bella + canvas clothing review

Bella + Canvas Apparel, A Local Mom’s Review

It all started with a toddler t-shirt— a gift we received for our 2-year old. This tee was the softest fabric I have felt, more like something you would find in high-end apparel for adults. I was determined to find out more about this brand and this incredible fabric!

In this post, I will review Bella + Canvas premium basic tees for the whole family. I will share with you what I have found after purchasing and wearing many styles of this brand for the past year.

I have no affiliation with Bella + Canvas. I simply love this product!

Searching For The Perfect Tee

I’m a fabric person— I’ve worked in textile design for 17 years. I’m interested in how the fabric feels to the touch and how it holds up over time. I’m someone who looks at the cut, quality, and drape of fabric on the body.

Once I had my son I became obsessed with the fabric quality and selection for infant, toddler, and kids clothing available for busy Moms’.

I’ve written about choosing organic apparel and sustainable outdoor brands. There is a lot to be said for reading the fabric label. These days you can go to the brand’s website to find out where products are designed, dyed, cut, and sewn.

You can look for certifications in sustainable and ethical practices. You can find out if the fabric is standard or organic.


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The Toddler Tee That Lead Me To Bella + Canvas

The raglan tee I mentioned for my toddler was so different from any fabric I had purchased for my son’s clothing up to that point. It was the softest, most amazing feeling. The style was super cute, and I was determined to find out more.

toddler clothing balla + canvas

Bella + Canvas [Los Angeles] Is An Industry Leader

If you haven’t heard of Bella + Canvas, it is because until recently, they were available only at wholesale. For 25 years they sold basics through wholesale channels— clients with a resale license. Basically, you could only get this product if you were a promotional product distributor or commercial screen-printer.

Now there is an eCommerce website in addition to their wholesale site. The eCommerce “retail” tab sells directly to consumers. Products are being sold as blank fashion basics!

What Is A “Premium” Basic?

We all know that premium means superior quality. When it comes to apparel basics, like tees (tank tops, raglans, short sleeves, long sleeves) this means it has characteristics of higher-end tees you’d find at retail— like side seams (create a tailored fit, not boxy), incredibly soft fabric, and fitted sleeves.

I think there is a demand for high quality, eco-friendly basics.

Most standard tees are made using carded open-end cotton, which can feel awful on the skin— heavy, scratchy, or stiff. I think we all know what this feels like.

Add to that, most standard tees are made using tubular production (requires less sewing, literally in a tubular shape with no side seams!) which leads to an ill-fitting garment.

What makes the fabric so soft?

Bella + Canvas values quality. First things first, they use long-staple cotton.

Long-staple cotton produces a soft, silky feel. You will notice tees become softer overtime.

Secondly, Bella + Canvas creates “clean” cotton by combing out 2.5x more impurities than standard ring-spun cotton. When it’s ring-spun it creates a long strand of yarn. That yarn has a tight weave and smooth consistency.

Tip: Bella + Canvas has perfected the blended tee; that is, fabric that weaves their signature cotton with other luxurious fibers. Look for keywords like “tri-blend” and “heather” to find the most incredible fabric.

Bella + Canvas is sustainable

It is admirable that in an industry where almost all products are made overseas, Bella + Canvas does a bulk of manufacturing in the U.S. Product is designed, dyed, and cut in Los Angeles. Sewing is split between the U.S. and Central America. They employ thousands of people in the U.S.!

Bella + Canvas is eco-friendly

I’m a fabric nerd, so I’m always wondering how a garment is made. Bella + Canvas has the most technologically advanced cutting floor in Northern America. This kind of speed (millions of pieces each week) and accuracy in garment cutting saves time and resources and no doubt contributes to a lower price point.

In addition, Bella + Canvas is forward-thinking. Their factory is powered by solar panels. Excess fabric is recycled, contributing to a zero-waste goal. They also use 7x less water than the average garment manufacturer.

Where can you find Bella + Canvas?

As mentioned, Bella + Canvas now has an e-commerce function on their website and sells to the average consumer— not just to the wholesale channels.

I was excited to read in their blog entries they were planning to open physical pop-up retail stores in 2020. I’m not sure about the status of this due to Covid-19.

Bella + Canvas has been around for so long. Many industry leaders are aware of the brand. You will see their blank apparel sold at Amazon, Michaels, Walmart, Etsy, and— now their face masks are sold at Target.

When to consider an on-demand print service

On-demand printers like Printful and Custom Ink offer screen printing, heat transfer, and embroidery of your brand logo onto tees and other products.

This can be a perfect way to get Bella + Canvas apparel styles printed with your company logo— when you need to print in bulk.

Tip: Ask the on-demand printer what their minimum order quantity is for a particular style. This is also called MOQ and will affect the pricing.

kids favorite clothing brands

Minor critiques of Bella + Canvas

My feedback has been mostly positive, but this is a review, right?

In a perfect world, Bella + Canvas would have an organic baby and kids line. (In fairness, they offer one Men’s tee that is organic.) I can imagine it is cost-prohibitive to offer organic and would drive the price up. One of the reasons I like this brand is because it is reasonably priced yet high quality.

The weight of the fabric is a bit light, and this causes transparency. Not an issue for the baby and toddler line, but I would steer clear of a white tee for adults.

Some of my favorite women’s styles are classified as “junior” so run small. I would recommend buying one size up from what you’re used to and look closely at their sizing guides.

In Conclusion

I hope this review of Bella + Canvas premium basic tees has been helpful! If you are looking for super soft fabric, contemporary styles, and quality tees for your family, I would recommend this brand.

If you are looking to screen print small batches of tees for your company, I would suggest you take a look!

Maureen Lowe
Maureen Lowe

Maureen Lowe is a Bay Area native that relocated to the high desert mountains of Southwest Reno with her family in 2017. Mama to her active pup and toddler boy, Maureen is a textile designer and graduate of CCA San Francisco. With a lifelong love of nature and the arts, Maureen has made it a mission to explore Reno’s scenic trails and cultural offerings to find kid and dog-friendly outings that work in all seasons.