Fabric Types, Content

Fashion fabrics come in wools, cottons, linen, polyester, silks, nylon, rayon, and blends of almost any combination you can think up. Most are woven or knitted into fabric, but some, like felts and fleeces are neither woven or knitted. Fabric choice is based on planned use. Content and care requirements are important considerations. 

Natural fabrics are made from plant and animal fibers such as wool, cotton, silk, linen. Natural fabrics "breathe" allowing better air circulation around the body. Cotton is great to wick perspiration from the body. Wool helps hold body heat, even if it is wet. Linen is similar to cotton, a wonderful light weight fabric that keeps the body cooler. All of these fabrics are available in various weights for different uses or seasonal wear.

Synthetic fabrics are man-made such as polyester and nylon. Synthetic fabrics resist shrinking, staining and are easy to wash and wear because they dry quickly and resist wrinkles. Synthetic fabrics do not breathe like natural fabrics. They also do not shrink as much. 

Rayon is made from wood fibers that have been manipulated with chemicals. It is not fully synthetic or natural. Natural fabrics tend to accept dyes easily while synthetic fabrics resist dyes. 

Natural fabrics are comfortable to wear but may require special handling. Cotton is washable, but will shrink and wrinkle so it has to be ironed. Wool shrinks when washed in water so it has to be dry cleaned. Linen wrinkles while it is being worn, it is beautiful when fresh cleaned and pressed but will wrinkle quickly. 

Blended fabrics take on properties from both the natural fabric and the synthetic fabrics. Washable wools are a wool/polyester blend. Cottons and linens that resist wrinkles are a poly/cotton or poly/linen blend. Stretch jeans are made from denim fabric, which is cotton blended with spandex which is a stretchable synthetic.   

Silks, rayons and some polyesters have amazing drape and work well in scarves, blouses, skirts, dresses and anything you want to drape and flow.  

When making a fabric choice, check the care requirements and test the drape to match the planned use.  It may also be advisable to purchase needles and pins that are specifically suited to your fabric. Experiment, enjoy the process, try new techniques. 

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