Fabrics: Introduction and Fibers

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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.
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This page was last modified on: Tuesday, 2007-09-11 2:46 PST