Sustainable Fabrics

Fabrics In Fashion Design

Introduction To Sustainable Fabric

Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. Sustainable fashion concerns more than addressing fashion textiles or products. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. This means dealing with interdependent social, cultural, ecological and financial systems. It also means considering fashion from the perspective of many stakeholders – users and producers, all living species, contemporary and future dwellers on earth. Sustainable fashion, therefore, belongs to and is the responsibility of, citizens, public sector and private sector. A key example of the need for systems thinking in fashion is that the benefits of product-level initiatives, such as replacing one fibre type for a less environmentally harmful option, is eaten up by increasing volumes of fashion products. An adjacent term to sustainable fashion is eco-fashion.

HANDWOVEN FABRICS

You might be wondering, how do handwoven fabrics fit in with sustainability? Handwoven fabrics are made by hand using a handloom, which does not require electricity or produce any pollution. In addition, the lack of automation presents weavers with many more opportunities to reduce waste and engage in sustainable practices.

At Dag Dai, we take this a few steps further to make our handwoven fabrics even more environmentally friendly. Our process is dedicated to preserving the environment through the use of natural energy, waste reduction, and water reduction. Our artisans wash fabrics by hand in local waterways, dry them in the sun, and use any leftover pieces for other handicrafts or accessories.

As a fair-trade company, Dag Dai also creates a sustainable environment for our workers. All of our clothing is made by fair trade artisans, which means we pay them fair wages, offer them stable employment with time off and other benefits, and ensure they are working in safe, healthy, empowering conditions. These opportunities permeate our artisans’ communities as they spend their profits in their local economies, start their own businesses, and share their skills. This leads to sustainable societies and a better world for all of us, even the most disadvantaged.

Due to their intricacy and lack of use by mainstream, fast-fashion retailers, many people have questions about handwoven fabrics. And we have the answers!

DO HANDWOVEN FABRICS SHRINK?

Compared to knitted fabrics, woven fabrics are much more stable when it comes to shrinking and do not react as severely to stresses. A small amount of shrinking is still possible, so if you’re concerned about shrinking, we recommend using cold water and laying flat to dry.

ARE HANDWOVEN FABRICS STRETCHY?

Unlike synthetic-based knit fabrics, which are made from one continuous thread and stretch all over, woven fabrics only stretch diagonally—or as we say in the sewing world, on the bias—giving them enough flexibility to be comfortable while still feeling sturdy and looking fit.

ARE HANDWOVEN FABRICS COMFORTABLE?

Of course, comfort is subjective and largely depends on the materials being used and the wearer’s preferences. That being said, many of our customers have commented on how soft and comfortable our handwoven cotton fabrics feel.

DO HANDWOVEN FABRICS ITCH?

This depends on your sensitivity and on the materials being used, but handwoven fabrics are no itchier than any other fabrics. At Passion Lilie, our handwoven cotton fabrics do not itch. Handwoven fabrics also tend to breathe much better than polyester and other synthetic fabrics, making them more comfortable.

ORGANIC HEMP

It seems like hemp is everywhere at the moment. Marijuana’s ‘sober cousin’ is extremely versatile: it’s used as a food, a building material, in cosmetics, and it has been cultivated and used for hundreds of years as a fabric.

The great thing about hemp is that it’s grown all around the world and it requires very little water, no pesticides, and naturally fertilises the soil it grows in – making it much better for the environment than other crops.

One of the oldest fibres in the world, hemp helps keep you warm in winter and cool in summer and gets softer the more you wash it. For all these reasons, we also consider hemp one of the most sustainable fabrics out there.

ORGANIC LINEN

Linen is another natural fibre we’ve been growing for centuries. Similar to hemp, it’s derived from a very versatile crop: the flax plant. Linen requires minimal water and pesticides and even grows in poor-quality soil. Plus, every part of the plant is used, so nothing is wasted. Linen is strong, naturally moth resistant, and, when untreated (i.e. not dyed), fully biodegradable. In addition to being good for the planet, it is also light and can withstand high temperatures, absorbing moisture without holding bacteria. What’s not to like?

Natural, sustainable fabrics have the advantage of being biodegradable and avoid using the plastics that go hand in hand with the fossil fuel industry. Not every natural fabric has made the list, however, with bamboo, wool and leather bringing their own complex issues which mean we’re cautious about recommending them outright.

Fashion is all about innovation, so what is the industry doing to create new sustainable fabrics? 

PINATEX

When it comes to vegan leather alternatives, Piñatex is the material to look out for. This futuristic material made from pineapple leaf fibre and manufactured by Ananas Anam was featured in Vogue in 2017! Who knew pineapple food you can also wear?

Not only is it a cruelty-free replacement for leather, but it is also natural and sustainable. As Piñatex is made from a food by-product, it reduces waste and helps the farming communities that grow the fruit!

 

TENCEL

A GUIDE TO TENCEL FABRIC

This shirt is 100% Tencel, you say? Well, what in the world is that?

Don’t worry: you’re not the only one wondering. Touted as softer, stronger, and more breathable than cotton, it’s worth asking: What is Tencel fabric? Wonder no more.

WHAT IS TENCEL FABRIC?

Tencel fabric has been around longer than you may have realized: the technology was first developed back in 1972. But, its popularity has spread dramatically in recent years with the rise in environmentally conscious clothing brands and the ever-increasing demand for comfort in apparel. Interestingly, Tencel is actually a branded version of a fibre called lyocell. A sub-type of rayon, lyocell fibres are made from cellulose found in wood pulp.

 
WHO INVENTED TENCEL?

The process used to create lyocell (later to be branded, Tencel) was originally developed in 1972 by a now-defunct fibres facility in Enka, North Carolina. Their process development, however, was awarded the Henry E. Millson Award for Invention in 2003 by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. After the closure of the Enka facility, a company called Courtaulds Fibres in the UK furthered the development of lyocell through the 1980s, ultimately creating Tencel. In 1990, the Courtaulds Fibre rayon factory in Mobile, Alabama, was home to the first commercialization of the Tencel process. The company – and its Tencel division – changed hands a couple of times until the Tencel division was eventually purchased by Lenzing AG in 2000. Lenzing combined Tencel with their existing “Lenzing Lyocell,” but kept the Tencel brand name.

HOW IS TENCEL FABRIC MADE?

The cellulose fibre that comprises lyocell is made from dissolving wood pulp using a variant of wet spinning called “dry jet-wet spinning.” Spinning is the process used for creating polymer fibres. There are five methods of spinning, and of the five, wet spinning is the oldest. Wet spinning is used for polymers like rayon and spandex that need to be dissolved in a solvent to be spun. In the dry jet-wet spinning variation used to create lyocell, dry wood pulp is combined with a solvent to produce a wet mixture. The pulp is then pushed (extruded) through a die of small holes to create threads. The threads are drawn into dry air and then chemically treated by submerging into a liquid bath. Finally, the threads are spun into yarn, and the yarn is woven into a fabric.

WHAT IS TENCEL’S ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT?

While the production of Tencel certainly has both positive and negative effects on the environment (as with any textile), Tencel is regarded as more environmentally friendly than other fabrics. As a fibre derived from natural sources, Tencel is biodegradable. The Tencel brand of lyocell fibre is made from eucalyptus trees which, according to the Natural Resource Defense Council, do not require pesticides or irrigation. According to Lenzing AG, they “can grow enough trees for a ton of Tencel on half an acre of forestland that is unsuitable for farming.” (According to the Natural Resource Defence Council, cotton needs up to five times that in high-quality farmland.) Lenzing also says they source materials from “certified and controlled sources like sustainably managed plantations.” 

Tencel production utilizes a closed-loop production process they’ve created called REFIBRA™ technology. In this closed-loop system, 99% of the chemical solvents used in production are recovered and recycled back into the system, minimizing waste and emissions. The process also includes the upcycling of cotton scraps (pre-consumer waste from garment production) in addition to the wood pulp sourced from certified sustainable forestry. Lenzing AG received the European Award for the Environment for developing the process.

On the flip side, Tencel fabric is mixed with conventional dyes, which can be harmful to the environment. However, comparatively, Tencel (lyocell) requires less dye than cotton. Additionally, the main environmental concern regarding Tencel fabric production is the energy required for the process. Lenzing reports they are working to improve this area, developing programs for greater energy efficiency, including their “biorefinery” concept. At their most integrated production plants, energy requirements are covered from the bioenergy derived from wood. After extracting the needed raw materials from the wood to make the fibre, they can use what remains to produce energy and electricity to run the process. At less- or non-integrated plants, energy needs are met using natural gas and small amounts of coal. According to Lenzing, “We are continually working on improvements with regard to our energy needs through technological measures and aim to reduce the use of fossil fuels to a minimum.”

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT TENCEL?

Okay, let’s get to the good stuff — what makes Tencel fabric so special? Does it smell like eucalyptus trees? Well, unfortunately, your Tencel blouse will not carry the scent of eucalyptus. But, it will offer many other valuable benefits:

SOFT + STRONG

Tencel fabric is most known for how it feels: exceptionally soft on the skin, while also strong and durable (whether wet or dry).

MORE BREATHING + ABSORBING

Tencel stands out as an extremely breathable and absorbent fabric. The result: garments that feel cool and dry.

LESS SHRINKING + FADING + WRINKLING

Additional favourite Tencel features include its resistance to shrinking and fading, and it is less prone to wrinkling than some other fabrics.

WHAT TYPES OF CLOTHING USE TENCEL FABRIC?

A fantastic alternative to synthetics, Tencel fabric is ideal for activewear. “Absorbs moisture,” “breathable,” and “soft” are high-demand features in any activewear. Tencel garments check those boxes and add strong and durable to the list as well. 

Not only does this texture feel good on the body, but it also looks good too. Garments made of Tencel fabric are generally very flattering and drape beautifully on the body. This makes Tencel a fantastic choice for shirts and blouses. Consider this 100% Tencel women’s denim shirt. It has a more soft and airy feel than you would expect from a traditional denim shirt, and the Tencel fabric means the shirt’s relaxed fit drapes well to create a flattering silhouette.

So, what is Tencel fabric? An impressive alternative to other fabrics – synthetic and otherwise – and produced using an environmentally-conscious process, this fabric offers a fascinating story, if nothing else. Turning wood pulp into fabric!? Technically those lyocell fibres aren’t made of magic, but we wouldn’t be surprised to hear it.

