It’s no secret that the world’s softest garment fiber comes from a docile and adorable animal called the Angora Rabbit. Angora is known for its softness, thin fibers, and what knitters refer to as a halo (fluffiness). It is also known for its silky texture. It is much warmer and lighter than wool due to the hollow core of the angora fiber. It also gives them their characteristic floating feel. Angora wool is normally mixed when knitted into clothing, with other soft fibers such as silk, cashmere, mohair, or sheep’s wool.
Hemp is an extremely durable, fast growing sustainable fiber that is drought tolerant. And unlike conventionally grown cotton, it doesn’t require massive quantities of pesticides and fertilizers to grow well. Bottom line: hemp is a ‘super fiber.’ That’s why more and more progressive, high-profile companies are starting to use hemp. Hemp products will outlast their competition by many years – not only is it strong, but hemp holds its shape. This means less stretching and more durability. The more hemp is used, the softer it gets. In fact, hemp doesn’t wear out, it wears in! Hemp is naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light. Blended with other fibers, hemp incorporates the desirable qualities of both textiles. The above qualities all point to hemp as being a smart, durable substitute for other natural fibers.
Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticide, GMOs or fertilizers and therefore is less harmful to farmers and workers, consumers, and entire wildlife eco-systems. It has the same benefits as regular cotton but since it is organic, it is good for people with allergies and chemical sensitivity. By using organic cotton, the ecological footprint is minimized while comfort and style is maintained.
Wool is a protein fibre formed in the skin of sheep, and is thus one hundred percent natural, not man-made. There are many types of wool that are named after the sheep the fiber is derived from. Benefits of wool include the following: wool has the most absorbent fibers of all fabrics and can absorb up to 30% of their weight without feeling heavy or damp which make wool fabrics comfortable to wear in warm and cold weather, wool fabrics clean easily because dirt sits on the surface of the fiber, in addition, wool fabrics resist wrinkles, are durable, and naturally flame-retardant, and are easy to sew. Overall wool and wool blend are different but both are good choices.
As a material, bamboo is incredibly versatile. It can be woven into a soft fabric, comparable to silk, or used as a building material in a home. In fabrics, it is more successful than cotton in a number of genres, especially due to its incredible moisture-wicking capabilities. Raincoats, gloves, hats, and even workout clothes made from bamboo keep the skin dry and warm while water is easily wicked away.
Linen is made from the fibers of the flax plant. When it is made into garments, it is valued for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. It is admired because it is available in in a variety of textures which adds charm and trendiness to attire. Linen-clothing can last longer because of its characteristics; such as high strength and durability. Linen-clothing can be worn in any kind of weather. It can even be worn in a hot and humid weather, because it is highly absorbent. Linen clothing can be washed and dried easily. It can even be hand-washed which makes the fiber softer. It does not stretch or elongate but keeps in shape even after routine washes, hanging and ironing.
Polyester is a synthetic fiber that is made from synthesized polymers. Polyester clothing has a lot of advantages: it lasts a long time and wears very well, it is very hard to stain, it holds it shape and does not wrinkle, it can be washed or dry cleaned. It does not yellow. It takes a smaller amount of laundry soap to clean it. While it does not absorb moisture, it does wick it away for evaporation so in many cases it is cooler than cotton. Polyester fibers can provide specific advantages over natural fibers, such as improved wrinkle resistance, durability and high color retention. As a result, polyester fibers are sometimes spun together with natural fibers to produce a cloth with blended properties.
Tencel, a biodegradable material made from wood pulp cellulose, is a fiber type specially developed for use in knitted fabrics. Some main characteristics of tencel fibers are that they are soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles; tencel fabric can be machine- or hand-washed or dry-cleaned, it drapes well, and it can be dyed many colors, and can simulate a variety of textures such as suede, leather, and silk. Often said to be environmentally friendly, it is fully biodegradable and made from trees managed for sustained harvest. When blended with other fibers such as wool, cotton or linen, tencel can produce a variety of textures. Since tencel is derived from nature, the properties of this fiber are very much like cotton and make it an ideal partner for blends with cotton.
Cashmere wool, usually simply known as cashmere, is a fiber obtained from Cashmere goats and other types of goat. Cashmere is luxurious and fashionable and is also a durable and practical investment. Cashmere travels well and doesn’t wrinkle. It offers great insulation; is warm in the winter and cool in the spring. Cashmere is long lasting; it actually becomes softer with age and rarely pills after being worn and washed. It should last a lifetime.
Gold and silver have been used since ancient times as yarns for fabric decoration. More recently, metallic fibers have been manufactured from metals and metal coated plastics to add brilliance to fashion. Metallic yarns are woven, braided, and knit into many fashionable fabrics and trims. For additional variety, metallic yarns are twisted with other fibers such as wool, nylon, cotton, and synthetic blends to produce yarns which add novelty effects to the end fabric or trim.
