Did you know that the word textile comes from the Latin word “textilis”, which means “to weave”? Textiles encompass any filament, fiber, or yarn that can be made into fabric or cloth. Initially, the textile industry only included fabrics that could be woven. Today, however, with the latest definition, textiles encompass much more than weaving. They include lace, knitting, embroidery, bonding, cords, ropes, and anything that can produce a fabric. Here is a look at some of the most common fabrics used today.
This plant grows all across the world from India and Egypt to Africa and the United States. Cotton grows in tropical and subtropical regions. It has to be spun into yarn or thread and then, it can become a breathable textile. Cotton has been used since 6000 BC. Today, cotton comes in all different types of fibers and thread counts. Additionally, it comes in a variety of colors and levels of softness due to dies and production processes.
This beautiful and luxurious fabric comes from a protein fiber known as fibroin. Insect larvae form cocoons and upon completion of their metamorphosis, silk is created. Still, some web spinners and other insects create silk on a regular basis, throughout their lives. Silkworm pupae are commonly used to create commercial silks. Silkworms are preferred because they have the ability to color easily and produce a large, continuous thread, as compared to wild silks that have minerals on the surface and break up a bit. Silk has been used for thousands and thousands of years and has always been a labor-intensive fabric to use.
Quite a few fabrics and clothing items and blankets are made of polyester. This is a synthetic fabric. It typically comes from petroleum and is popular, because of its easiness to use and cultivate, as well as the inexpensive manufacturing methods. It is also often resistant to stains and will not shrink or stretch out of shape. It can be produced in four ways: filament, tow, staple, or fiberfill.
Velvet is a woven and tufted fabric. The cut threads have a short, but dense pile and the threads are evenly distributed. This gives the fabric an extra soft feel. Velvet can either be manufactured synthetically or naturally. It’s created through a weave on a specific loom. This loom has the capability of weaving two different thicknesses of fabric simultaneously. The history of this fabric dates back to the 1300s, where it was used by royalty.
Rayon is a very interesting fabric. It’s made from the regeneration of cellulose fibers. It uses natural things like wood and other natural products. There are various ways to create rayon. The other process means that the cellulose must solubilize. Some manufactures use alkali and carbon sulfide. Others use copper salts and some use the lyocell process.
Spandex is a synthetic material. People like spandex, because it has elasticity and will stretch. Many clothing items use some sort of fabric that has a little bit of spandex in it. Think about the face masks we’re all wearing right now in the pandemic. They scrunch up at the sides and stretch so that they can fit a wide variety of face sizes, as well as be comfortable when people speak while wearing them. Spandex is made from polyether-polyurea copolymer. It’s sometimes called Lycra or elastane. Polyurethane is the foundation material of spandex, created during WWII in Germany.
Linen is made from flax plants. It’s a popular material for people that work in hot temperatures, like the desert or even just outside in a hot climate. This material is comfortable and light. It dries fast and wrinkles, but is also strong and durable. Its use goes all the way back to Biblical times and Europe claims to see people using it 30,000 years ago.
Now, for the important question: What’s the favorite fabric here at Minky Mamas? Well, of course, all fabrics are great but we hold a special place in our hearts for polyester. Our soft and fluffy Minky fabric is almost entirely made up of it. It is how we are able to achieve maxim comfort and softness. Don’t believe us? Order a blanket from Minky Mamas for the holidays and experience the feel of the best fabric on earth.