 

ECONYL

Another recycled fabric we really like is Econyl. This fibre, created by Italian firm Aquafil, uses synthetic waste such as industrial plastic, waste fabric, and fishing nets from the ocean, then recycles and regenerates them into a new nylon yarn that is exactly the same quality as nylon.

This regeneration system forms a closed-loop, uses less water, and creates less waste than traditional nylon production methods. Waste is collected, then cleaned and shredded, depolymerised to extract nylon, polymerised, transformed into yarn, and then re-commercialised into textile products. Econyl is a promising fibre, far more sustainable than nylon.

We should caution that traditional washing of Econyl can still shed plastic microparticles that can end up in the ocean. So with this product, it’s best to go with seldom-washed items like sneakers or pick yourself up a Guppy Bag.

QMONOS

spiders aren’t just tiny (or, in Australia, huge) and sometimes scary arachnids – they’re also a great source of inspiration for sustainable fashion. In fact, Qmonos, synthetic spider silk, has recently been developed through the fusion of spider silk genes and microbes. The fibre is said to be five times stronger than steel, the toughest fibre in nature while being very lightweight, more flexible than nylon, and entirely biodegradable.

No spiders are farmed or harmed in the manufacturing process, making Qmonos a more sustainable and ethical alternative to silk and nylon.

At Good On You, we always recommend you check a brand before you buy from it. Look for transparency and if the brand is giving information about the fabrics it uses, where they’re sourced from, and how they’re handled. It’s also important to consider the working conditions and manufacturing when thinking about the sustainability of a fabric. Be sure to choose brands that are transparent and open to ensure you’re making the most ethical choice. And when in doubt, know that buying second-hand is almost always the most sustainable option.

ERI SILK

Eri Silk comes from the caterpillar of Samia ricini, found in northeast India and some parts of China, Japan. It was imported to Thailand in 1974. The name “Eri” is derived from the Assamese word “era”, which means “castor”, as the silkworm feeds on castor plants. Another type of Eri silk is “Ailanthus silkmoth”, refers to the host plant, Borkesseu, Ailanthus excelsa, practised in China. Eri silk is also known as endi or errand in India. The woolly white silk is often referred to as the fabric of peace when it is processed without killing the silkworm. This process results in silk called Ahimsa silk. Moths leave the cocoon and then the cocoons are harvested to be spun. The eri silkworm is the only completely domesticated silkworm other than Bombyx mori.

Process

Eri caterpillars eat a number of plants, including Kesseru. In India, it is grown in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and some small cities in other states. It has been grown in 28 provinces of Thailand since 1974  and The heavy rainfall and humid atmosphere of the region suit the eri culture. The spun threads are often more “cottony” than most Bombyx silks, although some eri yarns can be very soft and shiny. After 30–32 days, the silkworm crawls in search of a comfortable place among the leaves to spin its cocoon.

In Thailand, eri silkworms are fed cassava leaves as well as castor leaves.

Eri silk fabric is a boon for those who practice absolute non-violence, not using any product obtained by killing any animal. It is widely used by everyone in the regions in which it is produced. It is becoming popular the world over. Buddhist monks in India, Bhutan, Nepal, China, and Japan prefer this silk, due to its non-violent origins.

In India, eri was mostly used for the preparation of winter shawls for men and women. The thermal properties of Eri silk make it a suitable fabric for shawls, jackets, blankets, and bedspreads. Dress materials and baby dresses are also made from eri silk fabric because of its soft texture and moisture absorbent quality. Nowadays very fine (up to 210 Nm eri spun yarns are available, which enables weavers to weave very fine clothing, including traditional sari dress materials.

Eri silk is durable and strong and has a typical texture; hence, it is widely used in home furnishing like curtains, bed covers, cushion covers, wall hangings, quilts, etc. Its woolly feel adds to the comfort.

Two eri spun-silk mills have been established in Hindupur in Andhra Pradesh and Kokrajhar in Assam while another is at Chaygaon, near Guwahati, Assam, which is spinning the finest Eri spun-silk yarn with various blends with bamboo, Muga silk, and cotton.

Eri silk products are promoted as eco-friendly and natural and provide jobs and money for the tribal peoples who practice eri culture.

Eri silk production in India during 2007–2008 was 1,530 tons. This made up 73 per cent of the total wild silk production of 2,075 tons.

Vegan designer Lucy Tammam uses eri silk in her couture evening and bridal wear collections

CORK

Cork Fabric, also called “cork leather” is simply just cork manufactured to leather. Some of the advantages of this so-called cork leather are the lightness, water resistance, softness and quiet lasting a lifetime. Cork is 100% natural and vegan, most of its production is in Europe/Portugal. This is also where you can find most suppliers. Big Brands like Calvin Klein, Prada, Stella McCartney, Louboutin, Michael Kors, Gucci etc. work with this material. They mostly use it for handbags and shoes but the cork trend is getting bigger and many new products appear on the market.

Production process

First of all, you have to know that a cork tree takes 25 years to become big enough to be harvested. The cork oak, the so-called Quercus suber, grows mainly in Portugal, where it can grow up to 20 meters high. With approximately 2,200,000 hectares of cork forest worldwide (34% in Portugal and 27% in Spain), the annual production is about 200,000 tonnes.

From an age of 25 years, when the tree has a circumference of about 60 cm, the cork (bark) is deducted for the first time. After harvesting the cork, the tree usually needs several years to recreate the cork. Therefore, this process of harvesting is repeated only after every 9 years. With a lifetime of about 300 years already a considerable amount of cork. Basically, it can be said that the first two harvests are qualitatively weaker.

The workers who specialize in removing the cork are called extractors. When harvesting is done with a very sharp axe, a horizontal cut at a height of 2-3 times the tree circumference. Followed by several vertical cuts to remove the cork from the tree. With the axe cut, the extractor takes great care not to damage the underlying phellogen and thus the tree.

The boards are usually removed by hand, as cork forests are rarely accessible to vehicles. After harvesting the cork is stacked in the factory or the forest and allowed to dry traditionally. The cork gets air-dried for six months. After that, it can be loaded onto a truck and transported to a processor. Once there, it gets cooked and steamed to make the fabric even more elastic. Heat and pressure are applied to the cork to press it into blocks that are later cut into thin slices that can be turned into a variety of wonderful cork leather accessories. In contrast to the heavy chemical processing of leather, the production of cork leather is 100% free of chemicals.

If one thinks of cork, one usually has the picture in mind, that this material easily crumbles or tears, but this is not the case with cork fabric. Through the manufacturing process, this material is extremely flexible, thin and of leather or fabric-like structure. In this condition, the cork fabric can be processed into a various fashion accessory. It behaves in the processing similar to leather and can thus be used many times.

Many manufacturers dye the cork fabric or print samples etc. onto the finished material and thus create unique designs.

Cork products

At first, cork was used for wine bottle stoppers, cricket balls, bulletin boards etc. After finding out how to make cork or leather from wood, the fashion industry became more attentive to this material. There are now several usages for cork fabric leather. For example: 
 
  • Handbags
  • Purses
  • Wallets
  • Watches
  • Clothes
  • Accessories
  • Furniture
  • Yoga mats
  • Shoes
  • Wallcovering 

Is Cork fabric sustainable?

The cork industry is generally considered to be environmentally friendly and its production is considered to be generally sustainable, as the tree “only” bark is removed to harvest the cork. To make the harvest even more environmentally friendly, cork is only harnified from the beginning of May until the end of August, as the cork can be separated from the tree more easily and gently at this time. 

When the aged tree is removed after 200 years of life, two new seedlings are planted in its place to ensure that the cork forest continues to thrive and expand. The cork oak also proliferates naturally by dropping acorns that sow themselves and mature into productive trees. The tree lives and grows. Furthermore, cork products can be easily recycled due to natural products without chemicals. 

Furthermore, in a study by Corticeira Amorim, it was shown that with respect to the emission of greenhouse gases every artificial material releases 10 times more CO2.

Of course, it is fundamentally sustainable if the tree reproduces the cork again every 9 years and lives up to 300 years. However, although the cork is gently cut from the trees, I see the harvest as quite a strain on the trees and quite a bit of intervention in nature. The tree needs 9-13 years to rebuild its protective layer, which protects it from drying out, fungus and insects, to then be harvested again.

Certainly, cork is much more sustainable than animal leather, but there are other alternatives that are even more sustainable than cork. If a vegetable leather replaces animal leather to a very large extent, I see cork clearly behind Piñatex or wine leather

Bamboo

There are over 1000 species of bamboo. This amazing plant grows in tropical and temperate environments and is very hardy, not needing pesticides or herbicides to grow well. It is a type of grass and grows from it’s roots, when it is cut it quickly grows back with most species maturing in 3-5 years.

Some facts about the sustainability of bamboo are:

  • It is grown without pesticides or chemical fertilisers
  • It requires no irrigation
  • It rarely needs replanting
  • It grows rapidly and can be harvested in 3-5 years
  • It produces 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees
  • It sequesters carbon dioxide and is carbon neutral
  • It is a critical element in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
  • It is an excellent soil erosion inhibitor
  • It grows in a wide range of environments
  • Its production into fibres has a lower environmental impact than other forms of fibre, especially synthetic ones.

The uses of bamboo

Houses, schools and other buildings

According to UNESCO, 70 hectares of bamboo produces enough material to build 1000 houses. If timber was used instead, it would require the felling of trees from an already diminishing forest. Today, over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses.

Roads and bridges

It is being used in road reinforcements in India and it is also used in bridges built in China, capable of supporting trucks that weigh as much as 16 tons.

Medicines

In China, ingredients from the black bamboo shoot help treat kidney diseases. Roots and leaves have also been used to treat venereal diseases and cancer. According to reports in a small village in Indonesia, water from the culm (the side branches) is used to treat diseases of the bone effectively.

Clothes

It’s the new hemp, it can be made into a strong and durable fabric a bit like canvas and can be made into all sorts of clothes. Additionally, bamboo fabric is breathable, thermal regulating, wicks moisture better than polyester performance fabrics, will resist odour and is absorbent and fast drying keeping you dryer and more comfortable than any cotton or polyester fabrics. Beware though: it is also made into Rayon in a chemical process that is unsustainable.

Accessories

It is also used to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and other types of jewellery.

