Clothing Fabric is the material that makes up the garments we wear. It’s made from twisted fibres either natural or synthetic and it goes through a series of processes before being used to make clothes.
Calico - Plain closely woven cotton fabric calendered to achieve a high glaze. Used mainly for aprons, dresses and crazy quilts.
Wool is a natural fibre clipped from the hairs of various animals, usually sheep but also goat, camel, angora and alpaca. It is a warm and versatile fabric that is well known for its insulating properties.
It is highly resistant to dirt because of the scales that cover its outer layer. It is also hygroscopic so it absorbs water vapour and locks in sweat, protecting the body against sudden changes of temperature. Moreover, it is anti-static because it doesn’t attract dust or lint.
The fibres have a crimped structure that is what gives wool its characteristic softness and flexibility. They are also strong and elastic. Wool doesn’t shrink when wet and it is easy to shape as long as the pressure is low. In addition to this, it is fire resistant, smouldering instead of burning. It can even be self-extinguishing if the flame is removed very quickly.
Silk is a naturally lustrous fabric that feels smooth and luxurious against the skin. It is breathable and helps regulate body temperature, keeping you cool in the summer and retaining warm air close to the skin in cold weather. It is hypoallergenic and less likely to cause irritation or allergic reactions compared to synthetic fabrics.
In the fashion industry, silk is often used for shirts and blouses, dresses, lingerie, pajamas, robes, and traditional Asian garments. It is also used for accessories like scarves and hats. Silk is known for its natural sheen and has a strong tensile strength.
Originally made by silkworms, silk production can have an environmental impact due to the boiling and reeling processes that require fossil fuels. It is also expensive and requires frequent dry cleaning. However, the reusable nature of silk and its ability to resist wrinkles make it a good choice for clothing designers.
A smooth, glossy fabric with a beautiful drape, satin is suitable for a wide variety of clothing and interior decor projects. It's also often used to make wedding dresses and other elegant gowns. Its long filament fibers create a strong fabric that is more durable than plain weave fabrics. Additionally, satin is wrinkle resistant.
Satin is woven with silk, nylon, polyester, or a combination of these fibers. Some purists claim that true satin can only be made of silk, but for durability and cost-effectiveness many manufacturers use polyester or nylon thread.
The most common types of satin are charmeuse, habutae, and massaline. These are reversible, lightweight fabrics that have one side with the satin weave and the other side has a crepe texture. Poly satin is a synthetic version of this fabric. It is a bit cheaper than silk, but it does not breathe as well. It can be machine-washed, depending on the blend of fibers used, but it's best to hand wash or dry clean it.
Polyester is a man-made fabric created by Wallace Hume Carothers in the 1930s. It can be used alone or in combination with other fibers to form blended fabrics. Blends like cotton, wool, linen and terylene combine the benefits of each fiber with the ease-of-care of polyester.
Wrinkle resistant, durable and easy to dye, polyester is an extremely versatile material. It’s been used in garments from loungewear to formal eveningwear and is often found in shirts, pants and suits either by itself or as a blend.
Today, high-tech polyester microfibers are woven into fabric that feels just like silk while recycled PET polyester made from soda bottles is used to create fleece. However, polyester can have a coarse feel and is not ideal for clothing that will come into contact with the skin. It also holds onto body heat which can make it uncomfortable during active wear, and it’s not as breathable as natural fibers. It takes more than 200 years for polyester to decompose, which makes it less sustainable from an environmental standpoint.