How To Know What Textiles Are Suitable For Your Fashion Ideas

Knowing what textiles are suitable for your fashion ideas can be difficult when you're just starting out. Even seasoned professionals sometimes get it wrong! So here I will try to provide you with information that can help you make better choices.

Fit For Purpose Textiles Suitable For Your Fashion Ideas

Different fabrics have different qualities, which will determine if they are suitable for your fashion ideas. They can be stretchy, light, heavy, thick, thin, insulating, waterproof and so on. When choosing a textile for your fashion ideas, it is first important to consider what that fabric needs to do. To start, try asking yourself the following questions:

Do you want to use a natural or synthetic fabric?

Should it be knitted, woven or non-woven?

How will you finish and dye the fabric?

What is the end purpose of the fabric, will it be for sportswear, a waterproof coat, or a ladies summer blouse?

What level of care will be necessary for the end user?

What will the garment cost to manufacture and to the end user?


Properties Of Textiles

All fabrics have inherent properties that will either make them suitable or unsuitable for your fashion ideas. Aesthetic properties include how the fabric handles and drapes, its color and general appearance.

The functional properties are determined by its strength and durability, its crease, flame, stain, and water-resistance and its aftercare requirements and cost. Comfort properties are important too and include absorbency, breathability, elasticity, softness, stretch, and warmth.

For best performance, it is necessary to match the fabric properties to the desired performance of the end product. For example:

  • Running vest – this would need to be lightweight, soft, comfortable, breathable, wicking and anti-bacterial

  • Winter coat – should be water-resistant, warm and windproof

  • Summer dress – breathable, lightweight, and comfortable

  • Swimwear – stretchy, resistant to chlorine and sunlight, patterned, breathable

List what your item of clothing is for and all the properties it requires to make it perform well. Once you have your list, you can start looking at fabrics that match the criteria you have listed.

There are so many fabrics now available natural, artificial and blended that it is best for a clothing manufacturer to buy a good reference book that demonstrates the properties of each in detail. This will help you make the most informed choices.

Natural VS Artificial

Natural and artificial fabrics all have their benefits and downfalls. From a purely ecological standpoint, natural fibers will always win out, cotton, linen, wool, silk, cashmere, and hemp. This is because they are sustainable, natural and biodegradable.

Fabrics made from oil, in particular petrochemicals, are fast losing popularity with consumers due to their unsustainability, and impact on our environment.

Consumer demand for clothes made from natural fabrics is definitely on the increase and is a trend that needs careful consideration when choosing what textiles are suitable for your fashion ideas. The technology now applied to natural fibers such as Merino wool is making it ever more appealing.