Cotton - Hemp - Jute - Clothing For Men And Women
September 12th, 2006
COTTON, cool, soft, comfortable, the principal clothing fiber of the world.
Its production is one of the major factors in world prosperity and economic stability.
Cotton "breathes". What would we do without cotton? Since cotton wrinkles, polyester was added to give it wash and wear properties for a busy world. In recent times, the consumer determined that polyester, although easier to care for, took away the cool from cotton and also added a "pilling" effect to cotton/polyester blends.
Consumers now often request "100% Cotton". Permanent finishes also added to the all cotton fabric gave a wash and wear property to cotton. cotton. The cotton fiber is from the cotton plant's seed pod The fiber is hollow in the center and, under a microscope looks like a twisted ribbon. "Absorbent" cotton will retain 24-27 times its own weight in water and is stronger when wet than dry. This fiber absorbs and releases perspiration quickly, thus allowing the fabric to "breathe".
Cotton can stand high temperatures and takes dyes easily. Chlorine bleach can be used to restore white garments to a clear white but this bleach may yellow chemically finished cottons or remove color in dyed cottons.
Boiling and sterilizing temperatures can also be used on cotton without disintegration. Cotton can also be ironed at relatively high temperatures, stands up to abrasion and wears well.
Mercerized cotton is treated to permanently straighten the cotton fibers which then becomes a smooth, rod-like fiber that is uniform in appearance with a high luster. Cotton is often blended with other fibers such as polyester, linen, wool, to "blend" the best properties of each fiber.
HEMP is currently being used by designers in clothing. When thinking of hemp, the illegal plant, marijuana comes to mind. No, hemp fabric does not contain the narcotic chemical that, when smoked produces the "high" that smoking marijuana produces. Marijuana is from the dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Hemp fabric is made from the stems of the plant. The stems are processed to dissolve the gum or pectin and separate the fibers which are then processed again and woven into yarns and fabric.
The finest hemp for fabric is produced in Italy. Hemp fabric is like linen in both hand and appearance. Hemp fabric withstands water better than any other textile product. It wrinkles easily and should not be creased excessively to avoid wear and breakage of the fibers.
RAMIE is also similar to linen and is a bast of plant fiber. It is natural white in color, has a high luster and an unusual resistance to bacteria and molds. Used in fabrics, and often mistaken for linen, it is extremely absorbent and dries quickly. Ramie has excellent abrasion resistance and has been tested to be three to five times stronger than cotton and twice as strong as flax. It is an inexpensive fiber from an East Asian plant and can be spun or woven into a fabric.
JUTE is a glossy fiber from a plant. It is seen most often in sacks, rope, twine, and as backing on carpeting. These days jute is also being used in clothing by top designers to create great looking breathable formal and casual wear that does not wrinkle as much as linen - yet carries the casual drape and feel of a rich natural fiber.