Fabrics are crocheted and woven from yarns, and yarns are made of fibers. There are two types of natural fibers; animal fibers and vegetable fibers. Silk, wool and angora are examples of animal fibers while cotton and linen are vegetable fibers. . At the end of the nineteenth century, artificial silk (viscose) was invented: a semi-synthetic fiber. The first complete synthetic fiber came on the market 1938. This was; nylon or poly-amide, made from petroleum and sprayed into yarn. After that, other synthetic and natural yarns have been discovered and upgraded. Each have their own qualities.
Cotton is everywhere. Cotton is made from cotton plant. It is a staple fiber. The dust quality depends greatly on the fiber length and the number of turns during spinning. Twill weaves and plain weaves are common methods of producing cotton materials. The weaving method determines the look and feel.
Characteristics of cotton fabric are; i. It has high absorption, ii. It is very comfortable, iii. It has long durability.
Examples of cotton fabric are; satin, shirting, voile, Swiss cotton, etc.
Shirting fabric is a broad term used to refer to fabric suitable for making shirts. Where the fabric is generally tightly woven and less sheer, making them an ideal shirt weight and not transparent.
Satin is a staple fabric for special occasion, satin has a lustrous, shiny surface and a matte back. With it’s glossy and smooth surface, Satin is an ideal choice for evening wear, wedding gowns, and formal occasions. The fabric is exceptionally soft with a beautiful drape. It is also 100% polyester and machine washable.
Voile is a soft, sheer fabric, usually made of 100% cotton or cotton blended with linen or polyester.These fabrics are also popular in home decor projects and make beautiful lightweight window treatments. Similar to chiffon, voile is a suitable fabric for making clothes like gowns for hot and warm season.
Maintenance of cotton fabric: (i)Most cotton fabrics can be starched and ironed. (ii)It has ability to crease, shrink and disperse into laundry. (iii)It is preferable to wash new cotton clothes separate and should not be more than 30 degrees warm.
Linen is a fabric spun from fibers of flax stems. The production process is similar to that of cotton, but flax fibers are longer and rough. Linen occurs in blends with other natural or synthetic yarns. Linen materials can be used to make; clothes, home and furnishing items (wall coverings, bed coverings, towels,upholstery, window blinds), apparels (suits, skirts, shirts), industrial products (luggage, canvases, sewing thread). In ancient Egypt, mummies were wrapped in linen as a display of wealth and as a symbol of light and cleanliness. Linen is usually an expensive fabric and it is mostly produced in small quantities.
Characteristics of linen are; (i) it has ability to absorb moisture. (ii) some linen are stiff and rough, while some are smooth and feels cool to touch, (iii) it wrinkles easily,(iv) it is a natural material and therefore not color-resistant .
Maintenance: (i) linen clothes should be ironed after washing, (ii) linen should be washed separate and not with hot water,(iii) bleach spoils linen fabrics (iv) wash linen clothing when they come in contact with sweat. sweat spoils linen fabric.
Shaved hair from (mostly) a sheep. Wool has scales that cling together, making the spin easy. Flat fabrics are woven, but ready-made garments are knitted. From merino suits to cashmere senator wears, there is no design place where wool fabric can’t go. The wool quality depends on the animal that has supplied the raw material. Common types are: cashmere from cashmere goat, merino from merino sheep, mohair from angora goat, etc.
Cashmere: The extremely soft and super hot cashmere is obtained from the cashmere goat. Highly reveled as the top tier of wool. Softer than traditional wool, it is smooth and light with rare insulation properties. It is expensive because it is rare. One goat produces a maximum of 300 grams of wool per year.
Mohair: Nickname ‘Diamond Fiber’. It is made from the hair of the Angora goat. Mohair is one of the oldest known natural fibers used in textiles. It takes dye exceptionally well. Mohair is warm in winter as it has excellent insulating properties, while remaining cool in summer due to its moisture twisting properties. It’s often used in fiber blends to add quality to a textile. It is an expensive fabric.
Merino: It is obtained from the hair of merino sheep. Merino is one of the worlds oldest breeds of sheep, and produces an extremely versatile wool. It is a great fabric to wear throughout the seasons as it breathes in the hot season and will keep you warm in the harmattan season. Its quite expensive.
Maintenance of wool: Do not brush fabric, brushing may permanently damage the nap or change the character of the fabric. Wool should be washed with cold water with a mild detergent. Wool should be washed carefully to prevent it from shrinking and fading. Pillow wool can be carefully shaved with a bone razor or with a special device.