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A garment is made up of fabric, its appearance is given by a weave (sequence of entanglements of threads between them to create a technical or decorative pattern such as canvas, satin, twill, velvet, etc.) composed of threads of a certain material (cotton, silk, polyester etc). The materials fall into three broad categories:


Animal Hair of an animal: the sheep gives wool, the caterpillar silk.

Vegetal Plants like cotton or linen.

ARTIFICIAL MATERIALS The basic product is cellulose (dissolved and pulped cotton or wood waste).

SYNTHETIC MATERIALS Base materials derived from petroleum, which undergo a series of chemical transformations.




The wool comes from the fleece of the sheep, its hair is fine and curly, the main component of which is keratin. The finest wools (merino) measure between 50 and 120 mm and have a fineness of 15 to 23 microns. Virgin wool comes from the first shearing of sheep. There are a multitude of different wools, among the best known are: alpaca, cashmere, camel, vicuña, mohair and angora.

Its main qualities are: good elasticity, resistance to use, flexibility, thermal protection, absorbency and biodegradability. Its disadvantages: low mechanical resistance therefore easy felting (the scales of the wool fit together under the action of heat and humidity which gives the appearance of pilling).


The silk comes from the secretion of a caterpillar, the most common of which is the silkworm: the caterpillar of the Bombyx of the mulberry tree which produces a continuous filament whose winding forms the cocoon (800 to 1,500m). It is necessary to assemble and twist several filaments (milling) to obtain a thread suitable for weaving. There is peaceful silk that consists of waiting for the butterfly to come out to retrieve its cocoon. The filament will no longer be continuous, so the silk will be a little less resistant.

Characteristics: pleasant to the touch, great elasticity, absorbency, very solid, thermal protection, great finesse, shiny, light and fluid while having weight.

Disadvantages: sensitive to light (yellowing and loss of solidity), difficult maintenance and high price.

VEGETAL MATERIALS : from stems, seeds, leaves or fruits


It comes from the silky down that surrounds the seed of the cotton plant. The length of its fibers generally varies from 20 to 40mm. The shorter the fiber, the more the garment will tend to pill.

Characteristics: Soft, Resistant, Good absorbency, Fresh to wear, Easy care, Inexpensive.


Flax fibers are extracted from the stems of a plant that measures 80 to 120 cm. Very resistant and rot-proof fabric. Europe is the world's largest flax producer.


Very strong fibers and linen-like properties. Mainly used for table linen.


Very resistant, increasingly used in clothing, it requires particularly little water for its cultivation.


The basic product is cellulose (cotton or wood waste). The wood is dissolved and reduced to pulp. After drying it comes in white and porous sheets on which chemicals are made to act, they turn into a viscous paste. The paste is pushed through the very fine holes of a die to obtain filaments. These filaments are assembled and twisted to form the yarn. They can be cut and spun in a spinning mill to obtain “fiber yarn” yarns. Depending on the chemicals used, these fibers have different properties, appearances and names.


It is the first artificial fiber in history to appear at the end of the 19th century. There are two main varieties: fibranne, made up of short fibers joined by twisting and rayon made of continuous fibers called 'artificial silk'. This fiber is very water-intensive and the chemical product used is very toxic (carbon disulphide).


Also known as Tencel, it is the ecological version of viscose: made from eucalyptus wood pulp, its manufacturing process is less polluting. More than 97% of the solvent is recovered and the water is recycled by distillation (evaporation) from the spinning and rinsing baths.


This fiber comes exclusively from beech wood pulp (this tree propagates itself so requires little or semi irrigation). It is much more resistant, light and breathable. Its touch is very soft, its matte appearance, the colors remain bright even after several washes, and has a great capacity and speed of absorption (50% more absorbent than cotton).


Very absorbent and very soft product. Very good marketing from the imagination, China the pandas... except that BAMBOO labeling is prohibited, you have to wear viscose with all the collective imagination that falls.


In clothing, cellulose acetate can replace silk. It is used pure or in a mixture for making clothing linings, light clothing items (dresses, blouses, lingerie, etc.) or decorative elements (curtains, bedspreads, etc.)

It is also a popular plastic material for making sturdy everyday objects (spectacle frames, pens, tool handles, etc.)

Cellulose triacetate is used for flocking, imitation fur and as a support for photo and video films.


Artificial fiber obtained by the chemical treatment of cellulose extracted from Cotton Linter. To obtain the yarn ready for weaving, the extracted cellulose is soaked in a cuprammonium solution (an ammoniacal solution of copper oxide), hence the name 'Cupro'. As with Tencel, its trade name is Bemberg.


Materials derived from petroleum, which undergo a series of chemical transformations in order to obtain a spinnable material. This material is passed through the holes of a die under the effect of strong pressure. The filaments obtained are gathered and twisted (milling) to form a yarn. These filaments can be cut to produce short fibers transformed into “fiber spun” yarn for a more natural touch or mixed with other fibers to improve the properties (appearance, touch, maintenance, price, etc.)


Manufactured worldwide, dyeing requires high temperature. It is a very strong material, used to make military suits. It is the only fiber that allows a permanent pleat (Issey Miyake), it is UV resistant which passes through the windows but retains odours.

Shiny clothes are made of metallic polyester: lurex.


Is made from a continuous filament, such as Nylon which was a brand with a registered patent and fell into the public domain in the 2000s or Tactel, Cordura, Meryl or Supplex. It is the main material of swimsuits. It resists abrasion.


Also called 'poor man's wool'. It has a good insulating power and is less flammable than the wool with which it is often mixed. Its main drawback is its limited lifespan. She slouches, has no outfit. It is also used for faux fur.


It does not dye, the color goes into the paste. It has good strength and high elasticity. Its filament is always mixed with other fibers to give extensibility to fabrics. It doesn't like the heat too much and to keep your bathing suits well, it is best to keep them in a cotton bag and not in plastic which will cook it.

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