Food

Shoots are used mainly in Asian food preparations. In Japan, the antioxidant properties of the bamboo skin prevent bacterial growth and are used as natural food preservatives.

Fuel

Charcoal made from this amazing plant has been used for centuries as cooking fuel in China and Japan. The Bamboo vinegar or pyroligneous acid is extracted when making charcoal and is used for hundreds of treatments in almost all fields. This liquid contains 400 different chemical compounds and can be applied for many purposes including cosmetics, insecticides, deodorants, food processing, and agriculture.

Scaffolding

It is often used for scaffolding because it proves to be an eco-friendly and cost-effective resource. In Hong Kong, bamboo scaffolding is preferred over metal scaffolding because it’s easily available and cheaper.

Furniture

Beautiful and intricately crafted beds, chairs and tables are made from bamboo.

Rugs and textiles

Exotic woods like the mango are often used in Oriental rugs. Buying a bamboo rug will ensure that you save a tree.

Paper

Pulps are mainly produced in China, Myanmar, Thailand and India, and are used in printing and writing papers.

Nappies

According to Japanese scientists, the bamboo cloth can retain its antibacterial quality even after 50 items of washing.

Utensils and tableware

Cups and saucers, spoons and ladles can all be made from this incredibly versatile material.

The list is endless…

Musical instruments, fishing rods, bicycles, helmets, toys…

RECYCLED LEATHER

Leather manufacturing industries generate an alarming amount of solid wastes. On average, it’s around 50% of the initial raw material. 

The process of making leather into a workable and versatile material involves large amounts of water and toxic chemicals. If disposed of incorrectly, leather can contaminate the earth and produce harmful gases. 

By recycling and reusing leather scrap and offcuts, this reduces the demand for virgin leather and the harmful production process it requires. Leather scraps can be collected from furniture, bags, shoes and old garments. 

This leather is then mulched into shreds, combined with water and then mixed with binding products such as natural rubber and wood bark. The leather pulp is then formed into a sheet and mechanically processed to a specific size, colour and even texture.  

Whole leather scraps can be manufactured into smaller accessories such as bags, belts and wallets. 

 

 

RECYCLED COTTON

We can define as recycled cotton the transformation of cotton fabric into cotton fibres that can be reused in new textile products and fashion articles. This cotton is also known as reclaimed or regenerated cotton.

The sources of recycled cotton.

There are two primary sources that generate recycled cotton from textiles:

Post-industrial or Pre-consumer: These are the remains of yarns and fabrics that are discarded in the process of cutting and making clothing, home textiles and other fashion accessories.

Post-consumption: includes garments, upholstery, towels, used household items, whose cotton fibres will be reused in the development of a new product.

The largest amount of recycled cotton is generated through pre-consumer waste. What originates from post-consumption is much more difficult to classify and reprocess due to the variety of colours involved, the mix of fibres that make up the fabric, the rest of the raw materials and accessories present in the garments and it is a process that involves more work and a higher cost.

The objective is to obtain (“recycle”) fibre from the fabric.

Regenerated cotton is produced through a recycling process that is mostly mechanical. In the first step, fabrics and materials are sorted by colour. After this separation, the fabrics go through a machine that shreds the fabric into yarn and then into the crude fibre. In this part of the process, a lot of tension is put on the fibre; during this shredding process, it is very easy for the fibres to break and become entangled. The raw fibre obtained is spun back into bobbins to be reused in the production of other garments and accessories. The quality of the recycled fibre obtained by this process will never get the same quality values as the original fibre. Specifically, the length of the fibre and its uniformity are affected; this limits its application, its end use and creates the need to mix it with other fibres.

We list the benefits and also the challenges that arise with the use of recycled cotton.

Benefits.

It has the potential to greatly reduce water and energy consumption in the fashion industry. The amount of water needed is less than the amount used to grow and generate virgin cotton | Many products are diverted from what would be their inevitable and ultimate destination, landfills | Recycled cotton can be given new life in many different elements, simple to use or with a low level of complexity, such as insulation, mop heads, cleaning rags, padding, etc.

Challenges.

The final composition of the fabric containing recycled cotton will depend on its final use. And according to this, it must be mixed with another fibre (e.g. polyester) to improve it as the process affects the properties of the fibre, such as length, uniformity and resistance | It cannot be recycled continuously | The test and trial instruments are specified for ginned, virgin cotton. Then, the test results can be biased due to the difference in packaging and orientation of the fibre | The possibility of contamination with other fibers is much greater for regenerated cotton | Savings in CO2 emissions and fossil fuels can be partially offset by the use of existing materials. However, the collection, processing, and shipping of fabric or clothing scraps for recycling can reduce or neutralize in whole or in part some of these savings.

Industry and fashion brands efforts to recycle.

Today, there are many globally recognized fashion brand recycling initiatives that have projects within their own stores and shopping centres. Many others encourage consumers to bring their used clothing to be reused-recycled. Some of these projects include consumer benefits, such as coupons for discounts or points for future purchases.

 

 

Introduction To Fashion Fabrics

Fashion design is a form of art, which involves the creation of clothing and other lifestyle accessories. Designer apparel was famous from the day of its introduction, but recently we have seen an overwhelming rise in popularity from this industry. Nowadays, people value fashion more than ever before and always love to wear clothes that can make them look extra stylish. Not only fashion makes them look good, but it also gives them a sense of confidence through which they feel they can conquer the world. That’s why; the power of fashion can never be underestimated. 

Generally, clothing is indicated by the latest trend with a perfect colour combination. But the thing more important is choosing the appropriate fabric. It is the right fabric that can provide a unique definition to the outfit. Being a fashion designer, if you want to create an outstanding garment, then you should begin the process by selecting the finest fabric.  

With the technological advancements in the textile industry, today, there are lots of interesting and exciting fabrics to work with. And a good fashion designer always tries to understand what properties fabrics have and how best to use them on the customer’s body, both functionally and aesthetically. For your convenience, we have compiled a list of different fabrics with everything you need to know about these fabrics.  

This article is divided into three parts depending upon the three different groups of fabrics.
1.    Clear Contour Fabrics
2.    Flowing Line Fabrics
3.    Volume Fabrics
 

Let’s start by discussing the clear contour fabrics.

1. CLEAR CONTOUR FABRICS

In a plain weave of any fibre or blend, with crosswise ribs that typically give a corded strong surface due to which outfit remains in shape regardless of a body’s movement and shape, such type of fabrics are known as Clear Contour Fabrics. These fabrics traditionally consisted of a silk warp with a weft of worsted yarn. As the weft is as a hefty stout texture has a furrowed structure, similar to the rep, which gave profundity and delicateness to the lustre of the silky surface.

These fabrics are usually made with fibres of cotton, silk, synthetic fibres, or any blend of these. The ribs stumble into the texture from selvedge to selvedge. It’s the cotton seersucker stripe. They have a lot of texture and available in different variations of stretchability. Sometimes the pattern is neither embroidered nor printed but woven directly into the fabric. They are absolutely gorgeous and very lightweight. Being a designer, you can do a lot with any of these fabrics. You can line it, you can pair it with other fabrics or you can use solids with it. It is absolutely wonderful! The following are some of the clear contour fabrics that are commonly used in fashion designing.

 
 
 

 

BATISTE

Batiste is a smooth, sometimes sheer, fabric that usually has fibres of cotton, wool, linen, polyester, or a synthetic blend. It is named after a famous French weaver Jean Batiste. Originally, it was a sheer linen fabric but today, batiste mostly refers to a lightweight plain fabric made with mercerized cotton. 

Textile Properties:

It is a lightweight fabric, which comes in a variety of colours. It is more sheer, smooth, silky, and much finer than other lightweight fabrics. It comes in 100% cotton or with poly blends.

Different types of batiste are following

  • Imperial Batiste (65% Polyester, 35% Combed-Cotton)

  • Prima Batiste (100% Swiss Prima Cotton)

  • Satin Batiste (100% Swiss Pima Cotton)

  • Viscose Batiste (100% Viscose)

How Batiste Fabric is used?

  • Batiste in Apparel: Men’ Shirt, Shirtdress, Chemisier, Tunic, Lining Garments, Layered Skirt, Children’s Clothing

  • Batiste in Accessories: Handkerchief, Summer Scarf, Lingerie

  • Batiste in Home Décor: Pleated Pillow Shams, Non-sheer Curtains

Pros

  • It is the most comfortable and practical choice to use in men’s shirting.

  • It can be washed and delicately dried by machine.

  • It is durable and can survive more wear and tear.

  • It feels soft and delicate on the skin.

  • It is a great choice for people suffering from allergies or those with sensitive skin.

Cons

  • Like cotton, it is also prone to shrinking and stretching.

  • It is not wrinkle resistant.

POPLIN

Poplin, also known as tabbinet, is a fabric that has a distinctive ribbed texture and tightly closed weave. The term ‘Poplin’ originated in the 15th century and referred to the Papal residence, where it was first produced. Initially, poplin was a plain weave constructed from silk warp yarns, but now, it is primarily made from 100% real cotton, which makes it lightweight but retaining the strength. 

Textile Properties:

Poplin fabric is made of many fibres, but most commonly, it is either made of cotton or cotton-poly blend. Poplin fabrics are sturdy, durable, and they are easy to maintain and resist creases.

It is a breathable material and can also be bleached, dyed, or printed, which makes it a perfect option for a variety of garments. 

The following are the most common types of poplin.

  • Cotton Poplin

  • Silk Poplin

  • Synthetic Poplin

  • Stretch Poplin

Silk poplin and poplin made of wool are generally preferred in cold countries, whereas, cotton poplin is more popular in warmer countries. 

How Poplin Fabric is used?

  • Poplin in Apparel: Women’s Dresses, Men Shirts, Jackets, Summer Trousers and Shorts, Blouses, Kids Clothing, Trenches, Sportswear, Raincoats

  • Poplin in Home Décor: Upholstery, Tablecloths, Wall Hangings, Bedding, Pillow Cushions, Banners, Patchwork and Quilting

Pros

  • It is a strong and durable fabric.

  • It is versatile and can be used for a variety of fabrics.

  • It doesn’t wrinkle and stain easily.

  • It is one of the softest and comfortable fabrics available in the market.

  • It is easy to maintain and also water-resistant.

Cons

  • Poplin fabric is too thin.

  • It is not very effective in blocking heat.

