Fabric type guide.
When for shopping for fabric or clothing, we pay attention not only to style and fit but also to fabric it's made of. Does it stretch? Does it have a soft feel? Is this fabric natural or synthetic?
Modern fabrics are either woven or knitted, and can be made from animal fibres (wool and silk), plant fibres (such as cotton and linen) or man-made fibres (like polyester and nylon).
Difference between woven and knitted fabric.
Knitted fabrics are more stretchy than woven ones.
In knit fabric one continuous thread is looped repeatedly to create what looks like tiny rows of braids. In woven fabric multiple threads of yarn cross each other at right angles to create the grain like a basket weave.
Image: Thread Magazine
With a help of modern technology we are able to create fabrics using just about about any type of material like seaweed or carbon. it would take pages to describe them all. So are some basic and commonly used for sewing and fashion design fabric types:
- Cotton – the most popular natural fiber fabric. Can be woven of knit. Both types come in many different weights from light-weight handkerchiefs to heavy canvas. Cotton is often used in a wide range of clothing from baby garments to heavy duty accessories. Fabrics like denim, moleskin and corduroy are generally made from cotton.
- Linen (flax) – made from a linen plant fiber. Slightly coarse, it is one of the oldest fabric types used in a history of our civilization and goes back to Ancient Egyptian times. Both woven and knit linen is easy to wear and comes in a variety of weights. It tends to crease a lot and is often blended with cotton. it is great for use in light summer clothing and home decor.
- Silk – luxurious and shiny fabric made from silkworm cacoon, often used for high-end underwear, blouses and dresses. Can be woven or knit.
- Wool – one of the most popular and versatile natural fabrics. it can be knitted or woven. Woollen fabrics are often made into suits, coats and tailored skirts and trousers. Very soft and breathable merino wool knits are mostly used for baby wear and luxury underwear.
- Polyester and nylon – synthetic woven or knit fabrics. It is durable and generally creese-resistant. It is a popular choice for big mainstream apparel companies which manufacture cheap and often low quality clothing.