The list of fabrics available in the market is endless. What are the most popular fabrics and why? Versatility, durability and ease of care are some of the reasons. Read on for a list of the world’s most popular textiles, their uses and care, and what makes them so sought after.
1. Cotton leads the group as the most popular fabric in the world. It is a natural fiber from the cotton plant and is versatile and easy to care for. Cotton has been cultivated for over 7,000 years and its popularity only grows as time goes on. It is often mixed with other fibers to create clothes that last longer and wash better. Common cotton fabrics include denim, gingham, canvas, and drapery. Cotton can absorb up to 27 times its own weight in water; it is machine washable and can withstand high temperatures; picks up and retains dye color easily; and it is strong and durable. Cotton can be used to make shirts, dresses, skirts, pants, jackets, children’s clothing, curtains, and other window treatments.
2. Flax, made from the fibers of the flax plant, has been coveted for many thousands of years. Linen has always been a symbol of purity and wealth. Produced in small quantities, this luxurious fabric is valued for its coolness and freshness in hot climates and its remarkable ease of care. Linen is a strong, cool fabric that does not adhere to the skin and is two to three times stronger than cotton. Linen can absorb moisture without feeling damp. If a warm breeze blows a skirt or dress made of linen fabric, your skin will feel cool to the touch. Premium bedding has no grooves (those little knots running through the fabric) and features an evenly smooth texture that is beautiful to the touch. Linen can be used in home décor and in men’s and women’s clothing such as skirts, dresses, blouses, and shirts. Bedding can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can be hung to dry and left with a slightly wrinkled look which is part of the fabric’s charm.
3. Polyester is a popular synthetic fabric that has many advantages over its natural counterparts. While synthetic clothing in general is perceived by many to have a less natural feel, polyester offers superior wrinkle resistance, durability, and machine washable ability. Polyester is often mixed with other yarns to create wonderful fabrics that combine the benefits of both textiles, such as elegant uniform fabrics and professional clothing. Synthetic fibers can also create materials with superior resistance to water, wind and the environment compared to fibers of plant origin.
4. Wool fiber comes from sheep and other animals such as cashmere and mohair from goats and angora from rabbits. Wool is bulkier than other fabrics and retains heat well, making it perfect for cold climates. Wool is generally specified for garments for firefighters, soldiers, and others in occupations where they are exposed to the likelihood of fire because it ignites at a higher temperature than cotton or other fabrics. Wool is resistant to static electricity, so wool garments are much less likely to spark or stick to the body. Australia is the leading producer of wool, especially high-quality Merino from the eponymous sheep. Wool can be used in high-quality suits and various types of men’s and women’s outerwear and clothing.
5. Leather is a flexible and durable material that is created when animal skins are transformed through a process called tanning. Most of today’s leather is tanned using chrome tanning, a process discovered in 1858. Chrome tanning is more flexible and malleable than vegetable tanned leather, and does not fade or lose shape as drastically in water as leather. tanned with vegetables. Most of the leather is made from cowhide, but there are many other types of leathers available, such as suede, aniline, Corinthian, and patent leather. Leather is a versatile material that can be used in upholstery and clothing, including car interiors, furniture coverings, skirts, pants, jackets, shoes, bags, and other accessories.