There are tons of fabrics out there in the market, and most of the time, we buy our clothes without caring about the materiel they are made from, except when its summer, everyone opts for cotton then.
But do you know that cotton can be substituted with so many other fabrics? Or the fact that some of the fabrics that you wear are carcinogenic?
In this article, we’re going to explore such facts about the fabrics you dress with.
The most popular fabric in the world – Cotton fabric is breathable, soft, versatile, and easy to care. Just as the name, suggests cotton fabric is obtained from cotton, which is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll (yes boll). A boll is a protective case around the cotton seeds.
The best kind of cotton is cotton having long, strong fibers that provide comfort, durability, and silky softness. Pima, Sea-Island, and Egyptian cotton are considered to be some of the finest pieces of cotton in the textile market.
Again it is a very popular textile fiber. Wool is obtained from sheep. It is 100% natural and has been appreciated for its insulating properties since the Stone Age. It is a protein fiber that is usually thick, soft, and wavy or curly in feel.
Wool needs to be processed through more than most of the other fabrics – before it becomes finally ready to wear clothing or simply a weaving yarn. Wool is highly flammable and weak and can be dyed only in 16 colors, but the combination of these colors knows no bounds.
Also, an animal fiber like wool, silk is soft, lustrous, comfortable, and a luxury fiber. Silk is obtained from the cocoons of domesticated silkworms. The best known natural silk fiber is obtained from the mulberry silkworm. Its smooth, soft texture and low availability made it a luxurious fabric seen only amongst the important and high ranking officials back in days. Today, silk is synthetically produced, however, silk produced synthetically isn’t precious.
Silk undoubtedly originated in China given the countless records which speak of the methods of obtaining silk, weaving patterns, and silk route itself. Robes, laces, and tapestries were some of the first articles made out of silk. Today, it is common materiel for high fashion brands, lingerie, robes, and as a biomedical material for suture in surgeries.
Chambray visually looks like denim but is actually not denim. Chambray is tightly woven – double-ply cotton fabric. The filler thread is white which is woven into the colored thread of the background. The fabrics are plainly woven. Plain weave makes chambray durable, rugged, and light in weight making them the perfect summer or office wear.
Chambray is available in many colors, but it mostly exists in blue. It appears slightly faded, given the white thread woven into it.
Chambray has long been used for making clothing such as shirts, skirts, shorts, summer clothing, and even sneakers. It is also used in home décor items such as curtains, pillows, mats, and upholstery, but recently given its rugged properties chambray has been used to make dairy and journal skins.
Linen is 2-3 times stronger than cotton. It is porous in nature and has moisture-wicking properties making it a popular choice in bedding during winters. Linen holds dye colors better than any other material, and hence, it is available in any color imaginable.
This sustainable fabric is obtained from the flax plant – a food and fiber crop that is grown in the cooler regions of the world.
Linen has been a popular fabric ever since its cultivation 6000 years ago for its anti-bacterial properties, making it a first choice for making bandages. Such was its preciousness that Egyptians used to wrap their carefully preserved mummies with it.
Nylon is a polymer fabric meaning it is a synthetic fabric formulated in labs that contain long chains of carbon compounds called monomers. They were created in the United States, first, as a substitute for the expensive silk. Although it became quickly unavailable to civilians, it was used extensively in World War II.
Ever since its release in the 1930s, it was marketed as durable, indestructible, and comfortable. It was a huge success. American DuPont Corporation – the inventor of nylon first put out nylon as a nylon-bristled toothbrush. It was then released as women’s stocking. Such was its popularity that when companies fell short of producing nylon commercially, women tore up tents and parachutes from the wars to make their wedding dresses and stockings.
Jersey fabric is soft, breathable, and absorbing. It drapes the body so well that it feels like a second skin. Jersey is a knit fabric predominantly made for clothing manufacture, out of wool earlier, but now is made out of cotton, wool, and synthetic fibers.
Jersey is lightweight, stretchable, and used to make t-shirts. Interlock jersey is used to make polo shirts, and it makes an excellent choice for draped garments such a women’s dresses and tops.
It was first developed in Jersey, the Channel Islands in the medieval times, and ever since then it has been the important exporter of the jersey.
This man-made product is made out of synthetic polyacrylonitrile polymer. It is a fossil fuel-based fiber since it is made by reacting petroleum with or coal-based chemicals with a variety of monomers.
Though it is not highly breathable, it has high heat retention and stretchable properties. Hence, it is used to make athletic shirts, trousers, and hoodies.
Common uses include lenses, paint, security barriers, acrylic nails, medical devices, LCD screens, and furniture. Because of its clarity, it is also used for windows, tanks, and enclosures around exhibits.
Vinyl fabric is chemically synthesized. It is obtained from ethylene, which is derived from natural gas and chlorine. It is a durable, easy to clean plastic material, which is often used outdoors as a table cloth, a shower curtain. It comes in many designs and colors.
When it comes to being used as adornment fabric, vinyl is used to make raincoats and tote bags.
Despite being named as fleece, this fleece fiber is 100 % man-made- a synthetic fiber that is soft durable and most importantly eco-friendly. Fleece is derived from polyester. The polyester is woven into a light fabric that is brushed to help the fibers increase in volume.
Fleece is highly eco-friendly since it is derived from polyester, which in turn is derived from plastic. It is made from recycled products, be it plastic bottles or any other kind of plastic. Fleece is very popular since its lightweight, warm, moisture resistant, making it an ideal fabric for extreme weather conditions or sportswear.
Originally made from carded wool or worsted yarn, flannel is a soft woven fabric, but is now made from either wool, cotton or synthetic fabric. It makes light clothing materiel which may be brushed for extra softness or remain unbrushed.
Flannel is breathable, however, this property depends on the constituent material. For its high moisture-wicking properties, it became popular in sports, especially cricket, in which it was used extensively until the late 1970s.
Today flannel is used to make bed sheets, blankets, comfy quilts, children wear, diapers, and sleepwear.
Poplin is a tightly woven – plain weave fabric of cotton fiber and occasional combination of cotton and wool and cotton and silk. It has a distinctive ribbed texture and luster, which is a result of the tight weave. Ever since it was first made, poplin became a popular pick for women’s dresses as it is a perfect ‘weave’ of elegance and durability.
It is comfortable and stylish and much versatile than most other fabrics, which is why even today poplin remains one of the first choices when it comes to making skirts, blouses, trousers, jackets you name it.
A strong, wrinkle, and tear-resistant, and less shrinking man-made fabric polyester is a category of polymer which has ester as the main function group.
Not highly fire-resistant, this fabric is used to make apparel and home furnishings, from shirts and pants to jackets and hats, bed sheets, blankets, upholstered furniture, and computer mouse mats.