Elastane, viscose, cotton, modal, artificial leather – these clothes and many other textile names regularly come under our belts. But what is really behind the terms? With our small textile you will get to know the most important types of fibers and clothing. And finally, Bigtex expert Oliver Koppitz has a few tips for you that will help you choose clothes in the future.
Natural fibers versus chemical fibers
Initially, the fiber is: It is the starting material for yarns and fabrics from which garments are made. According to Duden, a fiber is a “fine, thin filament-like structure consisting of a vegetable or animal raw material or synthetically produced [and used as a starting material for yarns and fabrics]”.
Already thousands of years ago people began to use plant fibers for the production of clothing.In Georgia researchers discovered a few years ago fiber remnants of wild flax, which were dated to an age of 34,000 years .Apparently, the friars had worked the flax into strings and ropes, in order to sew animal skins together or to bundle their belongings on journeys to bundles.
Even today, we use vegetable natural fibers for the production of clothing: in addition to hemp, jute or sisal, also linen (made from the stems of the flat plant) and the very popular cotton.
An important chapter in the history of human clothing began with the processing of sheep wool in the Neolithic period.In the fourth millennium BC, shepherds discovered the wool as an ideal raw material for the production of yarns and fabrics, which could be further processed into garments.
In addition to the sheep’s wool, fibers of animal origin are, for example, cashmere (from the hair of the cashmere goats), angora (from the hair of the Angorakaninchen), or silk (from the threads of the silkworms).
The production of chemical or synthetic fibers was the first experiment of an Englishman in the 17th century .However, chemie fibers were only really important in the course of the twentieth century.According to Oerlikon, the share of chemically derived fibers is now around 65% of world fiber production ( source ).
There are two types of synthetic fibers:the cellulosic and the synthetic fibers.
CELLULOSE CHEMICAL FIBERS
The basis of these fibers is vegetable. As their name implies, they are extracted from cellulose, that is, wood. They include, for example, viscose, modal or acetate.
SYNTHETIC CHEMICAL FIBERS
For the production of synthetic textiles, the basic materials are coal, petroleum and natural gas, which are converted into fibers in chemical processes. These include polyester, polyamide, elastane or polyacrylic.
On Youtube the production of synthethic fibers is shown in numerous videos.Here you can see, for example, how nylon threads are produced in the laboratory from a viscous mass:
Textile: The Who’s Who of fabrics
With so many different materials you can easily get mixed up.We will give you an overview of the most common types of textiles.
Many of us have seen pictures of cotton plants: From the capsules of the cotton plant, the strong hairy seeds, which look like thick white cotton burs.The cultivation and processing of cotton is notorious for its high water consumption:The production of one kilogram of cotton is about 11,000 liters of water!
Clothing, such as T-shirts, can be 100% cotton. However, cotton products can also be mixed with other fiber types such as viscose, linen or elastane. Clothes made of pure cotton are especially recommended for allergy sufferers.
In our online shop you will find numerous cotton products, from sweatshirt to jeans:
By the way, there is a risk of knotting with cotton.Especially shirts, you should iron well!
This garment has a thousand years on its hump, but still has not worn out.Wool is not only insensitive to dirt and wrinkles, it also keeps you warm and cozy.Wool supplier number one is the sheep.But also the fine hair of Angora rabbits, alpacas, cashmere goats and other animals may be called wool according to the textile labeling law.
A special case is the Schurwolle: Only wool, which has been extracted (sheared) from living animals and contains only a minimal amount of extraneous fibers, can be designated.
Wollprodukte can also be found at bigtex.de:
The noblest of fabrics.The mulberry pulp, a bred silk worm, is the manufacturer of genuine silk.Because this is won from the cocoons of the caterpillar – the thread is literally about 1000 meters long!
Silk is very popular because of its different properties: firstly, it is comfortable to wear in both summer and winter, as it cools by heat and warms in the cold.On the other hand, it is very tear resistant, gives off moisture to the outside and has a beautiful glossy surface.
Your biggest disadvantage: silk is still one of the most expensive textiles!Moreover, this fabric is a real sensory and anything but easy to care for .In combination with sweat, perfume or deodorant, the fabric can even become brittle or yellow.
Even in the Neolithic period, people wore clothes made of linen.The linen fiber is obtained from the flat plant.However, the production of linen is expensive, the fabric therefore expensive.
Linen is characterized by its very smooth surface, which gives it a matt gloss.It does not pollute and lint, is hard-wearing and provides good moisture.Because it is highly wrinkled and a rather stiff fabric, garments of linen often contain fractions of cotton or chemical fibers.
Viscose is the natural among all synthetic fibers, because its basic material is cellulose from wood species such as beech, bamboo or eucalyptus.A very complex chemical process results from the cellulose viscose fibers.
