Textiles Fibres theory


Process of Make

Spinning - the fibres into yarns. e.g. S twist, Z twist, textured

Structure - of the fabric: woven ( plain, twill, jacquard) : knitted (warp,weft)

Finishing - that can be applied to the material during manufacture Physical, Biological or Chemical.

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Fibres and microfibres

What is a fibre?

- A fibre is a fine, hair like structure, fibres are copnsidered the raw materials of textiles.

- Originally fibres came from plants and animals. in the 1940's - 50's synthetic or manufactured fibres derived from chemicals were introduced.

What is a Microfibre?

- A microfibre is a fibre that is approximately 60-100 times finer than a human hair.

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Classification of fibres - Natural

Natural- Vegetable - Cellulosic

- Cotton (seed)

- Linen, Hemp, Jute, Banana (bast)

- Bamboo (bast and leaf)

- Soya (soya bean)

Natural- Animal - Protein

- Wool (hair)

- Fine hair : Alpaca, Llama, Camel, Angora, Mohair, Cashmere

- Insect: Silk (cultivated and wild)

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Classification of fibres- Man-made

Man-Made- Natural Polymers - Cellulosic

- Viscose, Rayon

- Acetate

- Lyocell

Man-Made- Synthetic Polymers

- Polyester

- Nylon (Polyamide)

- Aramid

-Elastine (Lycra)

- Acrylic

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- Single celled elongated fibres of natural cellulose grow around the seeds within a cotton ball on a cotton plant. Which burst open to expose the cotton fibre.

- Cotton fibres are staple fibres (2-5cm)

- One of the most important properties is its absorbency- It can absorb 20% water vapour without feeling wet and can hold up to 65% of its own weight without dripping.

- It conducts heat away from the body, therefore is naturally breathable.

- It is the most important natural fibre grown in the world.

- Calico is the name for a cheap woven fabric used for toile making.

- Cotton can be used for bleaching or dying.

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COTTON - Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Absorbent and conducts heat away from the body
  • Naturally breathable
  • Non-static as it contains some moisture
  • Comfortable to wear due to its soft feel
  • Relatively strong due to its twisting of fibres
  • Durable
  • Biodegradable


  • Can shrink when washed
  • Very Flammable
  • Creases badly as is non-elastic
  • Will go mouldy if left damp
  • Dries slowly due to its high absorbency
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COTTON- Fabrics


  • Calico
  • Courduroy
  • Denim
  • Gingham
  • Drill
  • Terry Towelling
  • Chintz
  • Cambric
  • Lawn
  • Gabradine
  • Velvet
  • Poplin
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- Cellulosic chains of molecules are extracted from the stem of the flax plant.

- Linen fibres are staple fibres- average 30-40cm

- One of its most important properties is its absorbency

- It conducts heat away from the body and therefore is naturally breathable

- Linen is most used for summer collections, as the fibre is cool and has an interesting sub texture and has a distinctive creased look. 

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LINEN - Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Absorbent
  • Stiffer, harder than cotton and less supple
  • Strong due to legth of fibres
  • relatively resistant to abrsastion- durable & hardwearing
  • Biodegradable
  • Washes well
  • Lustrous and lightweight


  • Non elastic therefore creases badly
  • Highly flammable
  • Prone to damage by mildew and perspiration
  • Will shrink a lot - up to 15%
  • Bad at ironing
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LINEN - Fabrics & End Uses


  • Crash
  • Duck
  • Huckaback
  • Interlining
  • Holland
  • Mattress Ticking
  • Union (half linen)
  • End Uses -
  • Shirts
  • Skirts
  • suits
  • dresses
  • household linen- tablecloths, curtains, tea towels
  • Geotextiles
  • Ropes & Sewing thread
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- Hemp fibres are extracted from the stem of the hemp plant.

- Hemp fibres are staple fibres

- One of its most important properties is its absorbency

- Hemp grows well and quickly without the use of herbicides or pesticides, making hemp an organic crop production.

- Bleahced hemp tops prior to fabric production

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HEMP - Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Absorbent and naturally breathable
  • Non-Static as contains some moisture
  • Anti-bacterial because of a naturally occuring compound found within it
  • effective at blocking out uv rays
  • less prone to fading
  • Strong and Durable
  • Resistant to mildew and mould
  • naturally lustrous
  • biodegradable


  • Possible breakages as it is fully organic
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HEMP - Fabrics & End uses


  • Plain hemp
  • Canvas
  • Corduroy
  • Gauze
  • Blends- Linen, Silk, Cotton, Llyocell, Lycra
  • End uses
  • Rugs
  • Carpets
  • Ropes
  • Mattress filling
  • Loft insulation
  • Sails
  • Awnings
  • Carpets
  • Clothing
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JUTE- Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Absorbent
  • High in tensile strength with low extensibility
  • Effective at blocking out uv rays
  • Good thermal insulation
  • Anti-Static
  • Biodegradable
  • Fibres are long, sost and shiny
  • Grows quickly- little need for herbicides and pesticides
  • End uses-
  • Bags
  • Sacking
  • Geo textiles
  • Yarn
  • Twine
  • Carpets
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BAMBOO - Advantages and Uses


  • Grows well with little or no herbicides and pesticides
  • Soft and fine- ideal for wearing next to the skin
  • Naturally breathable
  • Anti-static
  • Anti microbial as it naturally prevents the growth of bacteria or germs
  • Effective at blocking out UV rays
  • Strong and durable
  • naturally lustrous
  • biodegradable
  • crease resistant with good elasticity

