing, like a t-shirt, tank or sweatshirt, that looked slightly lumpy? That t-shirt was probably made from slub fabric, a popular choice for t-shirts because slub fabric is lightweight, airy and doesn’t hug the body. Most often, apparel manufacturers and designers use either 100% cotton or a cotton/polyester blend to make the nubby slub cotton you see in lots of t-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts, sweatpants, pajamas and other loungewear.
If you’ve been wondering about slub fabric—what it is, how it’s made, how to care for it and how to decorate it—you’re in the right place. We break down everything you need to know about slub.
What’s Slub Fabric?
A “slub” is a section in a piece of yarn that’s thicker than the rest of the yarn length. At first, we considered slubs to be “mistakes,” since they result in a fabric with an uneven texture. That’s why spinners either “unwove” the slub from the yarn, or discarded that piece. However, apparel makers started to see that the slubs actually created a unique look in the yarn and fabric, and decided to intentionally weave these bumps into their fabrications.
We’ll drill down into what slub fabric is even further, how to care for it, how to decorate it and where to find some affordable garments made of slub fabric. (By the way, people say slub or slubbed fabric, so choose the term you like best!)
What’s Slub Knit Fabric Made Of
Manufacturers create slub fabric by knotting and twisting yarn in different places and then weaving the yarn together. Most commonly, 100% slub cotton, cotton and polyester blends, and triblends are used to make t-shirts and tank tops. However, you’ll see tweed, silk and even butcher linen used to make slub fabric, but it’s not often a top choice to manufacture wholesale blank apparel.
You’ve probably seen lots of t-shirts, tanks and sweatshirts that have a nubby, heathered texture. They’re made from a slub knit fabric, woven from a yarn that has an uneven texture. The thicker parts of the yarn are called slubs, which make an irregular and interesting texture in the fabric. Plus, the slubs take dye differently than the rest of the yarn, resulting in that one-of-a-kind heathered look on the finished fabric.
Like slub fabric, cotton and cotton blends are the most popular for slub knits, since natural fibers spin more unevenly and have more “slubs” than human-made fibers. Machine spinning reduces slubs, even in natural fibers, but manufacturers can also create more evenly spaced or “intentional” slubs, which create that wonderful visual effect in the fabric. This slub or heathered look also results in one-of-a-kind, worn-and-loved t-shirts and sweatshirts, even when they’re produced in bulk. When you add a decoration to one of these already-unique garments, you’re increasing the perceived value of the piece.
Shop Slub T-Shirts
You’ll see lots of high-fashion designers, as well as ready-to-wear fashion at retail and in the wholesale space, using slub fabrics to create trend-setting apparel with a vintage appeal. With our affordable collection of t-shirts and sweatshirts made from slub fabric, you can add a lot of personality to your wardrobe or the pieces you decorate to sell. Here are some Threadsy styles we recommend, since they’re great for decorating and wearing everywhere. After all, your new slub garment is your blank canvas for your creativity and self-expression.