What is tackle twill?

Angie Renner
Published by 
Angie Renner
Last updated: 
December 30, 2023

Learn what tackle twill is along with its origins, uses, and alternatives for creating attractive and eye-catching designs.

Tackle twill is a long-lasting design option for clothing and other apparel. It has a high variety of pattern and customization options.

When it comes to custom shirts and jackets. There are several different options for applying a pattern to the clothing. Screen printing and embroidery are conventional methods. And they’re favorite methods for making items like jerseys, nameplates, logos, and Greek lettering styles. Tackle twill is another option for these items.

Screen printed designs are easy to recognize. They take the image or text and often apply it to a screen of polyester or other fine mesh, and then affix it to the shirt.

Embroidery designs are also distinctive. The whole of the design is done through embroidery. Sewn with threads to achieve the desired patterns.

While tackle twill may not be clear by its name. It is still easy to recognize. It is also known as applique.

This style of design happens by taking a piece of material. And then cutting it into the desired pattern. It is then sewed to the surface of the intended fabric with a twill made from nylon or similar materials.

The Origins of Tackle Twill

R.J Liebe invented and patented tackle twill as a material for American football pants. Over time, other materials, such as Lycra, replaced tackle twill. But its durability still makes it attractive for lettering across various types of athletic apparel.

Making Tackle Twill

All fabrics are made by weaving, with the base warp threads held steady. With the weft threads manipulated around them. Beyond just the type of yarn influencing the resulting fabric. The pattern in which the threads are weaved together also affects the texture.
100% polyester fabric is the most common material for tackle twill. When spinning the textile, at least two yarns get wrapped around the others in a single direction. This pattern is what gives twill polyester fabrics their distinct diagonal appearance.
Tackle twill is a form of applique. A sewing technique in which different layers of fabric are sewn over each other to create patterns.
There are even reverse applique designs. Which make the materials overlap so that the decoration is inside the base fabric, rather than on top. While reverse applique is more prominent in quilting. Tackle twill tends to use the building upwards technique.
Older methods of tackle twill were done by hand or sewing machine. One letter at a time. Technological advances have allowed for more accurate and uniform designs.

When making a tackle twill design, first the fabric is cut into the desired pattern.

Plotter machines are often used to create precise images which ensure accuracy. This method is standard for professionally made products. But hand cut patterns still count.
Then stitches around the edges of the twill attach it to the garment. This part of the process can also be done electronically. Giving tackle twill a sharp and clean design. Zigzag and dotted stitch patterns are common. And they make sure that the fabric is permanently attached. Heat sealing can sometimes provide further attachment.
High gloss coatings can be put over the twill. Adding a satiny sheen or other effects. Tackle twill is also suitable for three-dimensional and multi-layered patterns. Making these requires stitching layers of twill together before attaching it to the clothing.
With the use of computer-assisted sewing machines, it is simple to create tackle twill. However, the multilayered process of design can still have a higher turnaround time when ordering than other methods. Like screen printing.


Tackle twill is appropriate for clothing use thanks to its sturdy construction. With the polyester material, tight, rigid weaving, and tight stitching. A well-applied twill design will hold to the clothes and endure through any wear and tear. Often, the twill designs outlast the fabric of apparel it’s attached to.

The high flexibility of tackle twill is another great asset. Since patterns can be formed by layering swaths of twill together. It is possible to make dynamic three-dimensional designs. Additional embroidery can help to make elaborate decorations, too.


With the variety of possibilities for tackle twill, the price can vary. The high level of durability often makes getting a tackle twill pattern cost a bit more than screen printing. However, more complex designs can come out cheaper with twill. Than with embroidery due to the more straightforward process.

Overall, the cost of tackle twill varies depending on the number of colors and the complexity of a pattern. And also if you’re ordering the twill number or nameplates vs. having the tackle twill applied to a garment.


Tackle twill is most known for its use in professional and school athletic association sports jerseys. Where the high durability fabric and stitching can endure the harsh demands of sports activity. This use also makes it accessible in replication jerseys as well, though it’s also useful for other needs:

  • Sorority/Fraternity Greek lettering
  • Logo designs
  • School Apparel
  • Custom lettering
  • Sweater and shirt designs
  • Blankets

While these uses are the most common. Most merchants that offer tackle twill for custom-made products often give free range of how you use their services. The application of digital cutting and sewing allows for great flexibility and customization.

Tackle Twill vs. Other Apparel Design Options

Tackle twill is a frequent and sought-after design solution. Especially for people seeking out authentic-style sports jerseys. However, it is not the only option available. For those trying to figure out what sort of pattern they need, here’s a short rundown of the possibilities.

Screen Printing

As mentioned, screen printing designs happen by printing a design on a polyester screen.

This method of printing is excellent for images that are closer to photograms. And replica sports jerseys often use this technique.
The most significant downside to screen printing is that. Over time, the screen is likely to wear down. With extended use and washing. The image is liable to crack. So it’s not the best choice for something to be worn a lot or that you want to last.
While screen printing is commonplace for replica sports jerseys. It often doesn’t have the authentic feel that sports enthusiasts want. There are sometimes differences in trimming positions with screened prints, too. Making tackle twill more accurate, though this varies on the source.


Tackle twill can be considered a form of embroidery. Given that it relies on stitching to attach patterns to the fabric. And can even incorporate stitching into some details of designs. This use is often seen on logos that have specific parts. That might be too small to use a piece of twill for the pictures.

However, full embroidery designs are distinct. In that, every aspect forms from threads, without any fabric swatches. This technique is most suited for smaller patterns. Such as embroidered name tags. Any detailed decoration can come together with embroidery techniques.
Unlike screen printed designs, embroidery can be washed and doesn’t wear off. While it’s durable in these aspects. Tackle twill designs last longer due to the toughness of the polyester materials.
Cost is another distinguishing factor between embroidery and tackle twill.
The price of embroidered designs comes from stitch count. With a smaller image, this won’t be much of an issue. But with comparable larger pictures. An embroidered design will be made entirely of stitch work. While tackle twill only has stitches around the connecting points. The rest is twill fabric, so the cost is lesser overall.

General Applique

Since tackle twill is a form of applique techniques, it can be easy to overlook as a distinct style.
However, applique is only considered as tackle twill if the fabric used for the pattern is twill. Any other material makes it general applique. It’s also more common to see applique used for designs and shapes.
Beyond changes in fabric choice. General applique can have different styles and patterns of stitching. Since it doesn’t use twill. These designs are less durable. But the flexibility and complexity of design are comparable. Applique still holds up better than screen printing. Though, even if it’s more suited for casual designs than apparel like replica jerseys.


Sublimation is comparable to how screen printing works. But it doesn’t require a screen to attach the image to the garment. By combining heat and dyes. The design is transferred directly onto the fabric. This process means the pigment is applied right into the clothing and can provide vibrant color options.

Since tackle twill can provide intricate designs. That same factor doesn’t give sublimation much of a notable edge.

However, sublimation is harder to damage than screen printing. And sublimated designs are fade and chip resistant. Making them suited for long-lasting uniforms.
The most significant advantage that sublimation has over tackle twill is when it comes to weight.

Tackle twill’s tough materials and stitching provide durability. But they do add heaviness to the garment. Since sublimation requires ink, it’s much lighter. So if you’re concerned about weight while wanting to sport an intricate design. Then sublimation can be a suitable option.

There you go!

We hope this article gave you insights and a clearer understanding of tackle twill.