Here are 15 different types alongside their uses, advantages, and disadvantages. From hemp to organic cotton, polyester to silk, here are some of the most popular clothing materials.
The list of all fabrics that are in use today is clearly a long one. That’s why choosing the best fabric when shopping is quite difficult. As there are dozens of different fiber types, it is important to know their advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right material for sewing or knitting projects is also essential.
15 Types of Fabric
Cotton is a natural fabric that is known for its soft and breathable structure. It is one of the most commonly used clothing materials in the clothing industry. It is also a great fabric for personal sewing and knitting projects.
While it is a reliable and durable material, the conventionally produced cotton requires gallons of water and labor. That’s why craftspeople and sustainable workshops prefer using organic cotton. We also have recycled cotton, which is one of the most eco-friendly fabrics that are in use today.
Muslin is a smooth and loosely woven fabric that comes in different thicknesses. This plain-weave cotton fabric stands out with its lightweight structure.
Thanks to its soft touch, we often see muslin in baby clothes like rompers and onesies. It is especially a great summer clothing material as it allows airflow.
Linen has always been an integral part of clothing. This natural fiber combines almost every feature you would want to see in clothing. Durability, absorbency, smoothness, and sustainability are the main features of linen. As it comes from flax, linen is also stronger than many other fabric types that we have compiled in this list.
While it is a bit more expensive, linen is a reliable fiber that is an inseparable part of the apparel industry.
Silk is the embodiment of luxury in the world of fashion. It offers a gentle touch on the skin and has a shiny structure that is the best for high-end dresses. While it is an item of expensive clothing both for mass production and sewing projects, this natural fabric has a certain attractiveness to it.
Produced from the fibers received from silkworms, it is also quite durable, reliable, and strong. We often see it in formal attire, luxurious bedding, and other garments of high-end fashion.
Wool is another natural fiber that we obtain from a wide variety of animals. It has been commonly used since ancient times. And the source of this reliable fiber is sheep, llamas, goats, and alpacas.
Wool is known for its warm, breathable and durable structure. It is especially suitable for low temperatures as it wicks moisture and traps heat.
While it is a natural fiber, it is among the most sustainable fabrics. That’s because the sheep used in wool production result in an immense amount of CO2 emission. Alpaca wool, on the other hand, is a lot eco-friendlier than most of the fabrics we have focused on throughout this list.
Polyester is a synthetic fabric made from petrochemicals and various other fossil energy components. A great number of manufacturers depend on polyester as it can be used in a wide variety of clothes and garments. This man-made fabric is also resistant to wrinkles and it is quite cheap and verydurable. It does not wrinkle easily and does a great job of keeping the body warm.
On the other hand, polyester is one of the most unsustainable clothing materials that we use today. While it is probably the most damaging fabric in the world, it makes up 60% of the production in the clothing and fashion industry. That’s because the production of polyester comes at low costs.
Made from tufted fibers, velvet is another fabric that we often see in high-end fashion. We use this luxurious material not only in clothing but also in furniture and various other household elements. Thanks to its soft and unique touch, velvet is an attractive fabric that has been a symbol of wealth in the past. It also catches the eye with its shiny pile effect as well.
Velvet goes through a quite complex process of production that makes it more expensive than other fabric types.
As a fabric made from semi-synthetic fibers, modal is one of the most reliable rayons used in the textile industry. This flexible fabric allows for blending with various other fibers as well. While it is among the luxurious fabric types, there is no doubt that modal is one of the most durable fabrics out there.
Thanks to its soft and gentle structure, it is especially used in gowns, underwear, and lingerie.
Hemp is one of the most versatile materials in the industry. It has a wide range of uses in various fields. It is also commonly used by various clothing brands as it is one of the strongest fabrics. It is also a natural fiber that is a lot more absorbent than most of its rivals.
It is important to note that it is the first choice of manufacturers who utilize sustainable methods. On top of its eco-friendly nature, it is quite resistant and very reliable against issues we often see in other fabrics.
Leather is a natural fabric that is made from animal skins. As a popular clothing material that is a source of various controversies, we often see it in the production of outerwear alongside boots, belts, and jackets. We mostly see it in accessories as well.
As it comes directly from an animal’s hide, it goes through a quite complex production process. Drying, salting, tanning, and spraying are some of the production stages of the natural fabric. It is also important to note that an immense amount of leather production is actually a byproduct of dairy production. Using animals only for the sole purpose of acquiring their leather is an action that belongs to the past.
Made from polyurethane, spandex is one of the most popular synthetic fabrics. Its most known feature is incredible elasticity and durability. Spandex clothes firmly embrace the skin and allow flexibility. This highly stretchable material also has two names, lycra, and elastane.
We usually see spandex in sports, themed costumes, and various underwear.
Satin stands out among other fabric types with its soft and shiny texture. It has many different weaving techniques that make it a rich clothing material. We often see this fabric, which is a major textile weave, in the production of gowns, corsets, lingerie, skirts, blouses, and various other garments in womenswear.
Lyocell is another synthetic fiber that is definitely more sustainable than other chemically produced fabrics. This incredibly durable and comfortable clothing material is often used in the production of shirts, blouses, and pants. It is possible to see lyocell in sportswear products as well.
Jersey is a lightweight fabric that can be obtained by different methods. Nowadays, manufacturers acquire jersey by using blends of cotton, wool, and synthetic components. With these new methods, jersey now comes in two different categories that we know as standard and double-knit.
Jersey made from cotton is highly absorbent as it carries the best sides of cotton in its structure. Moreover, it is quite breathable which will allow your skin pores to receive airflow during hot summer days.
Even though it is the result of a long, complex, and expensive industrial production journey, bamboo is one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics. Among the 15 types of fabric, it has great features that make it a preferable choice for clothing. It is especially suitable for people with sensitive skin.
Clothes made from bamboo are soft, breathable, antibacterial, and hypoallergenic. It does not trigger various issues like heat rash and skin irritations as well.
What is the most popular type of fabric?
The most popular fabric type used in the fashion industry is cotton. Thousands of manufacturers depend on cotton as it is soft, reliable, and comes with low production costs. While organic cotton is much superior to the conventionally produced one, this fabric remains the most popular clothing material in the world.
What is the most durable type of fabric?
When it comes to durability, microfiber, linen, and cotton are the ones that depend on the most. These clothing materials have firm structures consisting of tightly woven and quite strong fibers.