Defining Fibers

Definitions for Common Woven Fibers.

 

ACRYLIC- Is a man-made fiber from a petroleum by-product.  Can be either solution or yarn dyed.  It’s bulky yet light weight.  Acrylic resists moths.  Solution dyed version can have UV additives to resist sun degradation (ex. Sunbrella®) prior to extruding. See Acrylic Fabrics

 

COTTON- Is a soft, white, downy seed pod, called a boll that grows on the cotton plant.  Farmers harvest the bolls and bale them for shipping.  The spinner then cards the cotton bolls which removes the seeds, combs/aligns the fibers, without twisting, into a silver.  The silver is taken to the spinning frame where it’s spun into yarn.  Cotton yarns are dyed after their formation. See Cotton Fabrics

 

FIBER- The fundamental unit comprising a raw textile material such as cotton, wool, etc.  Fibers may be elongated single celled seed hairs like cotton; elongated multicellular structures such as wool; an aggregation of elongated cells like flax; man-made filaments like nylon, polyester, or rayon.  Fiber originally meant spinnable material including the natural fibers and short sections of man-made filaments.  Such fibers have a length which is many times as great as their diameter.  In order to be spun into a yarn, a fiber must possess sufficient length, strength, pliability, and cohesiveness.

 

LINEN- Is the yarn made from the flax plant.  Along with being a strong fiber, it’s also extremely absorbent and resists moths. Linen is the oldest known fabric. 

 

NYLON- Is a man-made fiber from petroleum by-products.  Can be either solution or yarn dyed.  Being a strong fiber, it resists abrasion with minimal stretch and excellent recovery.  Nylon is quick drying, prevents mildew build up, and resists sun deterioration better than other fibers.  Examples of nylon constructions can be found on luggage, back packs, seat belts and carpeting.  See Nylon Fabrics

 

OLEFIN- Is a man-made fiber from petroleum by-products.  Can only be solution dyed.  Being a strong fiber, olefin resists abrasion, is quick drying and mildew resistant.  After its lifespan, olefin products can be recycled into car parts (such as radiators & fill caps), flower pots and more. See Olefin Fabrics

 

POLYESTER- Is a man-made fiber from petroleum by-products.  Can be either solution or yarn dyed.  Being a strong fiber, it resists abrasion with minimal stretch and excellent recovery.  Polyester is quick drying, mildew and wrinkle resistant.  Along with being recyclable at the end of the fabric’s life span, yarn can be made from recycled products such as post-industrial/pre-consumer and/or post-consumer waste.  See Polyester Fabrics

 

POLYOLEFIN- Term is used two ways. 1) Can define a blended polyester and olefin fabric.  2) An alternate term for 100% olefin or polypropylene fabric or fibers.  See Polyolefin Fabrics

 

RAYON- A manufactured fiber composed of cellulose (assorted wood pulps including bamboo).  Being highly absorbent, rayon takes dyestuff well.  Its “silk like” fibers provides a soft hand when used in a textile.  See Rayon Fabrics

 

SILK- The only natural fiber that comes in a filament form; from 300 to 1600 yards in length as reeled from the silk worm’s cocoon, cultivated or wild.  Along with being a strong fiber, silk self-extinguishes when exposed to a flame, is lightweight, and takes dyestuff well.

 

WOOL- Fiber which comes from sheared sheep.  Along with being self-extinguishing when exposed to a flame, wool wicks away moisture, dyes easily, resists soil, is wrinkle free, and blends well with other fibers.


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