Synthetic/Man-Made Fibers
Synthetic or man-made fibers are created through a variety of chemical processes.


Acetate

    Fabric characteristics
    Acetate fabrics drape well and are smooth, silk-like, and lustrous.

    Positive qualities
    Acetate dyes well, is stretch resistant, dries quickly, and resists shrinking.

    Drawbacks
    Acetate is a relatively weak fiber, it can wrinkle easily, and it’s not very absorbent.

    Care requirements
    Acetate fabrics often need to be dry-cleaned, but they can sometimes be hand or machine washed
    (read your care label). Use a low iron temperature.


Acrylic

    Fabric characteristics
    Acrylic has a springy texture that resembles wool.

    Positive qualities
    Acrylic is strong, holds in body heat, and is wrinkle resistant. It takes dye well, and dries quickly.

    Drawbacks
    Acrylic is not very absorbent and tends to pill.

    Care requirements
    Acrylic fabrics can usually be laundered, but dry cleaning may be recommended for some. Acrylic
    usually doesn’t need ironing if removed promptly from the dryer. If ironing is needed, use a moderate
    temperature.


Nylon

    Fabric characteristics
    Nylon is a smooth fiber with a lustrous look and feel. It’s available in a range of weights and textures
    and is often used for linings and foundation garments.

    Positive qualities
    Nylon is strong, yet lightweight, and elastic. It resists wrinkles and shrinkage, and dries quickly.

    Drawbacks
    Nylon is not very absorbent, tends to pill, and can yellow.

    Care requirements
    Nylon fabrics can usually be washed by hand or machine, and either air-dried or tumbled dry at a low
    temperature. Use a low iron temperature.


Polyester

    Fabric characteristics
    Polyester comes in a range of weights and textures. It is often combined with other fibers to make a
    fabric more durable, easier to care for, or less expensive.

    Positive qualities
    Polyester is strong and wrinkle resistant. It doesn’t shrink, keeps its shape, and dries quickly.

    Drawbacks
    Polyester is not very absorbent and can pill.

    Care requirements
    Polyester fabrics are usually machine washable. They usually don’t need ironing if removed promptly
    from the dryer.


Rayon

    Fabric characteristics
    Rayon fabrics tend to be soft and have a nice drape. They come in a range of weights and textures.

    Positive qualities
    Rayon is highly absorbent, holds in body heat, and takes dye well.

    Drawbacks
    Rayon wrinkles easily and can shrink or stretch if laundered.

    Care requirements
    Dry-cleaning is recommended for some rayon fabrics, but some can be hand washed (read your care
    label). White rayon can be bleached. Iron rayon using a moderate temperature. Either iron it damp on
    the wrong side or press on the right side using a press cloth.


Spandex

    Fabric characteristics
    Often known by the brand name Lycra, spandex is a flexible fiber, usually combined with other fibers
    to give fabric elasticity. It is often used for swimwear, exercise wear, and foundation garments.

    Positive qualities
    Spandex is lightweight and elastic with excellent recovery.

    Drawbacks
    Spandex is not absorbent and can yellow.

    Care requirements
    Some spandex must be hand washed, some can be machine washed and tumbled dry (read your care
    label). Do not bleach spandex. Use a low iron temperature.


<<Back to Fabric Fibers Part One
Privacy Policy         Legal           About           Contact           Site Map
Sewing Information, Advice, How-to
Fabric Fibers - Part 2