 OXFORD

Oxford is another famous fabric due to its special characteristics and multipurpose use. It was named after the well-renowned Oxford University, and one of the four modernist fabrics named after the most popular universities in the 19th century. 

Textile Properties:

Oxford fabric has a basketweave structure that is made from weaving numerous yarns bypassing them together in vertical and horizontal directions. Thin yarns are usually woven over thicker filler yarns. Initially, oxford fabric was made with pure cotton, but many types of fabric are now made by incorporating synthetic fibres like polyester and rayon. 

Oxford is a slightly thicker fabric with fine texture, which makes it quite comfortable to wear. It needs less care and stays better in shape. 

Most commonly used types of oxford fabrics are:

  • Pinpoint Oxford

  • Royal Oxford

Pinpoint Oxford is created from finer yarn and thickest basket weave, which gives it a softer and smoother texture. On the other hand, royal oxford is created out of extremely fine and light threads, thus making it a shinier, smoother, and finer fabric than pinpoint or regular oxford fabric.

How Oxford Fabric is used?

  • Oxford in Apparel: Dress Shirts, Button-down Shirts, Casual Shirts, Pants, Skirts, Pajamas

  • Oxford in Accessories: Bags, Suitcases, Tents, Tourism Equipment

  • Oxford in Home Décor: Duvet Covers, Pillow Shams, Wall Hangings

Pros

  • It is one of the most commonly used fabrics for producing men’s shirts.

  • It has a basket-weave structure, which makes it a sturdy and comfy fabric.

  • It is becoming popular to make home décor fabrics.

  • It has durable and breathable properties.

  • Oxford fabrics get softer with each use and naturally resistant to wrinkles.

Cons

  • Oxford fabrics need little more care while washing.

  • It has lesser shine and silkiness than other cotton fabrics.

  

TAFFETA

Taffeta is widely known as luxury fabric and used for special occasions, forming iconic ball gowns, and luxury evening wear. It is frequently used by many iconic fashion designers like Christian Dior and Coco Chanel. The word taffeta comes from the Persian word “taftah” meaning crisp or woven. It is a crisp, plain-woven fabric created more often from silk, but it can also be woven with other synthetic fibres like polyester, nylon, acetate, etc.  

Textile Properties:

As, taffeta is considered as a high-end fabric, so it has a beautiful texture, smooth surface, and unique

characteristics. It has a lustrous shine that comes from the innate qualities of silk or polyester. It is made from tightly twisted yarns woven together in a plain weave fashion, which makes it crisper and gives it the ability to hold its shape well. 

Different types of taffeta fabrics are the following:

  • Silk Taffeta

  • Synthetic Taffeta

  • Yarn-dyed Taffeta

  • Piece-dyed Taffeta

  • Paper Taffeta

  • Shot Silk Taffeta

  • Antique Taffeta

  • Moire Taffeta

How Taffeta Fabric is used?

  • Taffeta in Apparel: Wedding Dresses, Luxury Evening Wear, Party Costumes, Costumes for Stage Plays, Linings for Jackets and Coats

  • Taffeta in Accessories: Umbrellas, Handbags, Stuffing is Sleeping Bags, Parachutes

Pros

  • It is quite lightweight and has a rich texture.

  • Its smooth and shiny characteristics provide a luxurious feel. 

  • It is mostly made from environment-friendly substances.

  • Poly-based taffeta fabric is not very expensive.

  • It is ideal for gowns and other luxury evening wear dresses.

Cons

  • It is not breathable.

  • It requires more maintenance.

  • It is prone to creasing.

  • Silk taffeta can be very expensive. 

FLANNEL

The flannel fabric was originated in either Scotland or Wales, and traditionally, it was only made from carder wool or worsted yarn. But now, it can be manufactured from wool, cotton, or even synthetic fibre. Sometimes, flannel is confused and interchangeably used with the term plaid. But in reality, flannel and plaid are not the same things. Plaid is just a pattern, whereas, flannel is a type of fabric that is created with softness in mind. 

Textile Properties:

Flannel can be created in a brushed or unbrushed texture, but one thing always remains the same that

fabric has to be incredibly soft to be considered flannel. During brushing, a fine metal brush gently rubs the fabric, which raises fine fibres from the loosely spun yarns. It is relatively a warm fabric, which makes it durable and comfortable for winters. Flannel comes in various weights ranging from about 5 oz. / sq yd to 10-20 oz. / sq yd. 

Different types of flannel fabrics are the following:

  • Wool Flannel

  • Cotton Flanne

  • Synthetic or Mixed Flannel

  • Ceylon Flannel

  • Baby Flannel

  • Vegetable Flannel

  • Flannelette

How Flannel Fabric is used?

  • Flannel in Apparel: Button-down Shirts, Pants, Sweaters, Cardigans, Suits

  • Flannel in Accessories: Bags, Purses, Belts

  • Flannel in Home Décor: Bedsheets

Pros

  • It can be made in various colours and patterns.

  • Its shape remains intact after washing.

  • It provides more warmth and comfort in the winter season.

  • It can sustain a lot of wear and tear and does not need to be washed every day.

  • It allows the wearer body to breathe without sweating excessively.

Cons

  • It can be highly flammable.

  • It can’t be worn all year long due to its heavy and warm nature. 

LINEN

Linen is a fabric, which is made from the fibres of the flax plant. It is one of the most commonly used fabrics in the fashion industry today. Its origin comes from Egypt, where it was started manufactured around 4000 years ago. In ancient Egypt, linen fabrics were worn by the wealthier members of the society and also used to wrap the bodies of mummies. But today, it is used for multipurpose. In the USA, it is blended with cotton to make a sturdy and paper-like substance that is used to create dollars. 

 

Textile Properties:

Linen fabric is more desirable in hot and humid climates. It is similar to cotton, but it dries quickly, which

makes it perfect for heat retention in overly warm conditions. Linen fabrics are heavier and approximately 30% stronger than their cotton counterparts. Initially, linen fabrics feel crispier, but with time and use, they become softer. Linen can be blend with other fabrics and acquired some characteristics of the joining fibres. Most of the commonly used blends of linen are with rayon, cotton, and polyester. 

 

Some of the types of linen fabric are the following:

  • Damask Linen

  • Plain-woven Linen

  • Loosely-woven Linen

  • Sheeting Linen

How Linen Fabric is used?

  • Linen in Apparel: Shirts, Pants, Skirts, Jackets, Blazers, Vests, Night Gowns

  • Linen in Home Décor: Napkins, Table Cloths, Kitchen and Bath Towels, Pillowcases, Bed Sheets

Pros

  • Linen is two to three times stronger than cotton but dries at a much faster rate.

  • It is available in almost every colour.

  • Due to its heat and moisture-wicking properties, it is ideal to use for summer clothing or bedding.

  • It has anti-bacterial properties.

  • It can be machine washed and becomes softer with time.

 

Cons

  • Linen fabrics have little elasticity; thus they can wrinkle quite a bit.

  • It is more expensive than cotton fabric.

CANVAS

Canvas is a type of material, which is usually made out of cotton, or sometimes linen. The word canvas comes from the Latin word ‘cannabis’, which means ‘made of hemp’. And originally, the canvas was woven with hemp instead of cotton. It is known as extremely durable plain-woven fabric and can be used for various purposes. Whether it is fashion, sailing, or home décor, canvas seems to be everywhere. 

 

Textile Properties:

Nowadays, the canvas is made of cotton or linen, along with PVC (polyvinyl chloride). It is a plain weave fabric, which makes it different from the other heavy cotton fabrics. 

Its textile properties make it durable and strong. When it comes to weight, some types of canvas fabrics are lighter and some are heavy in weight. In terms of weight, the canvas is categorized by a numerical system. It comprises of grades ranging from 1 to 12, grade 1 being the heaviest kind of canvas, whereas grade 12 is the lightest.

 

Different sorts of canvas are as follows:

  • Simple Weave Canvas

  • Cotton and Linen Canvas

  • Duck Canvas

  • Art Canvas

The differences are mainly in the materials used for weaving and the added chemicals for enhancing capabilities.

 

How Canvas Fabric is used?

  • Canvas in Apparel: Jackets, Footwear, Camping and Sailing Gear

  • Other Usage: Sails, Tents, Bags, Paintings, Backdrops, Coverings, Upholster Furniture

Pros

  • It is sturdy and durable.

  • It can prints colours well.

  • It is a washable fabric type.

  • Canvas is receptive to chemical treatments, which enhance its natural properties.

  • It is long-lasting and doesn’t require a lot of maintenance.

 

Cons

  • It is not very eco-friendly, as its manufacturing process involves the use of various chemicals.

  • It doesn’t have a lot of drapes.

 
 

JEANS/DENIM

Denim, also known as jeans, is a strong and durable fabric that is made using a twill weave. Denim fabric is mainly used in apparel manufacturing but not only limited to it. Today, it is one of the most iconic fabrics used in fashion design.  It is widely worn by men, women, and children. 

 

Textile Properties:

As we have already discussed, denim is a strong fabric that is constructed in a twill weave with white and indigo/blue yarns. Traditionally, denim was woven with 100% cotton yarn, but now it is blended with polyester and Lycra. Polyester helps to control shrinkage and wrinkles, whereas, Lycra adds stretch.

A special characteristic of denim fabric, which makes it different from the other cotton fabric, is the visible diagonal ribbing on the face of the fabric. The special twill weaving creates this diagonal weaving. 

 

History of Denim:
Denim was first gained popularity in the 19th century, when a tailor from Nevada, named Jacob W. Davis, manufactured the first pair of Revit-enforced denim pants. It was all started when a customer requested him a pair of strong and durable pants for her husband to chop wood. During the manufacturing process, when Davis was about to finish the denim pants, he suddenly saw some copper rivets lying on his table. He then used those rivets to fasten the pockets. In no time, the popularity of denim jeans started to spread rapidly. 

Denim in Modern World:
With the passage of time, American designers started making other apparel items like denim jackets, shirts, wallets, etc. The manufacturing of iconic blue jeans, which was once limited to the United States, started to transfer oversees in the late 20th century. 
Nowadays, denim fabric comes in too many variations. Designers are continuously working feverishly to develop the latest design and trends in denim fashion.

