It may be a little hard to tell how a fabric feels and looks when you just see it online or in pictures, but consider yourself lucky because were going to talk about fabrics in this post! A couple of important descriptors of a fabric are it’s “hand feel” and its drape. Hand feel is how the fabric feels, it could be soft like silk or heavy like wool. The drape of a fabric is how the fabric falls when you are wearing it. For example it could be stiff and jut out or it could be light and soft and fall in gathers. You can also discuss opacity of a fabric, is it sheer like chiffon or solid like jean material? Some fabrics we’re going to talk about today are: Silk, Wool, Cotton, and Knit Jersey. Let’s begin with the wovens (= fabric that is made by weaving on a loom and is made up of individual threads that are woven tightly together to make one piece of fabric): Silk, Wool, and Cotton.
Silk is thought to be the most luxurious fabric on earth. It is one of the strongest natural fibres, since it comes from silkworm larvae. The process of developing silk is very time consuming which is why it is so expensive. The hand feel of silk is very smooth and luxurious and even in a way resembles water when worn. There are a number of different varieties of silk, such as organza (sheer, bouncy, dry hand feel), chiffon (sheer, drapey, delicate hand feel), satin (drapey, smooth, soft hand feel). Silk was originally found in China in the 27th century BCE. But then the Silk Road opened up and began spreading silk to places like India and Europe. Silk is used for elegant dresses, ties, shirts, pyjamas, and even ski clothing because of its ability to contain body heat.
Wool, woven from the hair of sheep, is heavy and is great for winter. You can use it not only for clothing, but for blankets, carpeting, felt, and wool insulation. The hand feel of wool is furry, coarse, and a bit itchy! Its drape varies depending on the weave and can be made in many different weights. The production of wool began so long ago that it’s difficult to know exactly when it was invented, but it is generally assumed to be back in 6000BCE. Wool can be produced from other animals such as goats, muskoxen, and even from the hair of rabbits! Note: Cashmere =
Cotton is a soft and fluffy material (exactly like a cotton ball!) that grows on a shrub originating from the America’s, Africa, and India. Cotton was used as a woven fabric at least 7000 years ago and became Britain’s main export during the Industrial Revolution. Cotton is used in terrycloth that is used in bath towels and robes. It is also used in denim for jeans, socks, underwear, and most shirts. Cotton has a wide range of hand feel, the softest being Egyptian and Pima cotton. It has natural stretch but drapes fairly easily and is easy to work with. Cotton is great to wear in the summer since it’s naturally breathable.
Knit fabric is a soft and stretchy fabric that is often for essential clothing.There are two types of Knitted fabric: Weft-Knitted fabric and Warp-Knitted fabric. Weft Knitted fabric is made by looping together long lengths of yarn that go horizontally across the fabric. Weft Knitted fabric is soft and stretchy and is often used for making t-shirts, socks, and sweaters. However there are some differences betweenWeft-Knitted fabric and Warp-Knitted fabric. Weft-Knitted fabric can be made by hand or by machine while Warp-Knitted can only be done by machine. Warp-Knitted fabric is made by vertically locking together the loops. Warp-Knits aren’t as stretchy as Weft-Knits but is still very handy. It is used to make underwear,swimwear, geotextiles.