Understanding your fabric quality-Cotton & Linen
The most important component of a garment is definitely the fabric. The details may be beautiful and the seams could be well-crafted, but a garment made from an unsubstantial, scratchy fabric is never a good addition to any wardrobe.
Suitability of the fabric
- This is about quality, a comparison of different properties of the fabrics.
- Certain properties distinguish high-quality fabrics from lower quality,
note: There are no inherently good or bad fabrics. Every type of fabric has its advantages and disadvantages (yes, even synthetic fabrics). The key is to become aware of them, so you can confidently pick the best fabric for the job at hand.
Soft, versatile and also relatively cheaper than other fabrics. Long cotton fibres are considered to be of higher quality than fabrics with shorter fibres. The reason can be listed out by:
Durability ; Longer fibres can be spun into a finer yarn. Fine yarn can be more tightly bound, which makes the resulting fabric stronger and more durable.
Softness; The shorter the staple, the more difficult it is to spin the fibres into yarn without having tiny ends of fibres stick out at all angles. Longer cotton fibres can be closely bound together, which keeps them from going into different directions.
Breath-ability; Some fabrics are less breathable than others due to tiny air pockets being contained in between the individual threads, which will create thermal insulation. Cotton made from long, finely spun fibres can be very tightly woven to eliminate air pockets and the feeling of discomfort.
Made from flax fibres which are naturally smooth but not very elastic making it durable and 30% stronger than cotton. Normally a great fabric for the summer climate, fast drying cooling effect and is also lint-resistant. Generally, there are a few quality differences between linen and cotton. A few things to take note when shopping for linen fabrics:
- Put the fabric on your skin and make sure the linen feels comfortable when in contact with your body. If linen feels scratchy/rough, even if it is not a soft garment to begin with, short, low-quality fibres were probably used.
- 100% pure linen wrinkles easily due to the fact that the fabric is not very elastic. So always ensure that the fabric does not contain any small "permanent" creases.
- Do not fret on tiny, random knots along the yarn of the linen. These are intentionally included to keep the fibres intact and add a "natural linen" feel into the fabric.
- Linen is determined by its thread count. the most common linen thread count in Singapore China Town or Arab street would be 14x14 or 30x30 and come in 54-56" width.
- You can even try a fabric composition of linen and cotton. The mix makes for a more durable, cool yet soft fabric, compared to only pure linen.
To be continued (part ii)