the story of a green 3 tee shirt…

Have you ever wondered where a green 3 tee shirt comes from?
How does it come to be a tee shirt?

It’s time for you to find out!

It all begins with an idea, sometimes that idea is just a sketch or description that is turned into a screen printable design by our in house artist, here in Oshkosh, WI

Then comes the production of a tee shirt – we start with 100% organic cotton that is grown in the USA or overseas. Yes, I said overseas, and here’s the scoop on that. The land in which organic crops grow cannot be treated with herbicides or synthetic chemicals for at least 3 years before it is eligible for organic certification. Once approved, the organic crops cannot be treated with fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides or any other synthetic chemicals. This being said the demand cannot be met in the USA alone and therefore crops are also grown overseas.

Once the cotton is harvested it is sent to a 100+ year old family owned knitting mill in Minnesota to be knit and rolled into 60+ yard rolls of cloth. From there the cloth is then sent to North Carolina to be dyed into a select variety of colors that we’ve chosen for the current season. Now, it’s time to get to the tee shirt manufacturing! Once the cloth has been dyed and re-rolled it is sent to Hurley, Wisconsin where the various pieces of a tee shirt are cut out and sewn. For a tee shirt there are five pieces and seven for our double-up tees. One more trip to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where the original design is screen printed on with water based inks. Once ink is dried and set the tees are then washed – they’re pre-shrunk for you – folded and bagged. The final voyage in production – to our warehouse, less than 5 miles away, stocked and ready to be shipped all around the U.S. and Canada!
BLOG Image - the story of a green 3 tee shirt 2015

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green 3 & Disney

You may have noticed some green 3 products in Epcot in Florida as we recently partnered with Disney. You will find some American & Canadian themed merchandise made by green 3 (sweaters, scarves and handwarmers).  These knit goods are made with 75% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 25% acrylic, designed in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and knit in Binghamton, New York, by a family run business. Made in the USA!

Disney has a growing commitment to merchandise American made products. Although not all their manufacturing is done in the USA, they are committed to safe and respectful workplaces. Disney has even made a public list of all the facilities that manufacture Disney-branded products. They want to help spread the word about improving working conditions all over the world.

At green 3 we are very honored to be working with Disney and spreading the word about our environmentally friendly and made in the USA products!

Check out a couple images from Epcot!
Disney green 3 epcot 2014

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What is recycled cotton?

The process starts with pre-consumer textile waste; this ranges from errors during the weaving process to damaged/leftover finished goods – this would all normally be sent to the landfill or incinerated. The material is then ground up and re-spun into yarn. With this process there is no need to re-dye the yarn and it comes in many colors. The yarn can be used create a multitude of new products!

3 environmental benefits to recycled cotton:

  • – Recycled cotton doesn’t require land use (no watering, no new pesticides/fertilizers)
  • – Saves water & pollutants by not re-dying yarn
  • – Incinerator & landfill reduction

Green 3 offers many items in their product line that are made of recycled cotton, including hand warmers, scarves, mittens, hats, throw blankets and sweaters. All of these items are made with 75% pre-consumer recycled cotton and 25% acrylic. They are machine washable/dryable and super soft!

Recycled Cotton

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Reclaimed Denim Jeans Flag

We previously told you about a really big project we were working on with reclaimed denim pieces: a USA flag made from denim jeans. This flag has become the biggest conversation starter in our company store in Oshkosh, WI. And we wanted our online and out-of-town customers to see how it turned out too!

reclaimed jeans

reclaimed denim jeans flag

reclaimed denim jeans flag

Our USA flag made from reclaimed denim jeans

The flag has been proudly hanging in our store for a few years now and looks amazing at night when you can see it through the store windows. At least one in every ten customers who come into the store want to know the story behind the flag.

We saw a similar flag in a hotel lobby and were inspired by it. We knew that with the skill sets of our team, we could make one ourselves. The flag is approximately 8 feet by 12 feet and weighs about 100 pounds. It is made from approximately 25 pairs of reclaimed denim jeans that were split and then sewn together. After the piece was sewn, it was hand painted with the stars and stripes. After painting, the flag was antiqued by hand with tea, to give it a very vintage look.

reclaimed denim jeans

Reclaimed Denim Jeans, split, sewn, hand-painted, and antiqued with tea

reclaimed denim jeans

Our denim flag is a great symbol of two things that green 3 is passionate about:

  1. products made in the United States
  2. reusing materials that might otherwise end up discarded

What do you think of our completed project? Have you done any projects using reclaimed denim material? We’d love to see them!

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Sweater Driving

Recently, we partnered with the Oakwood Elementary School community on a Holiday sweater drive.  Green 3 is purchasing all of the sweaters Oakwood collected, with 100% of the proceeds going directly back to the Oakwood PTO.  As you most likely know, Green 3 will take those sweaters and turn them into scarves, hand warmers and even skirts.  What you may not know is that Oakwood is the environmental education charter school in our city, making their school a perfect fit for this type of initiative.

After the sweater drive wraps up we are inviting the Oakwood families to our company store for a special event.  We want to show them how are sweaters are made and what our company is about.  We love our community and are always looking for ways to connect our mission with others.  If you or someone you know would be interested in a similar event please contact

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