How Well Do You Know Your Fabrics?


Having a distinctive knowledge about what your garments are made from gives you an edge when buying and sewing them. Understanding their components helps you to better maintain them and wear them for the right season. The first and basic question is this; what are FABRICS?
FabricFABRICS: they are basically materials made from fibres. They are either woven or knitted. Their compositions are generally animal fibres (wool and silk), plant fibres (cotton and linen) or man-made fibres (nylon). It is also good to note that knitted fabrics are stretchier than the woven ones. Just about everything worn have their raw materials as fabrics.
With this knowledge and understanding of what fabrics are, we can much more be enlightened by their types. They are adequately listed below:

  • COTTON: the most versatile fabric, it is made from plant fibres. Majority of your everyday garments such as shirts, skirts, trousers and Jean are made from it. Denims, Moleskin and Corduroy are all generally made from cotton. It is very cheap to attain as raw materials.
  • COTTON JERSEY: knitted by machine from fine cotton thread, this fabric is what your Tees (T-Shirt) are made from. It gives the utmost comfortability because it is accommodative and stretchy. The down side to this fabric is that it is not easy to sew.
  • LINEN: since it is woven, it is easy to sew and comes in variety of weights. It tends to crease a lot and is often blended with cotton. It is mainly used for summer clothes and it is quite expensive.
  • SILK: very expensive to get and difficult to sew due its nature; animal fibre. They are shiny, slippery woven fabrics and mostly used for luxury underwear, blouses and dresses.
  • WOOL: this special fabric can be knitted or woven. The woven fabrics are often manufactured into cooperate suits, coats and even posh skirts and trousers. They are fairly expensive and are most times dry cleaned.
  • POLYESTER AND POLYCOTTON: they are synthetic woven fabrics, generally light-weight and crease resistant. Poly cotton is just a blend of polyester and cotton, which makes them pretty cheap. Garments such as football jerseys are made from them.

We have been using the words woven and knitted a lot, which begs the question; what are their differences?

  • Knitted fabrics are specially made of one continuous thread (fibre count) while woven fabrics are made of two sets of individual strands.
  • Knitted fabrics are stretchy because of the loops in the fibres. Woven fabrics do not stretch because their fibres run at 45 degrees angle to one another.
  • Knitted fabrics include Jerseys, Towels, Mesh, Felt and Fleece. Woven fabrics include Linen, Denim, Chiffon, Corduroy and Tweed and Canvas.

Gabriel Adewale Balogun

Image consultant & Fashion Designer

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