So what does GSM mean when I'm looking at clothing?

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About Us
Hi Everyone,

Firstly let me introduce our business. We are d-con clothing an eBay based shop selling custom printed t shirts. I hope my reviews are useful to you as we share our experience of custom print clothing with you, the details of our industry and some of the terms used so you can always make an informed buying decision when shopping. Our experience is gained from almost 10 years working in the clothing industry for a number of leading suppliers.

Since we've been in the clothing industry one question regularly gets asked.

What on earth does GSM mean when I'm looking at clothing?

Well this review is to outline so you know for next time you are shopping!

Firstly it's important to know that GSM also has some other acronyms that do mean the same; lets start with those.

GSM (also known as gm/2) = grams per square metre and is the metric measurement of the weight of a fabric.

Metric measurements are generally the most common place but some clothing items are still marked in Imperial weights (OZ or oz/yd2 = ounces per yard squared)

The important thing to state here is that all of the terms above are measurements of weight, specifically the fabric weight when talking clothing. For example a T Shirt may be listed as 185gsm and another may be listed as 5.5oz the outcome is that these are basically the same as 5.5oz = 186 gms

You can work out any conversion of OZ & GSM by using the following calculation

5.5oz x 33.906 = 186.48 gsma
185gsm / 33.906 = 5.45oz

So first part of the guide over; still with me? I hope so but we always welcome feedback to our guides.

The math is an important part of understanding the variations of fabric weight but in day to day buying you won't want to pull out a calculator in a shop to work out what is what!!

So the main question you may have is "What is a good weight to buy?"

That will depend on what you need from your garment, fabric weight is in almost all cases a definition of the thickness of the garment itself. If you want a nice thick T Shirt then a 180-200gsm item is generally at the very top end of a t shirt weight but if you want a nice light weight summer T Shirt to pack for your holidays a 130-150 is also great. Likewise if you are looking for a cheap promotional T shirt that may not be worn more than a few times a 100-110gsm T shirt can be more than adequate.

Hoodies & Sweatshirts work on the same basis a thick winter hoodie can be 300-400gsm but a nice all year round weight can be 250-300gsm and a summer weight hoodie can be 200-250gsm.

Will a heavier weight T shirt / hoodie / sweatshirt last longer or be better quality?

The answer to that really depends on you and what you want from your T shirt, will you wear it regularly (2-3 times a week)? If yes then certainly I'd expect a heavier weight to last longer with all the extra washing and drying regular wear will mean. But I have many T Shirts that are 130-150gsm that I've had for years as they only have occasional wear.

As for the quality that is such a wide ranging term that is always a matter of individual perspective. A designer t shirt may cost £90+ but only be 130gsm in weight and a "no brand" T shirt may cost £10 and be 190gsm - is the designer one better quality as it's 9 times more expensive? Or are you paying a premium price for a brand you like? Personally I'd suggest you are.

But in general terms the higher the fabric weight most people would interpret to be better quality.

Does the higher the weight effect the price?

Yes; without a doubt. The higher the weight the more raw materials are used to weave the fabric in to its finished state ready for cutting and sewing.

What if there is no fabric weight in the listing I'm looking at?

To be honest there is no reason for a seller not to include the fabric weight of their clothing (especially if it's a t shirt, hoodie or sweatshirt) so in this situation it's either the seller does not know or they do not want you to know?
In general and from my perspective I would not always expect a private seller to know fabric weights but for me every single business seller should know this level of specification and they should tell you clearly in the listing; I know we do as I want you to know why a 205gsm Super Premium T Shirt is more expensive than a 145gsm lightweight T shirt.

Sadly for every seller trying to be honest and clear in their listings, like d-con clothing, there are others simply out to make as much money as they can regardless of their customers experience.

If you're looking at a t shirt, hoodie or sweatshirt and the GSM is not listed any where; ask the seller. If they don't know or do not respond that would personally set off an alarm bell for me?

So in summary GSM is simply the fabric weight of a clothing item. Thanks for reading my guide and I hope you have found this informative.

Kind regards

d-con clothing

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