How Denim Fabric is made?
The stages that are involved in the production of denim fabrics are the following.
1.    Cotton Cultivation:
The first stage in the production of finished denim fabric is the cultivation of the cotton plant. As the plant grows, it develops a thick ball of fibres around its small black-coloured seeds. These fibres then are collected and separated from their seeds to make the fabric.
2.    Processing and Dyeing:
These clean cotton fibres are combed and changed into thin and long strings. With the help of an industrial machine, they are spun into yarn. During all the process, various washes, dyes, or treatments may be applied to change the attributes of the final denim product. 
3.    Weaving and Fabric Finishing:
After the production and dyeing of cotton yarn get completed, it is woven into iconic warp-faced denim style fabric. This fabric is then are used and shaped into finished consumer products. 

 

There are a few famous types of denim available today. 

  • Raw Denim

  • Sanforized Denim

  • Stretch Denim

  • Crushed Denim

  • Selvedge Denim

  • Acid Wash Denim

  • Poly Denim

 

How Denim Fabric is used?

  • Denim in Apparel: Jeans, Shorts, Skirts, Blouses, Jackets, Vests

  • Denim in Accessories: Hats, Purses, Belts

  • Denim in Home Décor: Curtains, Upholstery, Pillows, Blankets

Pros

  • Most denim fabrics are durable and last for years with proper care.

  • As denim comes in many weaves, so it can be used for practically any occasion.

  • With added polyester, it becomes wrinkles resistant.

  • It can also be used for making home décor and other products.

  • It is a universally recognized fabric.

 

Cons

  • Denim fabric is poor in colourfastness.

  • Sometimes, it creates thick layers of fabric when sewing.

GABARDINE

Gabardine is a tough and tightly woven fabric that can be made of worsted wool, cotton, and wool blends. It is a fabric, which refers more to the twill-weave instead of the material that is used to weave the fabric. Gabardine was invented by the founder of Burberry fashion house, Thomas Burberry in 1879. This fabric became so much popular in the 1950s when some famous stores started producing short-waist gabardine jackets known as “weekender jackets”. 

 

Textile Properties:

It is a durable twill fabric with a distinctive diagonal cord that sometimes has a high sheen texture. 

Gabardine fabric is usually made of wool, but can also be made with cotton, texturized polyester, or a blend. It always has more warp than weft yarns. It also comes in a more open and much lighter texture, produced entirely from silk, and known as silk or voile gabardine.   

 

How Gabardine Fabric is used?

  • Gabardine in Apparel: Suits, Jackets, Overcoats, Trousers, Uniforms, Windbreakers

  • Gabardine in Home Décor: Upholster Furniture, Tablecloths, Curtains, Pillowcases, Cushions

Pros

  • It is known for having a silky and lustrous hand feel.

  • Gabardine is water-resistant.

  • It holds its shape well and doesn’t deform upon washing.

  • Despite its strong properties, it is quite light and soft.

  • It has good air permeability.

 

Cons

  • Gabardine is now relatively uncommon.

  • It is only available in a limited variety of colours. 

TWEED

Tweed is a rough woollen fabric that is designed especially for weather resistance. It is often woven using various coloured threads to achieve different colours and patterns, mostly with small squares and vertical lines. In the 18th century, Tweed was invented by the Scottish farmers to resist the extreme cold days of the winter season. The modern tweed, as we now know, was developed in the 1830s, when this fabric caught the eye of the British aristocracy, and then it started getting popular rapidly. The industrial revolution in the 1840s made wool cheaper and easier to produce.

Textile Properties:

In addition to tweed’s ability to resist the extreme environment, it has won an enduring place in the international fashion world. It comes in a variety of weights, weaves, colours, which stills makes it one of the favourite choices for the designers. The material ranges from lightweight and plain to colourful and heavy. Apart from being thick and durable, it is beloved for its natural allure. 

With the passage of time, the following different types of tweed have emerged:

  • Overcheck Tweed

  • Twill

  • Herringbone Tweed

  • Checked Tweed

  • Striped Tweed

  • Estate Tweed

  • Barleycorn Tweed

  • Plaid Tweed

  • Houndstooth Tweed

How Tweed Fabric is used?

  • Tweed in Apparel: Blazers, Coats, Hunted Jackets, Women’s Coats, Trench Coats, Military Jackets, Suit Jackets, Pants

  • Tweed in Accessories: Flat Caps, Newspaper Boy Caps, Irish Flat Caps

Pros

  • It allows the fabric to breathe by absorbing and releasing moisture quickly.

  • It is very warm and acts as an insulator.

  • Tweed fabric doesn’t need to be washed often.

  • It resists wear and tears effectively.

  • It is dirt and flame resistant.

Cons

  • Tweed needs proper dry cleaning.

  • Improper washing can cause the garment to shrink.

  • Tweed is not a versatile option. 

 
 

JACQUARD

Jacquard is a highly textured fabric that can be made from a variety of fibres like silk, cotton, or wool. Jacquard features an intricate pattern, which is incorporated into the weave instead of being printed or dyed onto the surface of the fabric. Its weave is made through a loom procedure, and loom attachment provides a much more versatile weaving process and a higher level of control. 

 

Textile Properties:

One of the main reasons that make jacquard different from the rest of the woven fabrics is the complexity of its design. Nowadays, with the help of a jacquard loom, highly detailed patterns and motifs are woven

automatically in a shorter time. Modern technology also makes it possible to produce a jacquard fabric with sophisticated designs in the desired range of colours. Apart from these characteristics, there are some other properties that are common in all types of jacquard fabric. They are stable and durable and provide resistance against wear and tear. Jacquard is wrinkle resistance fabric and always feels pleasant to touch. It fills with decorative aesthetics, which enhance the design of the fabric.

 

History of Jacquard:
The weave of jacquard finds its origin in intricately patterned fabrics, called brocades. Hundreds of years ago, brocades were difficult to create and so expensive that they were only available to the very rich and upper nobility of the society. By the early 1800s, these fabrics were created by a tedious and painstaking process, but then, Joseph Marie Jacquard, who started out as a draw boy, created a device that was more efficient, required less labour, and could create an artistic design in the fabric. This machine was based on the concept of punch cards used in player pianos at that time. The same concept was later adapted and used in computer technology, which changed the meaning of patterned fabrics forever. 

Types of Jacquard Fabric:
In addition to the main jacquard fabric, there are several kinds of fabrics are being produced on a jacquard loom. They may seem similar to you but they have a number of differences. Some of the commonly found jacquard weave fabrics are the following:
•    Brocade:
It is an extravagantly designed raised fabric, which is woven with multi-coloured threads to produce rich designs and patterns. It is used and popular in fashion clothing and upholstery. It is usually heavier than most of the other fabrics. 
•    Damask:
Damask is a reversible patterned fabric, which has more sheer and finer than brocade. Here the ground is one weave and the designs are another, thus resulting in patterned areas that possess a sheen and light. It can be ‘tonal’ or multicoloured. 
•    Matelassé:
It is manufactured using cotton, silk, or rayon, and has a raised quilted effect. It comes in all sorts of designs, and can also be hand-stitched.
 

How Jacquard Fabric is used?

  • Jacquard in Apparel: Shirts, Tops, Blouses, Dresses, Pants, Skirts, Jackets, Sweatshirts, Coats

  • Jacquard in Accessories: Ties, Slings, Ribbons

  • Jacquard in Home Décor: Upholstery, Draperies, Curtains, Table and Bed Linen

Pros

  • Its wrinkle-resistant feel makes it perfect for everyday wear.

  • It is stylish yet durable.

  • The woven pattern won’t fade easily.

  • Its exceptional quality is perfect for classic dresses.

 

Cons

  • Jacquard fabrics are still more expensive than many other fabrics.

  • Sometimes, it loses elasticity.

CORD

Corduroy is a ridged velvet fabric that has a distinctive pattern, a cord or wale. That’s why; it is often known as cord.  Corduroy is usually made from cotton or cotton blended with man-made fabrics like polyester or rayon. The word corduroy comes from a French word, which means ‘the cord of the king’. In the 1700s, corduroy first became popular in France and England, where it was used to make clothing for royal servants. At that time, it was woven of silk, but at the end of the 1800s, it was being woven of cotton and mass-produced in factories.

 

Textile Properties:

Corduroy is a strong and durable fabric with a rounded cord, rib, or wall surface, which is formed by cut-pile yarn. The back of the fabric has a plain or a twill weave. Corduroy absorbs and releases moisture quickly, thus increasing the breathability of the fabric. It comes in different weights and is usually thick and very warm.

 

How Corduroy Fabric is used?

  • Corduroy in Apparel: Trousers, Shorts, Jackets, Skirts, Dresses

  • Corduroy in Home Décor: Upholstery, Pillows

Pros

  • It is very easy to sew.

  • Corduroy comes in different weights.

  • It is very warm and ideal, which makes it ideal for the winter season.

  • It has a velvety feel making it durable yet soft and gentle to touch.

 

Cons

  • It is a seasonal fabric and not suitable for warm weather.

  • As it has a nap, so you have to allow extra length.

 

LEATHER

Leather is a strong and flexible material, which is usually created by tanning animal rawhide and skins. It has a unique arrangement of complex natural fibres that give the variations on the different types of hides or skins. That is why; it is one of the most versatile materials known today. Various chemical and physical processes especially tailored to give specific properties and performance to the hides and skins while being converted into leather. 

Textile Properties:

Leather can be made to resist water, absorb water, or even completely waterproof. It is also available in

various thicknesses. Thin leathers are used for fashion design, medium thickness leathers are mostly used for upholstery, automotive, shoes, bags, and leather goods. Whereas, thick leathers are making footwear soles and crafts. The softness of the leather depends on its thickness. The thinner leathers are usually softer but there are some other variables that make the leather softer, including the type of tannage. Leather has a unique characteristic, which enables it to absorb the moisture and with time-release it to the environment. It is a breathable material and comes in variations of colour, texture, feels, smell, and surface resistance. 

History of Leather:
Animal hides and skins have been used to make clothes and accessories from ever. You must have read about the Stone Age people who hunted wild animals for food and used their skin to cover themself. Spain produced a type of leather called ‘Cordovan’ in the 8th century, which remained popular throughout Europe for centuries. In the 15th century, leather tanning became common practice in Europe, and then the industrial revolution made it more sophisticated and gave a boost to the process of manufacturing leather. The use of chrome salts instead of natural tanning agents and the introduction of powerful machines resulted in faster and easier production of leather. 
 