End Uses

  • Shirts
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  • Cellulosic soy fibres are derived from food product waste; they are made from the hulls of soy beans
  • The soy protein is liqueified and spun into long filaments
  • Soy fibre is very absorbent and cool to wear
  • Crease resistant with good tensile strength
  • resistant to UV rays so it has good fastness
  • Anti-static
  • Soft, Smooth and light; comfortable next to the skin and has additional health benefits because of the amino acids content
  • naturally luxurious in appearance with god draping qualities
  • Shrink resistant
  • Biodegradable
  • It is a filament fibre
  • End uses-
  • Clothing: Dresses, Cardigans, Jumpers
  • Soft furnishings
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  • Also known as the musa fibre are long cellulosic fibres
  • Banana fibres have different weights depending on what part of the bark they come from
  • Has similar structure to bamboo- can absorb and release moisure very fast
  • Has a shiny appearance but this depends upon the extractin and spinning process
  • Eco-friendly and Biodegradable
  • Harvested quite fast and not too labour intensive
  • Very strong and durbale
  • very absorbent
  • lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • fire and heat resistant
  • has a satin-like apperance

End uses

  • Clothing
  • Home furnishings
  • Bags
  • Ropes, rugs and mats
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  • The most common wool fibre comes from the sheep- different breeds of sheep make slightly different wool
  • Wool fire is both hygroscopic- absorb moisture and hydrophobic- repel water
  • Good insulators due to the scales, length of fibre and knitting process
  • Adequete strength yet not very durable
  • should be dried flat to avoid stretching
  • good elasticity
  • Anti-static
  • Low-Flammabilty


  • Shrink resistant- chlorine
  • brushing
  • Anti-felting
  • Moth proofing
  • Flame retadant
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  • The silk fibre comes from the mulberry silk moth.
  • It is the only natural continuous filament
  • Raw silk is produced by the caterpillar. when it begins to pulpate. The silk fluid (fibroin) is secreted from the caterpillars mouth.
  • Unbroken filaments can be up to 1000m in lenth
  • Spun silk into staple fibres arent as strong or lustrous as raw silk


  • Absorbent
  • cool to wear
  • strong and resilient
  • comfortable to wear
  • naturally lustrous and smooth
  • Anti-static
  • a conductor of heat
  • biodegradable
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  • Ramie comes from the stems of nettle plants
  • Similar to cotton but a stiffer fabric
  • not used much in fashion products
  • Its uses are rope, twine and commercial products
  • Ramie is a strong fibre both wet and dry which means it will launder well.
  • quite silky in apperance
  • It is quite absorbent takes the damp away from the skin, leaving the wearer fresh and cool.
  • It is stiff and creases easily
  • very flammable as it is plant based
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  • Polyester fibres are not absobent
  • can be engineered to add breathable comfort in clothing
  • strong and durbale
  • They are lightweight, hydrophobic and water repellent
  • good elasticity
  • can be permanently be shaped using heat
  • polyester is by far the most widely used man made fibre- accounting for 93% of all synthetic fibre production
  • combines easily with other fibres
  • easy care- can be washed at home at low temperatures
  • very strong
  • good crease resistance
  • can be recycled
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  • Elastane is stretchy and can return back to its original shape
  • elastane can be added to a textile product to create comfort and support a better fit
  • Elastane fibres cannot be used on their own, they are combined with other fibres by core spinning
  • Elastane has a continuous filament core, which is the elastane and stple fibres are spun around the centeral filaments.


  • Helps make fabrics become crease resistant
  • improves body shaping and drape
  • resistant to chlorine, suntan oils and perspiration
  • keeps the shape of the garment
  • elastine is easy care; it can be washed easily.
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  • Nylon has similar properties to polyester
  • it was originally used for products such as parachutes, tents and tights
  • it is lightweight and adds strength to fabrics
  • strong, tear resistant and durable
  • tights were the first ever nylon fabric
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  • Originally designed as a cheap substitute for wool when acrylic filaments emerge from the spinneret, they are cut intom short staple fibres, so that they copy the properties of wool
  • warm, full, soft handle, good drape
  • good at crese shedding
  • good resistance to abrasion
  • lustrous
  • acrylic can be used or fake fur and velvets and upholstry fabric but most popularly used for its knitted products
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  • In fashion it is used as a fake leather fabric and mostly used for interiors as a water resistant fabric. Its a flexible plastic finish, bonded onto a knitted base.
  • strong
  • flexible
  • durable
  • used for wipe clean tablecloths and in fashion used for accesories mainly.
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VISCOSE - (rayon)

  • Viscose is one of the most importat regenerated fibres
  • it becomes wood pulp of eucalyptus, pine or beech wood
  • Viscose can also be made from short cotton fibres called cotton linters - a waste product from cotton
  • viscose fibres are very absorbent and can absorb up to 14% water vapour
  • viscose fibres are comfortable next to skin as the fibres are soft and fine
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  • Lyocell is the generic name for a new group of fibres derived from the plants cellulose
  • one of the most important fibres is tencel developed by courtauld
  • lyocell is initilly produced as long smooth continuous filaments
  • textiles made from tencel are considered more absorbent than cotton, cooler than linen and softer than silk
  • lyocell fibres are absorbent and wick away moisture allowing them to appear breathable
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  • Aramid is the generic name for a group of synthetic fibres developed by petro-chemicals
  • aramid products are available as filament yarn, staple fibre or pulp
  • high-tch aramid fibres can be engineered to make woven, knitted, non woven and technical textiles providing strength and heat resistance
  • aramid fibres are 5 times stronger than nylon
  • they are resistant to abrasion and durable
  • heat and flame resistant
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