Fabric Material Explained

Cotton – Is a light weight breathable fabric that is most commonly used for non-technical apparel and textiles.  It is great for casual wear however, it is not great at repelling moisture or retaining heat.  It is also highly absorbent and slow drying making it a poor choice for cold, wet environments or intense physical activity.

 

Nylon - is a synthetic fabric made through a chemical process called ring opening polymerization, in which a molecule with a cyclic shape is opened and flattened. When stretched, the fibers even out, thin, and smooth until they reach a point at which they have no more give, yet are still very strong.  After nylon is extruded in a thread form, it is drawn or stretched after it cools to make long, even fibers. It was developed by the Dupont Company as an alternative to silk.

Lightweight, Durable, and Strong: The strength of nylon comes from amide groups in its molecular chain, which bond together very well. It also has a very regular shape, which makes it well suited to creating fabrics designed to stand up to intense forces. In fact, it was the primary material used in parachutes and ropes during World War II for this reason. It is also used for bulletproof vests and other hard wearing items. It's a flexible textile, and as a result, it appears in a wide range of applications, from clothing to climbing equipment. Depending on how it is processed, nylon can be formed into the fine threads used in stockings or into thick toothbrush bristles while retaining its strength.

Heat sensitive and quick drying: Nylon is very sensitive to heat and should be washed and dried on cool settings. The fabric can also be hung dry, and it is favored by outdoor enthusiasts because it dries very quickly.

 

Polyester: Polyester is a strong fiber that is hydrophobic (water repellent) in nature. It’s ideal for clothing to be used in wet and damp environments. The fabric is also coated with a water-resistant finish and further intensifies the hydrophobic nature.

Properties of Polyester: 

Very durable and strong: resistant to most chemicals, stretching and shrinking, wrinkle resistant, mildew and abrasion resistant. High tenacity and good durability makes polyester the choice of fabric for high stress outdoors use.

Creating insulation: It can be used for insulation by manufacturing hollow fibers.  Air is trapped inside the fiber, which is then warmed by the heat of the body. This keeps the body warm in cold weather. Another method to build insulation is to use crimped polyester in a fiberfill. The crimp helps keep the warm air in. Polyester is an ideal fabric for this kind of insulation because it retains its shape. Cotton and wool tend to flatten over a period of time and loose the warming effect.

Shape retention and easy-care: Polyester retains its shape and hence is good for making outdoor clothing for harsh climates. It is also wrinkle resistant and is used very often in everyday clothing like pants, shirts, tops, skirts and suits. Used either by itself or as a blend, it is also stain resistant and hence very popular. Polyester clothing can be machine washed and dried. Adding a fabric softener generally helps. Polyester can also be dry-cleaned with no hassles.

 

Woven- Woven Fabrics are made from two pieces of yarn that are stretched over a loom and woven together. The benefits are that its thinner, doesn’t snag as easily, lighter, and wind resistant.

Knit- As opposed to woven fabrics, knit fabric is made by intertwining yarn or thread in a series of connected loops either by hand, with knitting needles, or on a machine. They tend to be looser, lighter, more comfortable,  and easier to wash. However, they also shrink and stretch more.  

Jersey Knit- a stretchy, knit fabric usually made with cotton or cotton/synthetic blend fibers.

The right side of jersey is smooth, with the knit stitches all showing on the surface of the fabric, giving a flat, uniform appearance. The back of jersey shows all the purl stitches, with a more textured appearance. Most t-shirts are made with this.

Twill – a type of fabric characterized by a pattern of diagonal parallel lines. More wrinkle-resistant and durable than plain woven fabric. Example: Denim

Oxford Weave- characterized by a basket-weave pattern that gives the fabric a slightly rough texture. Example: Casual button down shirt

Chambray- a lightweight fabric usually made from cotton or synthetic fibers, characterized by a plain weave with white threads across a colored warp.  Shirts, shorts.

