Manufactured fabrics are usually made of filaments extruded as liquid and formed into various fibers. Because many fibers start as a liquid, many of them are colored before they become filament. This makes the difficult to dye after the fiber is woven into a fabric.
ACETATE is not a strong fiber but can be extruded into fibers of different diameter and woven into fabrics that have the luxurious look of silk but do not wear like silk. Acetate does not absorb moisture readily but dries fast and resists shrinking. This is a resilient fabric that resists wrinkling in addition to being pliable and soft with a good drape. Tri-acetate is an improved acetate fabric which doesn´t melt easily and is easier to care for. Remember, acetate in nail polish and nail polish remover will melt acetate as will alcohol so take care with perfumes and nail products including SuperGlue.
ACRYLIC is a fine soft and luxurious fabric with the bulk and hand of wool. Light weight and springy, this fabric is non-allergenic, dries quickly, draws moisture away from the body and is washable. Acrylic will not take even a moderate amount of heat. Mod-acrylics are used in pile fabrics like fake fur and are more flame resistant.
LASTEX is an elastic fiber made from Latex. It is most often used with other fibers to create fabrics such as Spandex and foundation garments. Lastex will deteriorate after repeated washing and drying, losing its elasticity.
NYLON became a household word in 1940 when it was knitted into hosiery. In 1942 it was called into service for the armed forces use in parachutes, flak vests, combat uniforms, tires and many other vital military uses. Until the war was over nylon was not available to the public. Nylon became one of the most versatile fibers of the man-made fabrics. In addition to hosiery, nylon is used in tricot, netting for bridal veils, and in carpeting. Nylon is stronger yet weighs less than any other commonly used fiber. It is elastic and resilient and responsive to heat setting. Nylon fibers are smooth, non-absorbent and dry quickly. Dirt doesn´t cling to this smooth fiber nor is it weakened by chemicals and perspiration. Extensive washing and drying in an automatic dryer can eventually cause piling. Nylon whites should be washed separately to avoid graying. This fabric may yellow so it should be bleached frequently with sodium perborate bleach. Nylon melts at high temperatures. If ironing is necessary, always use a low temperature on the wrong side.
Polyester is manufactured in many weights including fiber-fill used in pillows and upholstery. Threads spun from polyester fibers are strong, wear exceptionally well, and are used extensively in home sewing and manufactured sewing.
RAYON from cellulose, has many of the qualities of cotton, a natural cellulose fiber. Rayon is strong, extremely absorbent, comes in a variety of qualities and weights, and can be made to resemble natural fabrics. Rayon does not melt but burns at high temperatures. Rayon drapes well, has a soft, silky hand, and has a smooth, napped, or bulky surface. Rayon will wrinkle easily and may stretch when wet and shrink when washed. Technological advancements to the rayon process have produced high wet modulus [HWM] rayons such as Lyocell and Modal which makes fabric less prone to stretch when damp or wet. Washable rayon will state the care on the fabric label. Like silk, if you pre-wash rayon fabric prior to construction of the garment, you have a washable garment.
Here is a Glossary of Rayon Fabrics
- Fibranne is a French term for Viscose rayon.
- Velvet, although made from silk, is most often produced from the rayon fiber.
- SPANDEX is an elastic type fiber that can be stretched many times its length and then spring back to the original length. Spandex is more resistant to washing, perspiration, and heat than latex. Spandex is used in foundation garments and hosiery.
Other commonly asked questions about Fabrics and their Features
- What is Micro Suede?
- What is two-fold or two-ply cloth?
- What is Dormieul?
- What are Super 100s, 110s, 120s, 130s, 150s, and 180s?
- What is the Designer Brand Collections?
- What is Seersucker?
- What is ply?
- What is yarn size?
- What is thread count?
- What is a Burn Test? How do I test a fabric?
- What is hemp fiber and jute?
- What are weaves and how are they different from fabrics?
- What is cotton? What are its uses?
- What is wool? What are the different kinds of wool and their advantages?
- What kind of cloth is linen and what material is it composed of?
- What is Glen Plaid?
- What is Vicuna Wool?
- What are natural fibers made from? What is a natural fiber?