Your Complete Guide to Vintage Rare T-Shirts: Single Stitch, Tags, Prints & Differences

Your Complete Guide to Vintage Rare T-Shirts: Single Stitch, Tags, Prints & Differences

Rare is a term we use here at Glass Onion regularly when we find gem pieces, we’re going to tell you all about what it means, how to spot a rare piece, single stitch, tags to look out for and eras. All written by our Web Operation Assistant, Todd - who loves his tees.

What’s a rare T-Shirt? 

A rare t-shirt can be defined in many ways, rare doesn't necessarily mean it's valuable. For example, a high school reunion t-shirt could be deemed as rare as they are not mass produced. A pop culture tee could be classed as rare as 90’s kids grow older - we want to be reminded of things from our youth but the problem is the t-shirts from our childhood only tend to come in youth sizes. Which is why it's rare to find your favourite kids show or movie in an adults XL as they simply weren't made for adults. The other type of rare t-shirts are limited run events such as music concerts; these are rare for a different reason because once that year's tour was finished the band would no longer make that same design again making a lot of them one year limited production runs.

How to spot if your tee might be rare? 

Age often indicates if a t-shirt is rare and you can tell this by the type of stitching a t-shirt has - such as single stitch (which we shall explain about in the next section). One of the best ways is tag guides, making sure that tag matches the era of the t-shirt and the license year.

What are single stitch T-Shirts? 

Single stitch is an older method of sewing hems and sleeves of a t-shirt. It's also known as a blind stitch as the t-shirt is sewn together inside out. it leaves the tee with a unique finish as the stitch can hardly be seen. It did however become less popular during the late 90’s and early 00’s as when the stitch was caught or snapped it would fully unravel itself.

Tags to look out for:

If you’re at your favourite vintage shop and see any of these tags and single stitch - you know you might be onto a winner. 

1. Warner Brothers used Wild Oats for lots of their merchandise. Usually known for being good at all over prints tee's however now they're faked a lot by modern bootleggers

2. Salem Sportswear produced sportswear like shorts and tees for American Sports like NBA, NHL and NFL.

3. WCW is the original version of WWE. More uncommon because they used to outsource to companies.

4. Liquid Blue started out only doing their own designs however moved onto producing Grateful dead tees which they are most known for now. 

5. Giants is known for producing tour tees for bands such as ACDC, Nirvana and Metallica

6. Fruit of the Loom was used for 90’s film promo and tour tees. They were only used by top end company’s including Universal and Paramount. The tee is supplied by Fruit of the Loom but the print is supplied from the actual company. 

Todd’s fave tee’s

Including some from our archive and some available online now! 1994 The Flintstones YABBA DABBA DOO All Over Character Print, 1995 Carlos Santana Heaven Smiles, Star Wars N-1 Naboo Starfighter Tie Dye, 1995 Looney Tunes Tasmanian Devil Graphic, 1998 Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Tupac All Eyez On Me, 1986 Boris Vallejo Vampire's Kiss, Universal Studios Return Of The Mummy Ride, 1990 Maui & Sons "In Sharks We Trust" and Looney Tunes "Go Climb A Rock"

Shop our collection of rare t-shirts now.