Choosing proper fabrics for your outfits is perhaps the most important step towards ultimately shaping your look, feeling and personality. For novice buyers, this can be a daunting task. It can be overwhelming to choose the most ideal clothing material or fabric with a wide array of materials usually available on the average market. As a matter of fact, even the color, sizing, longevity or ease of usage is dependent upon the composition of a fabric.
While you do not need a degree in fashion designing to understand about clothing materials, some basic knowledge about the same can help you choose the most ideal outfits for yourself and your loved ones.
First and foremost, one needs to understand the three basic categories of fibers. They are classified as plant based, animal based and man-made. The kind of fiber is detrimental to the characteristics of your final fabric.
Plant-based fibers – Cotton, linen, jute, etc. are some of the most popular plant-based fibers. They are on average dense fabrics that are easily dyeable, washable and pressable. They are also absorbent and do not dry easily.
Animal-based fibers – Wool, silk, cashmere, etc. are some of the most popular animal-based fibers. They are on average super light in weight as compared to plant-based fibers. They absorb well, are naturally elastic and easily dyeable. Washing them maybe a careful task.
Man-made fibers – Sometimes plant cellulose or other petroleum based synthetic fibers are used in making fibers/fabrics. Rayon, Tencel, polyester, nylon, spandex and acrylic are some of the popular man-made fabrics. They are incredibly elastic, moisture-wicking, durable and insulating or breathable. They are usually easy to care for.
All your fabric is basically a combination of fibers and yarns. Your outfits are either knitted or woven from yarns of all these different fiber types. Some of them might also be bonded together by other chemical or mechanical treatments. Your ultimate decision of choosing or understanding fabric depends on these pointers.
Woven Fabrics – Woven fabrics are made on a loom by interlacing several yarns at right angles to one another. There are different methods of weaving and each method determines the outcome of the fabric. Some of the different types of weaves are muslin, denim, satin, crepe, etc.
They are best for dresses, blouses, jeans, tops, etc. Patterns look great on woven fabrics since the warp and weft yarns run horizontally and vertically to each other at a 90-degree angle. They can be easily cut into various patterns.
Knitted Fabrics – While woven fabrics include interlacing yarns, knitted fabrics include interlocking yarns. First, loops are formed and then another row of loops is drawn through consecutive loops. They’re essentially interlocking loops of yarn.
They are best for t-shirts, dresses, comfort wear and much more. They are ultra-flexible and also ideal for socks, hats, etc.
Non-Woven Fabrics - All other fabrics that are not woven or knitted fall under this category. The fibers in non-woven fabrics are molded together by using chemicals, steam, heat or pressure. Sometimes, they are individual garments or fused to parts of your regular garments. For example, shirt cuffs, collars, etc. are non-woven fabrics since these fabrics give proper shape and stiffness.
They are great for coats, designer outfits, rain wear or other crafting purposes.
Density, prints, colours and more…
Weight, prints and colours of your fabric are also a major factor towards understanding or choosing fabrics. One can decide a heavy or light-weight fabric based on the colour and pattern. Most of your colours and patterns can be subjective. However, sometimes the density and thickness of your fabric can come into play. Brighter patterns may appreciate thicker fabrics better than lighter fabrics. You can always choose from three dimensional effects to simple monochrome looks.