August 20, 2016 3 min read

Note - When you think about it, clothing fabric plays a huge role in our life. We all want to look nice and try to stay up to date with the latest fashions. We also need clothing to protect ourselves from the elements, especially in cold regions of the world. Over the centuries a huge number of clothing fabrics have been found to be both useful and necessary. 

Types of Clothing Fabrics

To list all the types of fabrics there are in the world would fill up pages and pages. But here is a select sample of the common ones, with a few exotic types thrown in.

Acetate is a combination natural and synthetic fiber. The natural element is from the cellulose of wood.

Acrylic fibers are man-made and incorporate by-products from petroleum and natural gas.

Blends are a general description of fabrics made of two or more fibers. The idea is to incorporate the distinct characteristics of the separate fibers into one textile.

Cheesecloth is a variant of cotton cloth and has a very loose weave. There are several grades of cheesecloth, ranging from extra-fine to open weaves. It’s mostly used in cooking and, as the name implies, cheese making.

Chiffon is a very sheer, light fabric made out of silk, cotton or synthetic fibers. The twist in the fibers gives it a somewhat rough feel, and the mesh-like weave contributes to its see through properties.

Corduroy is a strong, durable fabric with a surface of rounded cord or rib and the back has a plain or twill weave. It can be made from several textiles including cotton.

Cotton is derived from the fiber of the tropical cotton plant. When the cotton flowers bloom and die, a boll remains which ripens and splits open to reveal a white, fluffy interior with seeds – this is the raw cotton. Cotton is the most widely used fabric and is the basis of over 30 types of textiles.

Denim is a type of cotton fabric woven in such a way that the threads produce that distinctive diagonal ribbing on the underside of the fabric. Traditionally it was dyed blue and the first denim trousers were made in Genoa, Italy. Both the words ‘denim’ and ‘jeans’ are of French origin.

Georgette is a type of silk fabric, although today synthetic georgettes are also produced. It’s light, crinkly, slightly rough feel is what it’s known for, plus the range of colors it is dyed in.

Hemp is made from the stems of the same plant that makes marijuana, but does not contain any narcotic elements. Hemp has a linen-like texture, has high water tolerance but wrinkles very easily.

Linen is derived from the fibers flax plant and is highly valued for it’s fresh, cool feel especially during hot weather. Some fabrics of cotton or hemp when woven in a linen-like weave are referred to as linen.

Mohair is a type of wool obtained from the fur of the Angora goat. It has a silk-like sheen and luster but is also quite strong and durable.

Polyester is a man-made fabric made from by-products of petroleum and coal, mixed with air and water. 

Silk is one of the oldest and most luxurious fabrics known to man. This protein fiber is obtained from the cocoons of the mulberry moth and was first produced in China as far back as 3,000 BC.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is almost pure cellulose. Other names for rayon are viscose and art silk.

Velvet is a woven, tufted fabric, originally made purely of silk but commonly composed of silk and rayon these days. The short, dense piles of cut threads are evening distributed to give velvet its distinctive feel.

Venise is a type of damask textile but typically with showy, floral patterns.

Wool is a natural protein fiber derived from the hair and fur of different animals including sheep and goats. The fibers are shorter than those of silk and generally form a looser weave.