As a child I was taught of textiles through a mother who used her hands and heart to create beautiful fashion for home and clients. My mom was a seamstress by trade and a self taught weaver and spinner. She began teaching me to sew and weave at a very young age. I've spent much of my adult life using textiles in unique and fulfilling ways ~ such as Hydrangeas Boutique!
Here's a quick guide I put together to help you to understand what our fashions are composed of.
A synthetic fiber with the luxurious feel of silk, acetate has some water resistance properties and dries extremely quickly. Even though it is not as delicate as its natural counterparts, acetate should still be handled with care and responds best to dry cleaning. Acetate fibers are hypoallergenic, so it is a great option for the sensitive shopper!
One wonders why there was such an uproar several years ago, when scientists in France cloned a sheep—with acrylic, textile manufacturers have been cloning wool for decades! This man-made version of wool has the same look as the original, but is much easier to care for, and can even be put in the washing machine! However, its warmth does not quite equal that of the original. Wear it all winter, but layer up!
Straight off the hanger, this textile already has the lived-in feel of your favorite cotton tee, but without having to go through a dozen washings—it’s no wonder this is known as an eco-friendly fabric! Because it absorbs 3 to 4 times as much moisture as cotton; bamboo is a great option for cotton lovers with sensitive skin and athletic lifestyles!
A favorite luxury textile traditionally manufactured in Asia and the Middle East, cashmere offers its wearer the advantage of looking dressy while feeling as if they left home wrapped in a cloak of exotic luxury! Indulge in the softest variation of wool, but take good care of your cashmere by hand washing it or having it dry-cleaned according to the care label instructions.
There is a reason that so many home fragrance candles have a scent named for this fabric— cotton is the very definition freshness and breathability! Comfy, versatile, and easy to care for, cotton will always be a preferred fabric of designers and consumers alike. Just be wary of shrinkage and remember to cold-water wash with like colors.
One of the world’s oldest textiles, leather is durable despite its buttery soft feel. We all know that genuine leather is made from animal hide, and it should be treated with as much care as you treat your own skin. To keep your leather looking its best find the right cleaner and conditioner!
Linen has the raw, fibrous look of a handmade sheet of paper, with the same delicate texture and soft feel. Don’t let the fact that this fabric is easily wrinkled deter you from embracing it into your wardrobe—comfortable and light, linen is the perfect fabric for the summer season!
While lycra never takes the lead it is great in a supporting role! Always paired with another fiber, lycra increases flexibility, allowing for a better fit and greater comfort and greater freedom of movement. Best of all it is durable, allowing clothes to keep their original shape through years of washing and wear. Remember, as with many good things, a little lycra goes a long way!
You’d never guess that this textile is man-made from metal-like fibers—it’s too delicate! Add this fragile fabric to your wardrobe for a healthy dose of glamour and shine!
Cotton’s cousin, modal is equally comfortable with the same natural feel. However, its greater water absorbency means that instead of shrinking, modal actually stretches over time. While still light and thin, modal is slightly warmer than cotton. So enjoy this cotton substitute, just remember it wears differently over time!
Also known as angora, after the goats whose hair it is spun from, mohair is as soft to the touch as cashmere, but with a fun, fuzzy texture. Flame-proof, stretchable and durable, don’t think twice about adding this fine wool textile to your closet!
Imagine a rubber band—no matter how far you stretch it out, it always snaps back to its original shape. Nylon is equally flexible and resilient! A man-made fabric, nylon combines extreme elasticity with the look and feel of silk. Stock up on nylon leggings, dresses and skirts for going out!
Made entirely of synthetic fibers, polyester offers advantages that most natural textiles do not, such as heightened wrinkle-resistance and durability. Second only to cotton in popularity, you probably already have plenty of polyester in your closet!
Polyurethane is a waterproof textile that was created from a cotton poly blend and is both extremely durable and lightweight. Great fabric choice for a cropped jacket for the beginning of the fall season.
Rayon is a fiber that is made from cellulose fiber ~ or plant fiber. It is considered a semi-synthetic material and has many different grades that differentiate it from rayon vs cotton. Rayon can be made to mimic the feel and texture of silk, wool, cotton, and even linen. There is a grade so fine, it is called artificial silk. Rayon has always been one of my personal favorite textiles.
Who among us does not know and love silk? One of nature’s softest textile fibers and made from the thread created by a silk worm, silk has a lustrous sheen that instantly denotes luxury! Of course, we also all know how delicate silk is, especially when it's wet. Handle silk garments with care, and hand wash or dry clean them only.
You enjoy soy in the kitchen, why not enjoy it in your closet too? It’s good for you, and it looks good on! A functional, eco-friendly favorite, soy makes for a lightweight textile with a silky-feel that has earned it the name “vegetable fabric.” Throw it on for a look that is both luxurious and environmentally friendly.
The favorite fabric for designers of swim wear, sweats, athletic wear and tights, spandex/elastane combines smooth texture with stretchy breathability. The perfect combination of comfort and functionality!
Suede is a type of leather made from the underside of the animal skin, giving it a soft surface. Suede is usually made from lambskin, but it is also made from other types of animals, including goats, pigs, calves, and deer. Suede is softer thinner, and not as strong as full-grain, traditional leather.
First and foremost, Tencel is a brand name for a set of fibers called lyocell and modal. A lightweight, breathable textile, that is surprisingly soft with a unique drape when you consider it is made from wood pulp! Shrink-proof and wrinkle resistant, Tencel is a versatile fabric that is easy to care for.
A luxurious faux suede material developed in 1970, Ultrasuede is highly durable, stain-resistant and light weight. This faux suede material possesses qualities of being both supple and pliable while remaining luxurious. The best news? It's totally washable! Just follow the manufacturers recommendations and hang to dry. YOU'LL love the drape and suede like feel.
If you're looking for a durable and affordable material with rich colors, then viscose is definitely a good choice. It withstands everyday use, drapes well, and feels soft to the touch. However, you should make sure that you're taking good care of your viscose clothing items so they can last for long.
Wool is the ultimate winner in the fibers created by Mother Nature! Although it is known for having a coarse, sometimes itchy texture, wool in the right blend and weight is the perfect material for crafting everything from jackets and sweaters to capes and even blankets! Summer wool is cool and stylish and winter wool is warm and cozy.