Canvas- a closely woven, heavy-weight and durable fabric, usually made from natural fibers (cotton, linen, hemp.  Characterized by its even plain-weave (threads are the same size)           

Heather Yarns- yarns that are spun using different colored fibers to create a vari-colored effect

 

Lining fabrics:

 

Tricot- a soft and flexible knit fabric usually made of nylon that allows the body to breathe. It is non-elastic, and can hold its shape for a longer period of time. Vertical ribs are seen on the front. Meanwhile, horizontal ribs are usually found on the back.

Satin - a woven fabric that typically has a glossy surface and a smooth hand feel.

Taffeta - a crisp, smooth, plain woven fabric made from silk or rayon. Stiffer, holds shape better than satin.

 

Dye/Treatment/Finishing

Yarn-Dye - The dyeing of the yarns before they have been woven or knitted into fabrics. Yarn dyeing is used to create interesting checks, stripes and plaids with different-colored yarns in the weaving process. In yarn dyeing, dye penetrates the fibers in the core of the yarn. Mainly used for heather colored tees, patterns.

Garment-Dye - when a garment is dyed after it has been produced/made/finished.

Brushed/Peached face fabric- fabric that has been sanded or brushed to create a soft-to-the-touch feel. Looking at the material through the lens of a microscope, the material will appear to have a small layer of fuzz on the top, much like the fuzz that is found on the outside of the peach peel.

 

Material Properties

 

Wicking- Causing fluid or moisture to be pulled away from a surface

 

 

Permeability- The ability of a textile to allow air or water vapor to pass through it. Varies by fabric type and treatment.

 

WR (Water Repellency)- The ability of a material to resist water (not to be confused with waterproof).

 

DWR (Durable Water Repellency) - A coating added to fabrics to make them water-resistant. DWR coatings are commonly used in conjunction with water resistant breathable fabrics to prevent the outer layer of fabric from becoming saturated with water. Durable water-repellent finishes tend to wear off over time, and fabrics need to be re-treated to maintain water-repellency. Washing the garment first helps any DWR that remains to work better; a subsequent treatment with a 'spray-on' or 'soak-in' treatment will improve water-repellency.

 

Bonded- A non-woven fabric in which fibers are attached together by a bonding material (usually an adhesive). Joining a face or shell fabric to a fleece backing allows us to combine the comfort and style characteristics of a variety of fabrics-some with enhanced performance properties, others for style.

Softshell- Garment made of a smooth-faced, stretchy, tightly-woven fabric that usually consists of nylon blended with elastane. They are renowned for their unrestrictive range of motion, body-hugging fit, superb breathability, wind and water resistance (to varying degrees), quietness (no rustling as you walk around) and often stylish appearance.

 

PU coating- A polyurethane coating applied to one side of a fabric to make it waterproof. Commonly found on rainwear.

 

Laminated Fabric- A two-layer textile construction comprised of a polymer film bonded to a fabric. Makes fabric water-resistant.

RPET- stands for Recycled Polyethelene Terephtalate.  Polyethelene Terephtalate (PET), or more commonly known as #1 Plastic, is a strong, durable, and recyclable material that is used for soda bottles, water bottles, and food containers. Recycled PET containers are shredded and transformed into pellets that are spun into thread in order to create fabric. RPET fabric is strong, water-resistant, color-fast, lightweight, wrinkle resistant, and of course, environmentally friendly! Found in our tees and basic fleece.

 

2 Layer (2L) fabric = waterproof membrane + outer material laminated together, with a separate fabric or mesh liner that hangs inside the jacket. Most comfortable and versatile

 

2.5 Layer (2.5L) fabric= waterproof membrane + outer material laminated together, but with a printed or sprayed on partial liner. Most lightweight, flexible, and packable

 

3 Layer (3L) fabric= lining + waterproof membrane + outer material laminated together.  Most durable and breathable

 

 

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