Material composition impacts our choice of clothing. In summer, we tend to prefer lightweight materials, but in winter we choose materials that will keep us warm. Some materials we know very well, but others not at all. That is why we provide a detailed description of material composition for every non-ordinary piece we offer to our #slovflowers, to help you with your choice.
We prepared a brief materials guide for the most common materials used in the textile industry. Our textile materials can be split into two groups – natural and synthetic materials. The natural material can further be split into plant-based and animal byproducts. Materials that were obtained from natural sources but are processed as synthetic materials form a specific category.
Properties: Bamboo fiber is strong and naturally antibacterial, therefore suitable for people with allergies and atopic eczema. Bamboo fiber is absorbent and cooling, similar to linen.
– plant-based material
– fiber from cotton plant
– international abbreviation for cotton – CO
Properties: Cotton is breathable, relatively strong and absorbent. It retains its durability even when wet. It is not very elastic and prone to wrinkles.
Cotton satin is made from combed cotton fibers. It is very soft, light, breathable and repels water. It is soft to touch.
Properties: Silk is hypoallergenic, breathable and soft, but very strong material. It has thermoregulatory properties – cooling in the summer and warm in the winter. Silk is not prone to wrinkles and has a pearly shine. It is a high-maintenance material.
Properties: Cashmere is an elastic, fine, soft and light material. It has thermoregulatory properties and is better at thermal insulation than merino wool.
Properties: Hemp fiber is strong and durable, but breathable. It has antibacterial and thermoregulatory properties – cooling in the summer and warm in the winter. Even after multiple washes it retains its original colour.
Properties: Cork is light, elastic, strong and durable material. It is waterproof and has thermal insulating properties. Cork is also hypoallergenic. It is easy to maintain – all you need is water and soap. It is a recycled material.
Properties: Leather is strong, elastic, durable, breathable and water-resistant. Its colour can change with use and it tends to get darker.
Properties: Linen textile is stronger and more durable, but less elastic. It is naturally smooth. People tend to prefer it mainly in summer, as it is breathable, saturating and cooling. Its main disadvantage is that it is very prone to wrinkles.
Properties: Merino wool is much softer than wool from regular sheep. It is warm, light and has thermoregulatory properties. It does not itch and is very soft to touch.
Properties: Mohair is characteristically glossy. Mohair clothing does not itch or shed. It is durable and very elastic.
Properties: Wool is thermoregulatory, therefore it is cooling in the summer and warm in the winter. Sheep wool is naturally elastic, breathable and soft to touch. It has antibacterial properties, therefore clothing made from wool does not smell after wearing it. Its advantage is that it can be easily recycled. Its disadvantage lies in the fact that it dries slowly and it is not suitable for people allergic to lanolin or people with atopic eczema.
Properties: Angora wool is one of the softest natural materials. It is lighter and warmer than sheep wool. Angora wool is known for its thin fibres, and what knitters refer to as a halo. The halo essentially refers to the yarn’s fluffiness, so each strand in a finished product looks like it has a layer of fluff surrounding it. Some of its disadvantages include limited elasticity and durability.
Properties: Alpaca wool is stronger and more durable than sheep wool. It is soft and breathable. It also has thermoregulatory properties. It is very soft to touch.
Properties: Lyocell clothing is light, breathable, glossy and shaded. Thanks to its smoothness and softness it is nice to touch. Lyocell is strong and elastic. It has good moisture absorption, and it is antibacterial because of its moisture management property. It is also biodegradable and compostable.
Tencel is a lyocell type made from eucalyptus wood. Its production is more eco-friendly than regular lyocell – the production uses several chemicals, but these are less toxic and recyclable, so it produces minimal waste.
Properties: Modal is a light, glossy and shaded fabric, which is very soft and fine. It retains its colour even after several washes. It is highly absorbent. Modal is soft to touch.
Micromodal (CMD) is a modal type, which combines the best properties of cotton with the softness of silk. It is a very fine, soft, breathable fabric that is not prone to wrinkles. It can absorb up to 2 times more sweat than regular cotton and it has antibacterial properties.
Properties: Washable paper is an eco-friendly leather alternative. It is an elastic and durable material, but it is still quite light. Despite it being paper, it can be washed, and its main advantage is that it is waterproof. A disadvantage is that it is not biodegradable.
Properties: Viscose is a soft and absorbent material that does not get static electricity. Its disadvantage is that it is prone to wrinkles and it is not very durable.
Properties: The strength and elasticity of acrylic is almost identical to that of wool. Unlike wool, it is not warm nor breathable and it retains unwanted smells. It is prone to creating lint balls and it gets static electricity, which also attracts dirt. On the other hand, it is very durable, easy to maintain and cheap to produce.
Properties: Elastane or spandex is an exceptionally elastic, strong and light fiber. Its advantage is that it is not prone to wrinkles. It is soft to touch.
Properties: Polyamide is light, elastic, strong and very durable. It is not prone to wrinkles. It is easy to maintain. Its disadvantage lies in its low thermoregulatory properties. It is also not very absorbent, its colour is prone to fading and it gets static electricity.
Properties: Polyester is durable, strong and light, and it is not prone to wrinkles. It is not very absorbent, but dries quickly. It is not as breathable as natural materials. However, it is a recycled textile material.
Properties: Softened PVC is elastic, durable and waterproof material. It contains chemicals, i.e., additives, which can cause an allergic reaction.
Properties: Technical satin is similar to cotton satin. It is glossy, smooth and soft to touch. Its disadvantages include its very low absorbency, and it is prone to getting static electricity.
Ministry of Economy of the Slovak republic Decree that specifies the details about labeling material content and processing of textile items is available at: www.epi.sk/zz/1999-18#p2
A list of international abbreviations can be found at: www.lmunderwear.sk/wiki/wiki-international-abbreviations.html
Information about the materials:
Clothing Production book available at: www.soslipany.sk/Projekty/ModerneMetody/Prilohy/aktivita_1.1/U%E8ebn%FD%20materi%E1l/UZ_Odevn%E1%20v%FDroba.pdf
The sources for the illustration photos can be found in the Impresum section.