The single stitch construction shows a single row of stitching securing the hem edges and sleeve cuffs of the garment. On most modern t-shirts the standard double row of stitching is now used.
Of course, many double-stitch t-shirts are both vintage and valuable. And many single stitch t-shirts are contemporary and common—many brands, from Ralph Lauren to Aeropostale, use an exaggerated single stitch construction to replicate a vintage look.
Brands and designers nowadays use the single stitch construction to replicate the Vintage aesthetic. Their thick lines of stitching secure slightly firmer and rigid fabric highlighting the difference in the original paper thin tee’s.
The single stitch construction was the most common method of t-shirt manufacturing during the 1980s and 1990s within the USA. If you’re in the market for a pre 1996 vintage piece but you’re unsure about dates, the single stitch construction will generally always give the piece the vintage stamp of approval. Additionally if the Tee was produced in Europe like Ireland, France or Italy it usually means that it is even older probably around the 80s, due to the fact that European suppliers converted to the double Stitch manufacturing earlier than in the USA.
The material of a single stitch t-shirt is almost as important, if not equal to the stitch itself. These tee’s have a softness no double stitch t-shirt could replicate. Single stitch garments do not hold creases the same way a firm cotton shirt does; their breathable, paper thin fabric holds value like no other.
As touched upon in the above point, when shopping for single stitch t-shirts the look and feel of the garment, from the material to how it hangs is a tell-tale sign that it is a True Vintage piece. If that isn’t enough to reassure you, the single row stitching construction that stands out amongst common double stitch tee’s will confirm that early 90’s era.
You may have heard the term 50/50 or Fifty-Fifty when shopping for Vintage t-shirts; this refers to the material composition being 50% cotton and 50% polyester. Yet again this blend provides a soft-to-touch garment that sticks out amongst any standard firm double stitch tee.