Fibres and fabrics

Natural Fibres
Warmth
(comfort)
Absorbency
(comfort)
Comfort
(comfort)
Handle and drape
(aesthetics)
Strength
(functional)
Elasticity
(functional)
Aftercare
(functional)
Wool Warm to wear. Can absorb 33% its weight in water. Very slow drying. Fine wool, very comfortable. Coarse wool, scratchy. Very soft or coarse handle. Good drape. Medium strength, not durable. Very good. Creases drop out. Wash and iron with care, may shrink. Dry clean.
Silk Cool, but good insulation so warm as well. Fast, can absorb 33% its weight in water. Very comfortable. Soft handle and elegant drape. Good strength. Very good, creases drop out. Wash and iron with care, dry clean.
Cashmere Very warm. Excellent thermal insulation. Poor. Excellent, luxurious. Luxury handle, light and good drape. Durable, hardwearing. 10% stronger than wool. Good. Crease resistant. Use extreme care.
Mohair Good thermal insulation. 35% warmer than wool. Poor Excellent, luxurious. Luxury handle, light and good drape. Durable, hardwearing. 10% stronger than wool. Good. Crease resistant. Use extreme care.
Cotton Cool to wear unless brushed. Highly absorbent. Slow drying. Very comfortable unless wet. Soft handle. Good drape. Good strength, abrasion resistance, and durability. Poor. Creases easily. Wash, boil, iron damp. May shrink.
Angora Very warm. 2 X warmer than wool. Slow. Very soft. Soft handle. Average drape. Durable. Fair elasticity. Hand wash, cool. Do not tumble dry.
Manufactured Fibres
Warmth
(comfort)
Absorbency
(comfort)
Comfort
(comfort)
Handle and drape
(aesthetics)
Strength
(functional)
Elasticity
(functional)
Aftercare
(functional)
Viscose Low warmth. More absorbent than cotton. Comfortable to wear. Soft or firm handle. Good drape. Lower strength than cotton. Poor. Creases easily. Washable. Easy to iron.
Lyocell
high performance viscose fibre
Low warmth. Very good absorbency. Very comfortable Excellent handle. Good drape. Stronger than many types of polyester Poor. Disposable. Totally biodegradable, can be recycled.
Rubber
natural - form latex synthetic - form petrochemicals
Good, high warmth. Low absorbency. Uncomfortable. Warm, pliable and soft. Stretchy, poor drape. Good natural stretch. Excellent. Does not crease. Sensitive to light, oils, solvents and grease. Can’t be washed easily.
Acetate Low warmth. Low absorbency. Fast drying. Comfortable- but prone to static. Soft handle and elegant drape. Low strength. Higher than viscose, but creases. Wash and iron with care.
Polyester Low warmth, unless textured Very low absorbency. Fast drying. Comfortable and breathable. Soft or firm handle. Very strong. Very good. Crease resistant. Machine washable. Iron with care.
Aramid
(Kevlar)
Low warmth--heat resistance. Average. Flexible and comfortable Soft, flexible handle. Good drape. Five times stronger than steel. Flexible. Machine washable.
Polyamide
(Nylon)
Low warmth, unless textured Very low absorbency. Fast drying. Comfortable- but prone to static - breathable. Soft or firm handle. Very strong and abrasion resistant. Very good. Crease resistant. Machine washable. Iron with care.
Elastane
(Lycra)
Always used in blends. Absorbent. Dyes well. Adds stretch comfort. Soft or firm handle. Good strength. Very high. Crease resistant. Machine washable.
Chlorofibre
(polyvinyl)(PVC)
Provides warmth Low absorbency. Waterproof. Breathable and flexible. Strong, firm, fine handle. Very strong and durable. Flexible. Machine washable. Fast drying.
Polypropylene Low warmth. Non-absorbent. Soft when finely spun. Good drape. High strength. Durable. Good stretch. Crease resistant. Good soil and stain release.
Acrylic Warm to wear. Fast drying. Comfortable to wear. Very soft wool-like. Good strength. Very good. Crease resistant. Machine washable. Iron with care.

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