Introduction to Fabrics
Fabrics are a delight to the senses. The artist in fashion finds
the material she uses a thrill and an inspiration, for she is
aware that every aspect of a fabric will influence her finished
garment, and she knows how to use it with her own personal flair.
Her most valuable asset is that elusive sixth sense that can successfully
match style line with fabric texture, color, and character to
form a harmonious, pleasing, and flattering whole. While this
sense is to some extent instinctive, it can benefit by experience
and an understanding of the structure and origin of textiles.
They are not made by magic, though some of the procedures they
undergo may seem mysterious.
Every aspect of a fabrics history influences
its character and hand. Fluid, stiff, crisp, rough, soft, thick,
or shaggy, it will lend its personality to the design. From
fiber to yarn to cloth, from the loom to the finishing mill
to the fabric shop, each detail of its past is a fascinating
clue to the way it ultimately looks, acts, and feels. But its
characteristics are not limited to tactile and visual ones;
other considerations are those of care and performance. New
developments in fibers and finishes have given you fabrics that
lighten your laundry chores and keep you looking your most impeccable
self. Ask for information on fiber content and finishing treatments
that will help you choose the fabric on which you will spend so
much effort and time. Distinguish quality fabric not by prices,
but by a thorough understanding of the fiber content, the tightness
of the weave, the amount of twist and the structure of an individual
yarn, the finish performance and color treatment, which all have
a bearing on its quality. These factors determine the amount of
wear a fabric can withstand, how it will drape and fold, and whether
it is worthy to serve as your fashion signature.
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Where does fashion begin? The realization of a concept of silhouette,
texture, and color depends on the basic stuff of fabric—the fiber of which
it is made. Especially since the advent of synthetic fibers, textile classification
has developed into a bewildering maze of technical subtleties and chemical
terms. A basic understanding of the general fiber categories is an invaluable
aid in the practical business of buying and caring for fabrics. Although
its properties may be altered by yarn and fabric structure and by finishing
treatments, ultimately a fabric’s origin and chemistry are its soul. The
primary distinction in fiber types is a very simple one—a fiber is either
natural or man-made.