Fabric is woven by yarn,and yarn is an assembly of fibers. Fibers are classified by their chemical origin, falling into two groups or families: natural fibers and man made fibers.Figure 1 gives a breakdown of textile fibers by these groupings, and we are going to give you a introduction of some commonly used fibers.
Cotton is the most common textile material for clothing and home textile with history of thousands of years. It is breathable, soft, absorbent, good warm-keeping and friendly to our skin. However, cotton is easy to wrinkle, so it’s usually mixed with other fiber such as polyester for better wrinkle resistant.
Linen is also being used since early age, compared to cotton, fabric of Linen is stiffer, more absorbent and dries faster. Garments made of linen fabric are valued for the rough style brought by natural linen slub, exceptional coolness and freshness in hot and humid weather.
Rayon is a general name for regenerated cellulose fibers, which come from a chemical process of extracting fibers from plants like trees, soybeans, bamboos etc. It is further divided into viscose, Tencel/lyocell, Modal, etc. by the difference of the manufacturing process and the filament structure. Rayon features great absorbent, very soft hand feeling and draping effect. Viscose is the most common rayon used nowadays, but it’s much easy to wrinkle , so polyester is the perfect match for viscose for better wrinkle resistance. Some other kind of rayon like modal and tencel also have a good wrinkle resistance because of their special filament structure, but it’s more expensive.
Developed in 20th century, polyester is well known for its wrinkle resistance feature, and it’s the most wildly used man-made synthetic fiber. Garments made of polyester are usually more in shape, but it is not as soft as cotton dose, so polyester fibers are sometimes spun together with soft material like cotton and etc.
Spandex, Lycra or elastane is a synthetic fiber known for its exceptional elasticity. It is traditionally used in T-shirt, sportswear, swimsuits, underpants etc. Nowadays with the popularity of slim fit shirts, stretch shirting fabric with spandex attracts more and more attention. Spandex is usually mixed with cotton or polyester, and accounts for a small percentage of the final fabric, which therefore retains most of the look and feel of the other fibers.
Nylon is also one of the wildly used man-made synthetic fiber. This fiber is extremely tough and strong, so it’s used in bags in the beginning. And then it start to apply in garments because it can provide smooth hand feeling.Since it is not absorbent and soft, so nylon usually blend with other material such as cotton for smooth, soft, and absorbent properties.
Silk is a protein filament produced by the silk worm. Feeding on mulberry leaves, the worm produces liquid silk that once solidified forms the filaments to build its cocoon. Naturally, silk is used in high-quality textile industry to produce exquisite accessories as well as luxurious.
Wool fibers are animal fibers, primarily from sheep, but also from goats, camels, or llamas and etc. It holds moisture without feeling wet, plus it is a great thermal insulator. But it can be scratchy and uncomfortable to wear, and heat and moisture can cause it to felt.