Fabrics which are used by the textile industries to make apparels and other furnishing materials can be broadly divided into two categories viz., natural and synthetic. Natural fabrics are derived from animal coats, plant seeds, stems and leaves, and silkworm cocoons. The fabrics which are derived from plants are cotton, linen, jute and ramie. All these fabrics possess certain unique physical properties, for example cotton is the perfect material to make undergarments and sportswear and summer apparels as it is extremely breathable. There are some popular fabrics which are drawn from the hair, skin and other body parts of certain animals also. The most widely used protein-fiber fabrics used in clothing are silk and wool. However, synthetic fabrics like nylon, rayon and polyester are also getting equally popular these days. Understanding and identifying these fabrics can be quite a task to master. To assist you in the endeavor, here is a detailed account of most commonly used fabrics and their nature as well as their sources.
Different Types Of Fabrics
Fabrics Derived From Animals
Angora can be divided into two types. One is Mohair, which is derived from the Angora goat. The other is Angora Rabbit Hair which is made from the fur of Angora rabbit. Generally, Angora rabbit hair is known as Angora and the fiber derived from Angora goat is known as Mohair. The wool which is derived from the rabbits is extremely light, soft and somewhat silky in texture. It keeps your body much warmer than common wool and thus makes for fine winter wear. As a very small quantity of fiber can be drawn from angora rabbits, the angora fabrics often come blended with other fibers.
This fabric is extremely expensive and is commonly referred to as the fiber of Kings. The major suppliers of cashmere fabric include China, Mongolia, Tibet, Turkey, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Australia and New Zealand. These fabrics are light, soft and extremely warm.
Wool is the most popular fabric in clothing and other home furnishings. Wools are light, cozy and wrinkle free. These are also highly durable and possess great elasticity. Merino wool is the finest wool which is derived from Merino sheep. Nowadays, wools are used to make a wide variety of textile products.
The protein fiber of silk mainly constitutes of fibroin which is secreted from the silkworm larva. Silks are lustrous and exude white or cream color. Silk can quite easily be dyed but exposure to sunlight can make it loose the color.
Fabrics From Plants
Cotton is one of the most commonly used fabrics in the world and is derived from the cotton plant. Cottons are extremely comfy and make for great fabric for summer apparels. Apart from apparels, cotton fibers are also used in home furnishings, medical and surgical accessories as well as in automobile décor.
This plant fiber is derived from the stalks of the flax plants. Linen is the strongest fiber derived from plants. The best feature of this fabric, apart from its strength, is that is can be dyed quite easily. Fabrics made from linen are extremely comfy and posses a natural lightness and luster. However, it is very prone to wrinkles and possesses low elasticity.
The jute fibre is extremely soft, yet strong. Fabrics made of jute are commonly used to make items such as bags, painting canvas, ropes, jute yarn, sacks, twine and backings for carpets. They, when mixed with other fabrics, also make for durable apparels.
Ramie fiber, commonly referred to as china grass, is one of the sturdiest plant fibres. Fabric derived from Ramie fiber is white in color and has a great natural luster which makes it highly popular. It possesses high absorbing properties and its strength increases manifold particularly when it’s wet. However, it is much more prone to breakage as compared to other fabrics. It is commonly available blended with other fibers like cotton or wool.
Nylon is a synthetic version of silk. This particular fabric is light, strong and extremely durable. Nylon is the sturdiest manmade fiber and is used to make a number of furnishing items apart from apparels.
Polyester is one of the strongest fabrics, with low elasticity and is highly resistant to shrinkage and stretching. This fabric is highly durable and can be washed quite conveniently. This fabric can be mixed with cotton and wool and is widely used to make clothing and home furnishing items.
There is a wide variety of fabrics which have been used to make clothing and other furnishing items. Aforementioned is all the necessary information on different types of fabrics. Hope it helps you the next time you go shopping!