Special characteristics of viscose are the fineness of their fibers (10 to 15 μm diameter) and their good moisture absorption, which makes them a very hygienic material.Because Viscose is so silky and also soft and flowing, it is also called “artificial silk”.However, it is also very susceptible to wrinkles and is not resistant to deformation.
Many of our products have a viscose content, which gives them a comfortable feeling:
Already knew? Also one of the oldest packaging plastics, namely Cellophan®, is a viscose product.
Like the viscose, Modal is a so-called regenerated fiber, which means that this synthetic fiber is also made from cellulose.Modal is characterized by its high elasticity and strength as well as its good absorbency.In addition, the fabric is skin-friendly and respiratory-active and is therefore used “close up”:for example, underwear, bed- and sleepwear.
Here you will find numerous products from modal fiber, from breathable poloshirt to comfortable panties:
The special feature of the synthetic fiber elastane is its high elasticity and elasticity – it can be stretched by up to 700% and then takes its initial shape again. Moreover, it is very tear resistant and easy to wash, but scrubby. A well-known spandex brand is Lycra ©.
Especially in the oversize mode, materials with elastane are more comfortable to wear. Trousers with an elastane content “go better with movements, the waist increases during sitting and the pants keep the shape better over the day”, explains Bigtex expert Oliver Koppitz.
Whether it is a bathing bag or jogging trousers – elasthane ensures the necessary stretchability:
The chemical fiber polyester, which is formed from acids and alcohol, is very versatile – it is used in fleece and microfiber products, as well as in the form of lining or outerwear.Since 1947, it has been manufactured industrially and is the most widely produced synthetic fiber.
Advantages of the polyester fibers are, for example, that they are light and elastic, but are tear-resistant and hard-wearing.When polyester is mixed with other natural fibers such as cotton or wool, these mixtures retain their shape even with moisture and hardly crease.Because polyester dries fast and hardly absorbs moisture, it is also the ideal material for sportswear.
By the way:”Articles with a mix of 60 to 85% cotton and 15 to 40% polyester are standard today,” explains Oliver Koppitz. “Polyester is the way to keep textiles in shape and the color also lasts longer. The fabric is unpopular because many people remember the polyester of the 1960s and 1970s. “But do not worry:if you have a polyester content of 15 to 40% in the T-shirt fabric, there is no danger that you will be sweating or sweating unpleasant sweat smell.
In our online shop, there are many products with polyester content:
Synthetic leather is the inexpensive alternative to genuine leather and is also liked by animal protectionists.Leather imitations are available in all variations, from nappa leather to suede leather.Their basis can be either natural fibers, such as cotton, or synthetic fibers.In addition, leather imitations are coated with a plastic layer of soft PVC or polyurethane.
At bigtex.de you will find, for example, a sporty leather jacket from Porkveloursimitat by Greyes by Allsize:
The Bigtex tips on the textile choice
Now you have an overview of the world of textiles.Are you still unsure which material you should choose when buying clothes?Then bigtex.de has a few tips for you:
- This is the motto: try – testing – feel good!
- Apart from allergy sufferers we recommend skeptics to test a cotton-polyester mixture and convince themselves of it.
- If you are working, you should be aware that breathing is only active if all layers are breathing-active.For example, if the perspiration persists in the lower shirt of cotton, the breathable polo has little chance of transporting sweat and warmth.We do not recommend functional clothing for everyday use.
- In the summer predominantly light materials are preferred – mostly pure cotton or mixed fabrics with a not too large proportion of polyester. In general, even in winter, garment sweaters prefer materials which are not roughened from the inside.Rough textiles feel too warm and too heavy.
- In recent years very important and almost a “must have”:breathable materials in jackets or sportswear!
Would you like to know more?Then read Oliver Koppitz ‘textile recommendations for your everyday look:
- Underwear made of cotton or (for pants) with up to 5% elastane
- Socks with a tight rubber are a no-go.They are too strong on the calf and cause pressure points.
- Trousers in large sizes with elastane content
- Shirts from 100% cotton or with a polyester content of up to 40%.These are also easier to maintain – especially in the summer is washed more often than in the winter, because you move more often times.
- Shirts made of 100% cotton (preferably non-iron or easy to iron).Our tip: A t-shirt under the shirt is ideal in the summer:The first acts like “I have too much”, but the shirt sucks the sweat and the shirt stays fresh longer.
- The following applies to jackets:taste!A jacket made of light cotton is ideal for “throwing over”;waterproof jackets are recommended against a shower on summer days.Or just pull a vest over the shirt when it gets fresher in the evening…
By the way:
Information on the laundry symbols and tips for the correct care of your textiles can be found in our textile care instructions.
The BIGEX team wishes you much pleasure in your textiles!