Sweat-Free T-shirts


Sweat-Free Ts logoAltogether, we Presbyterians print a lot of T-shirts. Unfortunately, almost all of the apparel readily available to us in stores was produced in sweatshops. The good news is that sweatshop-free shirts are available from the PC(USA), ready to print with your group’s logo or design. Whether you’re creating shirts for your youth group, upcoming mission trip, presbytery summer camp, congregational celebration or special event, put your faith in practice by choosing Sweat-Free Ts!

Why sweat-free?

There are many ways concerned Presbyterians can support our sisters and brothers in Christ who work hard on the production end of the garment chain. Since all of our actions — including our consumer purchases — reflect our faith and values, each purchase we make supports either the sweatshop industry or the growing number of innovative companies and cooperatives that abstain from sweatshop labor and have committed themselves to sweat-free values. Purchasing garments from responsible manufacturers, companies and cooperatives not only sends the message that we support their principles — it reflects our faith in a God and who promises that a better world is possible.

Sweat-free principles

The following are examples of sweat-free principles:

  • Workers receive a fair living wage and benefits.
  • Working conditions are just, including:
    • Freedom from excessive working hours and forced labor in all its forms.
    • Freedom from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
    • Protection from workplace health and safety hazards.
  • Children are not subject to working conditions that jeopardize their physical, psychological, or intellectual development.
  • Women are neither discriminated against nor harassed.
  • All workers are free to organize and negotiate collective bargaining agreements.

Woman handling a T-shirt

Yadira Vallejos explains the process of making Sweat-Free T-shirts. Here she demonstrates the machine used to sew collars into the shirts. Photo by Melanie Hardison.

Who Made Sweat-Free Ts?

Sweat-Free Ts came from the Nueva Vida Women’s Sewing Cooperative in Nicaragua. While not currently functioning, this women owned co-op was created with the assistance of the Center for Development in Central America, thanks to seed money originally provided by the One Great Hour of Sharing and distributed by the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

photo of T-shirts in a packing box

White children’s tees get unpacked and ready for shipping to Presbyterians. (Photo by Melanie Hardison)

Sweat-Free tees come directly from the Nueva Vida Women’s Sewing Cooperative and Fair Trade Zone in Nicaragua. The co-op was created with the assistance of Center for Development in Central America with seed money provided by the One Great Hour of Sharing and distributed by the Presbyterian Hunger Program.

The shirts: High-quality, 100 percent organic cotton tees come blank and ready to print with your group’s logo or design. Only the Sweat-Free logo is preprinted in black on the sleeve. Colors available through Presbyterian Distribution Service (PDS) are white and natural.

Sizes and colors available

($5 each):

  • Natural, child small: PDS# 74365-05-332CS
  • Natural, child large: PDS# 74365-05-332CL
  • Natural, adult XXX-large: PDS# 74365-05-332XXXL
  • White, child small: PDS# 74360-03-332CS
  • White, child medium: PDS# 74360-03-332CM
  • White, child large: PDS# 74360-03-332CL
  • White, adult small: PDS# 74360-03-332S
  • White, adult medium: PDS# 74360-03-332M
  • White, adult XL: PDS# 74360-03-332XL
  • White, adult XXXL: PDS# 74360-03-332XXXL

Order your shirts

1. Call PDS at (800) 524-2612.
2. Request the PDS Item Number corresponding to the color/size shirt(s) you want.
3. Have the following information ready when you call:

  • The quantities and sizes you need. (Contact php@pcusa.org to request a discount on a large quantity.)
  • The address where you would like the shirts shipped. (Shirts can be shipped to your local screen printer.)
  • The date by which you need your shirts. (Rush orders are possible but will involve extra shipping costs.)

4. Shirts may also be ordered online. Use the full PDS# (see above), with no dashes, and including the size code (CL, XXXL, etc.)

Other resources

For other t-shirt options, try searching Ethix Merch.
Download the Guide to Ending Sweatshops from Green America.
Find places to purchase green products and services as well as information on fair trade, green living, and more, from Green America.