Rayon is the oldest manufactured fiber and is classified as a “manufactured” fiber and has the same comfort properties as natural fibers. It is derived from naturally occurring cellulose but, because the cellulose requires extensive processing to become rayon, it is generally considered synthetic. It can imitate the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton and linen. The fibers are easily dyed in a wide range of colors. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent. Rayon is a versatile fiber and is frequently found in blends with polyester, nylon, and acrylic—all of which are synthetics and heat sensitive. These fibers generally contribute the strength, wrinkle resistance, and ease of care that rayon on its own tends to lack.
Viscose is a unique form of wood cellulose. Rayon is one of the most common and popular uses of viscose, which is used for many types of clothing and other textile products. Such rayon has a silky appearance and feel, yet breathes in a manner similar to cotton weaves. Rayon fabrics are soft, smooth, cool, comfortable, and highly absorbent. Rayon is a versatile fiber and is frequently found in blends with polyester, nylon, and acrylic—all of which are synthetics and heat sensitive. These fibers generally contribute the strength, wrinkle resistance, and ease of care that rayon on its own tends to lack.
Cotton is often referred to as “the fabric of our lives” and for good reason. The benefits of cotton are numerous, but the main one is the fact that it is hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, which means is the best choice of material for people who suffer from asthma or allergies, or those who have sensitive skin prone to irritation. Natural fabrics allow for better air circulation, which helps remove and absorb body moisture, drawing heat away from the skin and keeping the body cool and dry. Also, because this clothing breathes better, it’s the best choice to keep you cool in hot, humid weather. When it comes to production, cotton fibers are easy to dye and blend with other fibers. As for choosing a long-lasting fabric, cotton comes in on top as well. Cotton is the only fiber that becomes stronger when wet, and it’s the preferred choice in hospitals, since it can endure high temperatures and be sterilized. Cotton clothing is the ideal wash-and-wear fabric. It is also the preferred choice for firefighter uniforms, since it can be coated with flame-retardant substances.
Modal is a type of rayon, a semi-synthetic cellulose fiber made from reconstituted cellulose from beech trees. There are a number of advantages for the fiber. It is about 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, color-fast when washed in warm water, and is shrink resistant. It is smooth and soft, though some perceive it to have a synthetic texture. It also has a chine and when dyed colors are bright and intense. When used with other fibers, modal significantly increases the softness factor as the test shows. Softness affects the drape, hand, slinkiness, and creasing behavior.
Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by certain insect’s cocoons. There are many advantages of silk that have rightly earned silk its reputation as the queen of fabrics. Due to its natural protein structure, silk is the most hypoallergenic of all fabrics. Silk’s elegant, soft lustre, smooth and soft texture, and beautiful drape make it an ideal choice for clothing fabrics. In spite of its delicate appearance, silk is relatively robust in fact it is the strongest of natural fibers. Its smooth surface resists soil and odors well. Silk is wrinkle and tear resistant, and dries quickly. In addition, it mixes well with other animal and vegetable fibers.
Space dyeing is a technique used to give yarn a unique, multi-colored effect. While a typical skein of yarn is the same color throughout, a skein of space dyed yarn is two or more different colors that typically repeat themselves throughout the length of the yarn. Space dyed yarn is sometimes referred to as dip dyed yarn. Space dyeing yarn in coordinating colors, such as various neutral tones or assorted shades of blue, provides a subtle yet sophisticated look. Space dyed yarn in contrasting shades, such as yarn that is purple, red, and blue, offers a funkier feel.
Nylon is an entirely synthetic fabric that has paved the way for easy-care garments. Originally intended to be a man-made cost effective replacement for silk, nylon has a soft hand and supple nature that has extended its reach into a vast array of applications, from clothing to carpets to guitar strings. Some advantages of nylon include the variation of luster: nylon has the ability to be very lustrous, semi lustrous or dull. Other characteristics that have made nylon fabric and nylon fabric blends so popular include its rugged durability, stretch and elasticity, resistant to tears and abrasions, resistant to heat and water, resistant to molds, mildew, and chemical damage, and that it melts instead of catching fire. Nylon is often blended with spandex to achieve wonderfully elastic and comfortable materials that are visually striking yet economically efficient.
Sorona is DuPont’s brand of polyester is made from naturally occurring starch in the kernels of corn that often serves as an alternative to nylon. One of the best features of Sorona is that it enhances the attributes of other fibers used in sustainable clothing. Sorona fiber can be blended with any other fiber, including cotton, linen, wool, nylon and polyester. In cotton and linen blends, Sorona provides softness and comfort stretch with less wrinkles. Wool’s softness and durability are enhanced when blended with Sorona. Sorona fibers add exceptional softness and drape, comfort stretch and recovery, moisture management as well as UV and chlorine resistance.
Supima is a type of cotton made of 100% American Pima cotton that is strictly controlled by the grower organization Supima.. Often referred to as “the cashmere of cottons”, Supima surpasses other cottons in softness, strength, and brilliance of color. Supima cotton has a longer staple length which increases softness and luster. Fewer fiber ends are exposed, minimizing the effects of abrasion resulting in less pilling. Supima is up to 45% stronger than regular cottons which make Supima products extraordinarily resilient without compromising drape and comfort. Supima also absorbs and retains color better than regular cottons. This means that Supima products retain their brilliance over many years of use. Supmia enchances regular cotton when blended with it.