Types of Leather:
Leather comes in various forms depending upon the various production processes. Some of the common types of leather are:
•    Brain Tanned Leather:
Emulsified oil extracted from the brains of animals is used in the production of this form of leather. It is usually soft and washable.
•    Vegetable Tanned Leather:
The production of vegetable-tanned leather uses extracts from vegetables, fruits, roots, and other plant extracts. It is one of the oldest methods of leather tanning. This form of leather is supple and brown in colour and needs a relatively high level of maintenance. It is prone to discolouration, and can also become harden or brittle if soaked.
•    Synthetic Tanned Leather:
Aromatic Polymers, also known as synthetic plastics, are used in its production process. Synthetic tanned leather is usually white in colour.
•    Rawhide:
Rawhide is produced by processing the animal hide through the simplest of methods that involve scraping the skin for achieving a thin layer and soaking the hide for some time, then stretching when it dries. Rawhide is stiff, brittle, and not commonly considered as actual leather.
•    Chrome Tanned Leather:
Chrome tanned leather is made from a production process in which chromium sulfate and other chromium salts are used. It takes around only one day to take complete this method, thus making it suitable for industrial use.
•    Aldehyde-tanned Leather:
Aldehyde-tanned leather, also known as ‘wet white’ due to its pale cream colour, is obtained from a process that uses glutaraldehyde or oxazolidine compounds. It is one of the main types of chrome-free leather and is often used to make shoes for babies and in automobiles. 
 

There are some other forms of leather-like Alum-Tanned Leather, Chamois Leather, Rose-Tanned Leather, Formaldehyde Leather, etc. 

How Leather is used?

  • Leather in Apparel: Jackets, Pants, Skirts, Raincoats

  • Leather in Accessories: Footwear, Gloves, Watch Straps, Satchels, Backpacks, Wallets, Purses, Cases, Belts

  • Leather in Home Décor: Couches, Chairs, Recliners

Pros

  • Leather is durable and abrasion-resistant.

  • If treated, it can become water and fire-resistant.

  • It is a fabric that breathes well.

  • The leather allows much more flexibility while keeping its shape and strength.

  • Leather has a very unique smell.

Cons

  • It poses health hazards to the tanners due to the use of certain chemicals.

  • It can be expensive from various other fabrics.

FAKE LEATHER

Faux leather, which is also known as fake leather or synthetic leather, is a lower cost and petroleum-based alternative to genuine leather. It can have all the desired attributes of genuine leather, but it is less durable than genuine leather. One of the very first forms of faux leather called ‘Presstoff’ was created by Germany in the war effort when the use of genuine leather is strictly rationed. But synthetic leather became internationally popular with the invention of ‘Naugahyde’ in 1920.

Textile Properties:

Fake leather is a man-made material that resembles real leather but at an extraordinarily low cost. The two variants of faux leather are Polyurethane (PU) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). PU leather is softer and pliable, whereas PVC is a tough material. It is possible to make faux leather in any colour. It is almost as good at insulating the body as genuine leather. Faux leather feels like plastic to the touch, and this is one of the greatest factors that differentiate it from the real leather.

How Faux Leather is used?

  • Faux Leather in Apparel: Jackets

  • Faux Leather in Accessories: Footwear, Handbags, Gloves, Hats, Suitcases, Briefcases, Watch Bands, Smartphone and Camera Cases

  • Faux Leather in Upholstery: Sofas, Car Seats, Chairs, Coffee Tables

Pros

  • Synthetic leather can be made into any colour and texture.

  • It is more affordable than genuine leather.

  • It doesn’t contain any animal products.

  • It is usually durable and fades resistant.

  • Fake leather is easy to clean.

Cons

  • Scratches aren’t easy to cover as polish doesn’t work well on fake leather.

  • It doesn’t have the smell of genuine leather.

  • It has a shorter lifecycle than genuine leather.

2. FLOWING LINE FABRICS

After discussing different clear contour fabrics, now it’s time to explore flowing line fabrics that are used in the fashion design industry to make great clothing products. Flowing line fabrics are those fabrics that change their shape according to the body structure or movement. 

These are normally utilized in clothing: glossy silk baseball coats, athletic shorts, ladies’ underwear, robes, pullovers, and night outfits, yet also in certain men’s fighter shorts, briefs, shirts, and ties. They are likewise utilized in the creation of pointed shoes for use in ballet. Other uses incorporate inside outfitting textures, upholstery, and bedsheets. These fabrics come in different weights.  Cut on the bias is a wonderful way to make a dress.  You can get an excellent shape when you cut on the predisposition.

If you want to design a dress with a little bit more structure, you should go with something more like the flowing line fabrics, which are a little bit thicker and a little bit more antique looking. Most wedding dresses made of these fabrics provide a nice, clean, and chic look for your wedding dress. These dresses might contain satin and also chiffon overlay. All these kinds of the stuff mentioned above are the types of flowing line fabrics.

JERSEY

Jersey is a knit fabric that comes with attributes and predominantly used in fashion clothing. Originally, it was made from wool, but now, it is also made from cotton, cotton blends, and synthetic fibres. Like most of the knitted fabrics, the jersey also has a ride side and a wrong side. The right side of the jersey fabric is smooth with very small grain, whereas, the backside of the fabric is horizontal.

Textile Properties:

Jersey fabric has various qualities that made it a perfect fabric for daily use. It is soft, smooth, and its knitted structure makes it a stretchable fabric. Jersey fabrics are opaque due to their knitted composition, which doesn’t allow the light to pass through. Cotton jersey fabric is very absorbent and breathable, which makes it ideal for the clothing that gets daily use. Most of the jersey fabrics also have a nice drape.

History of Jersey:
In the medieval period, the jersey was first produced in Jersey, Channel Islands. At that time, it was considered as only for menswear and was particularly used to make underwear and fisherman’s sweaters. But, Coco Chanel, a well-renowned fashion designer and the founder of the Chanel brand, changed the jersey market by introducing the fabric to the women’s fashion industry. She used jersey fabric for making comfortable dresses and coats.

Types of Jersey Fabric:
Depending on the knit style, there are several types of jersey fabric. Some of them are the following:
•    Standard/Single Jersey:
It is a single thickness of the knitted fabric, which is made with a fine grade yarn. It is usually made by using a single set of needles. This form of jersey fabrics appears smooth on one side and piled on the other side of the fabric.
•    Double-knitted Jersey:
Double-knitted jersey, also known as interlock jersey, is made by knitting two layers of jersey fabric together, sandwiching the wrong sides and creating a smooth surface on both sides. 
•    Jacquard Jersey:
In this type of jersey fabric, a complex pattern is knitted into the fabric to create a texture. Single or multiple colours of yarns can be used.
•    Intarsia Jersey:
In the production of intarsia jersey, multiple colours are used to knit designs that create self-contained areas of pure colour in the fabric. 

How Jersey Fabric is used?

  • Jersey in Apparel: T-shirts, Tank Tops, Sweatpants, Sweatshirts, Sportswear

  • Jersey in Accessories: Underwear

  • Jersey in Home Furnishing: Bed Sheets

Pros

  • It has a soft texture.

  • It doesn’t wrinkle or crease as easily as woven materials.

  • It provides excellent flexibility and extensibility.

  • It comes with good moisture permeability.

  • Jersey is a low maintenance fabric. 

Cons

  • It is not very durable.

  • Jersey fabric is usually sensitive to heat.

  • It sticks to your body

Chiffon

Chiffon is a lightweight and plain-woven fabric that is usually made from silk or nylon. Chiffon is known to be the second name of elegance in the fashion world. This sheer fabric is often used in making different luxury garments. Initially, chiffon was made purely from silk; it was quite expensive and widely popular in upper-class women in Europe and the United States. The nylon and polyester versions of chiffon were introduced in 1938 and 1958 respectively. Today, much of the chiffon is made from polyester, but to some extent, chiffon is still made from silk. However, silk chiffon is now only known as a luxury textile. 

 

Textile Properties:

Chiffon is a gauze-like fabric that is famous for its sheer, shimmery, and floating nature. Due to its transparent appearance, it looks like a fine net or mesh. Chiffon has decent elasticity as a result of being woven in different directions. Both silk and synthetic chiffons are extremely strong. Silk chiffon is more shimmer, whereas cotton chiffon has a matte surface. 

The following are some of the types of chiffon fabrics that are used in fashion design:

  • Silk Crepe Chiffon Fabric

  • Silk Satin Chiffon Fabric

  • Pearl Chiffon Fabric

  • Jacquard Chiffon Fabric

  • Chameleon Chiffon Fabric

 

How Chiffon Fabric is used?

  • Chiffon in Apparel: Wedding Dresses, Evening Gowns, Shirts, Blouses, Indian Dresses (Sarees and Dupattas)

  • Chiffon in Accessories: Scarves, Sashes, Undergarments, Lingerie

  • Chiffon in Home Décor: Decorative Upholstery, Curtains

Pros

  • It has a beautiful drape.

  • Silk chiffon holds dyes well and displays colours beautifully.

  • It provides a very luxurious feel.

  • It remains comfortable on the skin.

  • Polyester chiffon fabric is available in different weights and patterns.

Cons

  • Its slippery texture makes it difficult to work with.

  • Chiffon can snag and fray easily.

  • It can lose shape with time and use.

SATIN

Satin is one of the three basic textile weaves, and the fabric constructed by satin weave method has a soft, lustrous surface on one side and a duller surface on the other side. Satin was originally made from silk, but it is now also made from yarns of other fibres. And, if an all-cotton fabric is woven in the satin structure, it is known as sateen. During the Middle Ages, satin was made exclusively with silk in china. It was very expensive and therefore only used by the upper-class people of society. It was first manufactured in the west in the 12th century when Italy became the first western country to produce satin. It became popular across Europe by the 14th century. In fact, many few people know that much of the furniture in the Palace of Versaille is actually satin upholstery. 

Textile Properties:

Satin fabrics are more flexible than plain weave fabrics. Satin usually has a shiny, soft right side of the fabric and a dull back. It feels soft and luxurious to the touch. Satin provides a very soft and beautiful drape, which makes it ideal for evening wear. It is stronger, thicker, and less prone to wrinkles. 

 

The following are the several different types of satin:

  • Antique Satin

  • Baronet Satin

  • Charmeuse Satin

  • Crepe Back Satin

  • Duchess Satin

  • Messaline

  • Slipper Satin

  • Polysatin

 

How Satin Fabric is used?

