How to Make an Awesome T-Shirt


  • Natural fibers (don’t make that face…yes, for running!)
  • Poly fibers (sweat busting!)
  • Female intuition (yeah, sisters)
  • Discharge printing (no glommy glue-y screen prints)
  • Water-based inks (brilliant color)
  • Graphics with a story (beyond the obvious)
  • Exceptional sewers (quality workmanship)
  • The desire to do something interesting

I’ll never forget Oiselle’s official “launch.” It was the Seattle Marathon Expo, November 2006. I had spent a year obsessed with creating the perfect running short. One that didn’t turn into a parachute upon movement. And being the competitive runner that I was, I wanted a ridiculous split leg short that I would later find out 98% of women don’t want to wear. To top it off, it was November, 34 degrees, and snow was predicted for race day. Obviously, sales of the shorty short were going to be huge.


Despite these grim conditions, and the ensuing dismal sales numbers of our first short, there was one thing that salvaged a bit of hope and a good portion of my ego. It was the dumb luck of having a graphic tee in the mix. Simple. Nothing fancy. On an American Apparel blank….just our signature bird flock. Well, it totally blew up. Runners were all about it. I had one guy on his cell phone to his girlfriend, describing it in great detail to get the go ahead. He bought three. Bottom line: it was my first and most important t-shirt “aha!” moment.

 So I reached down into my apparel loving soul, and asked, “what do women want?” and this is what I heard back: “Oh, hi. Wait, are you talking to me? Because in the running apparel industry, people don’t usually talk to us. The women, that is. But wow, I’m pumped you asked, and now that you have, I’m gonna tell you want I want, what I really, really want!

“I don’t want a man tee! That shape flatters NO ONE.”

“I want soft fabric! I’m tired of cheap, rough cotton.”

“I want cool graphics! Hello…something more interesting than your logo please.”

“I want an exceptional fit! Not too tight, not too loose…wait, I got it! Shaped like a woman!”

“I want quality and attention to detail! Graphics that don’t feel like a layer of plastic glue and sewing that’s clean.”

“I want color! Where in the universe is it said that if you’re an athlete, thy shall wear royal blue?”

“I want versatilty! Something I can wear for a run, or running around in a cute outfit!”

Beginning in 2007, we’ve been making our tees from scratch, in the US, with the most talented graphic designers. In many ways they’re our art canvas. Our way to have fun, to say stuff, to celebrate, to honor our sister friendship with all of you. At the end of the day, a tee is still a wonderful, simple recipe for happiness. We hope you agree. Shop Oiselle Running Tees!