  • Satin in Apparel: Evening Gowns, Wedding Dresses, Shirts, Blouses

  • Satin in Accessories: Footwear, Evening Bags, Clutches

  • Satin in Home Décor: Chairs, Sofas, Pillow Coverings, Bed Linens

Pros

  • The satin fabric has a shiny and lustrous surface.

  • It has a floaty drape.

  • It comes in a variety of weights.

  • It is smooth and silky to the touch.

  • It can be used in clothing, upholstery, and much more.

 

Cons

  • Satin requires high maintenance.

  • It can be tricky to sew.

  • It is prone to snagging and frays easily

CREPE DE CHINE

Crepe de chine is a lightweight fabric that is made with highly twisted yarns. It is usually produced from silk, but it can also be made from cotton and synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, rayon, or acetate. Crepe de chine is one of the different types of crepe fabric.  Chinese imperial family used this finest material for their clothing in the middle ages. The term ‘Crepe de chine’ is a French word, which means ‘Crepe of China’. 

 

Textile Properties:

It is breathable and lightweight, which makes it a good fabric for the warm season. Wrinkle resistance is one of the distinctive properties of crepe de chine. Due to the highly twisted fibers of 100% silk, it doesn’t burn out in the sun and also loses its original appearance for years. It drapes well and has a muted luster, and that is the reason, many Hollywood stars choose this fabric for red carpet outfits.

 

How Crepe De Chine Fabric is used?

  • Crepe De Chine in Apparel: Bridal Dresses, Dresses, Skirts, Lightweight Suits, Formal Evening Wear, Costumes, Belly Dancing Costumes, Blouses, Sarees

  • Crepe De Chine in Accessories: Scarves, Shawls, Underwear, Lingerie

  • Crepe De Chine in Home Décor: Curtains, Pillow Coverings

Pros

  • This fabric has great durability and excellent wrinkle resistance.

  • Lightweight with a pleasing drape makes it ideal for luxury designer clothing.

  • It is exceptionally demanding due to its special look and comfort.

  • It can be dyed into many colors and design with various types of prints.

 

Cons

  • With silk, it can be quite expensive, whereas the polyester version is a more affordable option.

  • It needs proper care and maintenance.

LACE

Lace is a patterned fabric that is produced looping, braiding, or twisting threads to create unique attributes. It is made by a machine or by hand. Originally, it was produced by using linen, silk, gold, or silver threads, but now lace is often made with cotton threads. Lace fabric came into existence in the late 15th century, but it turned luxurious in the initial period of the 17th century when European men and women started wearing it. In the 19th century, it was produced first time with cotton threads, and later, the use of synthetic fibres such as nylon and rayon also got momentum at that time. With the introduction of machines to weave lace, the process became more efficient and the manufacturing cost became considerably less expensive. 

Textile Properties:

Lace is a patterned fabric that can be handmade or machine-made, and available in different types. Depending on the type and materials used, it comes in various weights. The lace fabric is breathable and sheer. When made with natural materials like silk, cotton, or wool, it has a more soft texture. But with synthetic fibres, it is more durable and can resist wear and tear. The use of metallic threads adds shimmering to the fabric. The typical patterns of lace fabrics are floral and botanical, but it can also be made in designs like geometric, ornamental, etc. 

 

Coming up next are some of the main types of lace fabric:

  • Chantilly Lace

  • Guipure Lace

  • Lyon Lace

  • Corded Lace

  • Embroidered Lace

  • Lace Applique

 

How Lace Fabric is used?

  • Lace Fabric in Apparel: Wedding Dresses, Ball Gowns, Casual Skirts, Dresses, Tops, Jackets

  • Lace Fabric in Accessories: Purses, Shoes, Bracelets, Lingerie, Earrings, Brooches

  • Lace Fabric in Home Décor: Curtains, Table Cloths, Doilies

Pros

  • The lace fabric is breathable and has a pleasant texture.

  • Due to its finishing, it is one of the ideal materials to make evening dresses.

  • Casual clothes can also be decorated with lace to provide a stunning and trendy look.

  • Dresses made of lace fabric looks stunning and feminine.

  • It can be made in various colours and designs.

 

Cons

  • It is a transparent material and you may need to add a lining for more opacity.

  • Lace fabric requires care and can easily be damaged.

  • As it is manufactured by leading European manufacturers and used by top clothing designers, so the prices can be expensive.

FLEECE

Fleece is an insulating fabric that is made from Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) or other synthetic fibres. As fleece production uses only synthetic fibres, it is known as a vegan alternative to wool. When we look back at its history, an American textile company, now known as Polartec, produced and introduced fleece to the sportswear for the first time. But due to its special characteristics, it soon became popular and designers started using it for other purposes as well. 

 

Textile Properties:

Fleece comes with a pile surface on both sides of the fabric, which makes it incredibly useful for keeping warm. It is comfortable, easy to care, easy to sew, and has a high property of shape retention. Fleece is also highly durable and can be manufactured at even a very lost cost. In addition to being durable and warm, fleece is also moisture resistant, which makes it ideal for sportswear or to deal with extreme weather conditions. 

 

Some of the various kinds of fleece are the following:

  • Micro Fleece

  • Polyester Fleece

  • Cotton Fleece

  • Lycra-Spandex Fleece

  • Sherpa Fleece

  • Coral Fleece

 

How Fleece Fabric is used?

  • Fleece in Apparel: Jackets, Shirts, Pajamas, Dresses, Sportswear, Coats

  • Fleece in Accessories: Ear-Warmers, Scarves, Gloves, Underwear for Astronauts

  • Fleece in Home Décor: Curtains, Bedspreads, Blankets

Pros

  • It is usually lighter in weight than wool.

  • Fleece is a breathable, warm, and highly comfortable fabric.

  • It is a great alternative for people who are allergic to wool.

  • It is machine washable and dries very quickly.

 

Cons

  • It can damage easily upon consistent washing and ironing.

  • It is flammable unless treated with a flame retardant.

VELOUR

Velour is a soft, knitted fabric that has a plush texture similar to the velvet. It feels very similar to velvet but it is made with a pile knit structure. Velour is typically made from cotton; however synthetic fibres such as polyester can also be used for its production. The mass production of velour began in the 1840s when it was first used for the production of cloth bolts. Velour became popular in fashion clothing in the 1960s and 70s and still known as a ‘comfy fabric’ in modern fashion.

 

Textile Properties:

Velour is a stretchy fabric, which is widely used for modern apparel due to its excellent biocompatibility with the human body. It has a unique supple texture, which cares about every inch of human skin safely and considerably. Due to soft, comfortable, and good warm-keeping properties, it is suitable for winter easy to wear clothing like pyjamas, tracksuits, etc. Velour fabric’s other properties include ventilation, insulation, anti-UV, fireproof, easy to clean, moisture-proof, and many more. 

 

How Velour Fabric is used?

  • Velour in Apparel: Pajamas, Tracksuits, Dressing Gowns, Dance Wear, Sweatsuits, Jumpsuits, Dresses, Pants, Hoodies

  • Velour in Accessories: Slippers, Leggings

  • Velour in Home Décor: Upholstery, Pillows, Blankets

  • Other Usage: Theatre Drapes, Stage Curtains

Pros

  • It is a knitted fabric, so it is stretchy.

  • Velour fabric is warm, comfortable, and ideal for casual wear.

  • It feels very soft to the touch.

  • It has a soft drape and provides a very luxurious look.

  • Velour is machine washable.

 

Cons

  • It is dust absorbent.

  • Velour fabric can get caught easily when sewing.

  • This fabric can have shrinkage


VELVET

Velvet is a woven tufted fabric, which has a dense pile of evenly cut fibres that have a smooth nap. Velvet was initially made from silk, but the introduction of cotton, linen, wool, mohair, and other synthetic fibres for manufacturing made velvet less expensive and incorporated into daily-wear clothes.

Textile Properties:

It is a highly durable fabric with a strong sheen. The properties of velvet depend on the material that is used to manufacture it. Silk velvet has a shimmering surface and a soft drape, whereas velvet made from synthetic fibres such as rayon and acetate, has a strong sheen but do not tend to drape as good as silk velvet. Velveteen (cotton velvet) is a stronger and most durable type of velvet. However, cotton velvet is less fine but more resistant to wear and tear. 

Here are some of the types of velvet fabric:

  • Chiffon Velvet

  • Crushed Velvet

  • Embossed Velvet

  • Hammered Velvet

  • Lyons Velvet

  • Panne Velvet

  • Utrecht Velvet

  • Voided Velvet

  • Ring Velvet

How Velvet Fabric is used?

  • Velvet in Apparel: Evening Wear, Vests, Skirts, Blazers, Coats, Costumes

  • Velvet in Accessories: Hats, Scarves, Handbags

  • Velvet in Home Décor: Pillows, Headboard, Ottoman Cushions, Curtains, Bed Skirts, Floor Pillows

Pros

  • It provides a very soft and textured feel.

  • Velvet is available in a wide range of colours and patterns.

  • Velvet fabric is contemporary and stylish.

  • Cotton and synthetic velvet fabrics are more durable and do not lose their shape and texture with time.

  • It has a luxurious sheen.

Cons

  • Certain types of velvet can be dry cleaned only.

  • Silk velvet can be very expensive.

FRENCH TERRY

French terry is a knit fabric that has loops on one side and soft piles of the yarn on the other side. It may look similar to terry cloth, but French terry fabric has loops of thread on one side of the fabric while the other side is smooth. On the other hand, terry cloths have loops on both sides of the fabric.

 

Textile Properties:

French terry fabric comes in light to medium weight. The looped side of the fabric is highly absorbent, just like the regular terry cloth. It is also available in a variety of colours, patterns, and materials. French terry is typically made from cotton threads, but it can also be made from synthetics and blends. It also comes with different degrees of stretch, from none to highly stretchable.  

 

How French Terry Fabric is used?

  • French Terry in Apparel: Sweatsuits, Sweatshirts, Lounge Pants, Yoga Attire, Shorts, Cardigans, Toddler Clothing

  • French Terry in Accessories: Bath Linens, Leggings

Pros

  • The soft piles on the inner side of the fabric feel soft and comfortable against the skin.

  • With its moisture-wicking properties, French terry fabric can absorb more water and moisture.

  • It provides more stretch and flexibility during activities like yoga, workout, etc.

  • Due to its lightweight, it can be worn throughout the year. 

 

Cons

  • It is not suitable for extreme warm conditions.

  • It is prone to fraying.

3. VOLUME FABRICS

Volume Fabrics are lightweight and sheer material that helps to provide volume to your outfits by adjusting themselves according to your body’s shape and structure. Volume textures are extraordinary for designs like table skirts drapery and seat scarves, or it can likewise be utilized for marriage shroud and wedding outfits. Volume Fabrics do not fray, so it is great for no-sew projects or it can be sewn with a sharp thin needle and a long stitch length. These fabrics are also popular for the fashion apparel such as dresses over skirts and tutus. 

Plain volume fabric is affordable polyester netting that comes in all different colours and sizes. It’s especially popular for decorations at weddings where large quantities are needed. Dusted with glitter to add dimension and sparkle, be aware that there is a small amount of glitter fall out with this material. These fabrics can be used to make a range of decorations or apparel that is not only beautiful but can also be affordable.

TULLE

Tulle is a lightweight and very fine netting fabric that has a high-strength and glossy texture. It is composed of different natural and synthetic fibres such as silk, cotton, nylon, rayon, etc. Tulle comes in various vivid hues and that is why it can be used for any fashion or decorative requirement. It was first made in the city of Tulle, France, and therefore it bears the name of the city where it was born.

Textile Properties:

It is a net fabric that offers a transparent and delicate finish. Tulle is manufactured in various weights, and it comes in the widths of 54 and 108 inches. The netting texture of this fabric allows the air to circulate and the fabric to maintain its shape. Another useful property of tulle is its stiffness. It helps to give a distinctive shape to the dresses, giving them a more bouffant look. With its lightweight quality, tulle enables the designers to use an enormous amount of fabric to create the desired volume without weighing down the wearer. Its lightness is beneficial for decorative purposes as well. Tulle is a soft, delicate, and sheer fabric that can add elegance and interest to any occasion. 

As tulle is widely used for making bridal dresses, the following are three kinds of bridal tulle:

  • Silk Tulle

  • French Silk Tulle

  • Bridal Illusion Tulle

How Tulle Fabric is used?

  • Tulle in Apparel: Wedding Veils, Embellish Wedding Gowns, Skirts, Jackets, Coats

  • Tulle in Accessories: Bows, Hats, Ribbons, Lingerie

  • Tulle in Home Décor: Bed Skirts, Window Treatments, Floral Arrangements

Pros

  • It is a dressy fabric that provides an elegant look to the formal outfits.

  • Tulle fabric can be used for multipurpose.

  • Designers love its lightweight quality.

  • It is rigid and doesn’t break down easily. 

Cons

  • You need to handle it with proper care.

  • It can easily get damaged if it gets in touch with high heat

ORGANZA

Organza is a transparent, plain-woven fabric that is used to overlay thicker types of apparel. Organza is woven in an extremely low density that makes it a transparent and relatively flimsy fabric. Originally, it was created entirely with silk, but now it can also be made from synthetic fibres, primarily polyester and nylon. 

Textile Properties:

The quality of this fabric depends on the small holes created in the weaving process. It means the more holes per inch fabric have, the higher the quality is. The yarns are twisted very tightly before weaving to make the fabric thin and transparent. Organza is a sheer fabric that catches the light beautifully and reflects light rays well. It is slightly stiff but very airy and breathable. Due to its thin nature, it is extremely prone to wrinkles. 

How Organza Fabric is used?

  • Organza in Apparel: Evening Gowns, Prom Dresses, Bridal Gowns, Stage Costumes

  • Organza in Accessories: Pouches, Veils, Shawls, Capes, Sashes, Bands, Organza Bracelets

  • Organza in Home Décor: Curtains, Table Runners, Lampshades

Pros

  • It is a durable fabric that drapes well.

  • Organza can be washed easily.

  • It is a lightweight, fine, and breathable fabric. 

  • It is extremely popular for wedding gowns and evening dresses.

Cons

  • It is extremely prone to wrinkles.

  • It can be ruined by perspiration

PLEAT

Pleat is not really a material, but rather a type of fold in fabric that can take on numerous different looks. A basic pleat is formed by folding back the fabric on itself, creating an accordion-like appearance. Pleats can be made in different shapes and sizes. Designers use pleats in their designs to create a volume in a garment. In addition to providing an aesthetic function, pleats are also practical and provide the freedom of movement to the wearer. 

In Ancient Egypt, fabrics were pleated to decorate the dresses of rulers. As permanent pleating of natural fibers was very expensive and complicated, so it remained a luxury until the invention of synthetic fibers. Later, pleating machines replaced the hard manual production and made the pleats accessible to a larger group of population. After the industrial revolution, the advantages of pleated fabrics were discovered, consequently, other materials were started pleating as well. However, the real boom pleats experienced with the production of synthetic materials.

Textile Properties:

Pleats have various forms, but side and box pleat remain the most common. Although the other forms include accordion, cartridge, circular, curtain, draped, fluted, Fortuny, or French. Some of these pleats are ironed and pressed, and the others are more fluid. As already discussed, pleated fabrics allow freedom of movement and airflow within a garment, as well as provide stylistic designs. 

How Pleated Fabrics are used?

  • Pleats in Apparel: Skirts, Bodices, Pants, Blouses, Shirts, Jackets

  • Pleats in Accessories: Bags, Purses

  • Pleats in Home Décor: Upholstery

Pros

  • It is a folded excess fabric that creates fullness.

  • It comes in a variety of shapes, forms, and sizes.

  • Pleats can be made on a variety of garments.

  • Pleats also provide ease of movement.

Cons

  • The extra fabric can create a messy and heavy look.

  • It is not always easy for the designers to make complicated pleated designs

Boucle

Boucle is a heavyweight fabric that is made from boucle yarn. Boucle yarn is made from a length of loops that have similar size, ranging from tiny circlets to large curls. Boucle is a French word, which means ‘curled’ or ‘looped’, and is used for a type of yarn as well as for the knitted or woven fabrics made from it. These fabrics are usually made from wool or cotton, with various colours or different shades combined. 

Textile Properties:

Boucle fabrics have a curly, knotted appearance, and are often loosely woven. They are soft, airy, and elastic, made from various threads, like wool or cotton, including metalized fibres and sequins.

Boucle fabrics can be too flexible or too stiff, and the designer needs to pay attention to the texture. Most of the time, boucle fabrics do not have prints or patterns, however, sometimes they might have a squared or a simple pattern of the woven threads.  

How Boucle Fabric is used?

  • Boucle in Apparel: Jackets, Sweaters, Skirts, Dresses, Trousers, Coats

  • Boucle in Accessories: Scarves, Shawls

  • Boucle in Home Décor: Sofas, Side Chairs, Ottoman Couch

Pros

  • Even the boucle is a lightweight fabric; it is still warm to wear. 

  • Boucle fabric results in a more aesthetically pleasing product.

  • It comes in solids, as well as in various other colours.

  • It provides a lot of room for creativity.

Cons

  • Sewing it can be challenging.

  • It requires care while cleaning.

 

FUR

The fur is a clothing material that is made of furry animal hides. Some people consider fur as luxurious and warm, while others reject it due to moral concerns of animal rights. Despite all the controversies, fur is highly popular for outer garments in the modern fashion industry.

Textile Properties:
Real animal fur is thick can provide incomparable warmth and comfort. The fur comes in various textures; some have a plush touch while others are hard furs. The tips of the hairs have pointed ends and are usually tapered. Real animal furs typically have leathery backing. Upon burning, animal fur hairs smell like burning human hair. It is one of the testing methods to distinguish real fur from the fake one. 

History of Fur:
The fur is known to be one of the oldest forms of clothing, and you may be surprised to learn that humans first began wearing clothing made out of animal fur about 170,000 years ago. By the 11th century, European royalty wore fur coats, capes, other accessories made from mink, sable, and chinchilla fur. Due to this, it was worn as a symbol of wealth and status at that time. Later in the 13th century, different laws were introduced to regulate which social classes were allowed to wear which type of fur. In the 1950s, most film stars started wearing luxury furs in their movies as well as in their personal lives. At the same time, fashion designers also began making more casual designs with fur. By the end of the 1960s, fur became more affordable than ever, and designers started creating fur coats and accessories at a mass level.

 Types of Fur:
Mink and fox are well-known types of fur, but there are several other types that are used by fashion designers. Some of them are the following:
•    Mink Fur:
Mink is considered as the most popular and most sold type of fur in the world. It is best known for its luxuriously soft hand and lightweight texture.
•    Rabbit Fur:
Rabbit is also extremely popular due to its heavenly soft feel, beauty, versatility, and affordable price. 
•    Fox Fur:
With long, lustrous guard hairs and soft underfur, fox fur is ideal for high-fashion trims on collars, wraps, cuffs, etc. 
•    Beaver Fur:
Beaver fur is available in natural or shredded form, and both of its forms offers unbeatable warmth and durability.
•    Raccoon Fur:
Lofty, dense, soft, and fluffy raccoon fur is ideal for making gorgeous collars and tuxedo trims. It is widely used in fashion designs due to its unique colouring and fantastic loft.
•    Coyote Fur:
It is a resilient and more affordable option than other forms of fur. Coyote fur is a warm choice for coats, hats, and blankets.
•    Lamb Fur:
Lamb fur has long, wavy guard hairs and prominent in fashion for making stylish clothes due to its luxe, voluminous style. 
 

How Fur is used?

  • Fur in Apparel: Coats, Jackets, Sweater

  • Fur in Accessories: Hats, Boots, Gloves, Scarves

  • Fur in Home Décor: Rugs, Blankets

Pros

  • It provides unmatched insulation and a luxurious feel.

  • It is durable and long-lasting.

  • It is a natural product.

  • It is a mixture of beauty and practicality.

Cons

  • Some harmful chemicals are used in the preservation process. 

  • It is criticized by animal rights activists.

 
 
 
 
 

It is safe to say that fashion would be nothing without the thought of fabrics. The creation of a great outfit begins with a vision of fashion designer towards the use of the smallest piece of fabric. After learning much about the different varieties of fabrics, now you can choose the right fabric and transform your design ideas into reality.

 

If you still have any queries about fabrics or want to know anything about fashion designing, send us your feedback at [email protected]