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The Ultimate Guide to Fabric Types: Everything you Need to Know about Characteristics, Care Tips, and Applications

The Ultimate Guide to Fabric Types: Everything you Need to Know about Characteristics, Care Tips, and Applications
Diana Baltina

By Diana Baltina

47 min read

With such a wide variety of fabric types in the world, it’s easy to get lost in so many options. If you’re just starting out with your business, choosing the right material is vital when developing and designing an item.

From natural to synthetic fibers, and nonwoven to woven fabrics, there’s a lot to consider. Here’s a quick guide to the 30 most popular fabric types.

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Cotton Fabric

It’s no wonder that cotton is one of the most widely used fabrics in the world. Many great qualities make it really popular not only for garments but also for household products. It’s breathable, soft, easy to take care of, and sustainable.

The first traces of cotton fiber were found in Mexico more than 7000 years ago. 4000 years later it was cultivated as a fabric in the Indus River Valley. With the development of new technologies during the Industrial Revolution, Britain became one of the world’s leading cotton producers. Today, 27 million tons of cotton are produced every year. Cotton also yields other fabrics, like chino, gingham, and muslin.

Cotton fabric care tips

Cotton fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 30 degrees (86°F) using a regular machine cycle and a mild detergent. Give the garments a gentle stretch after the wash to get them back into shape. Always air-dry flat and out of the sun if possible.

Stain removal tips for cotton fabric

Soak up the excess moisture immediately after the stain has occurred. Then mix one cup of liquid laundry detergent with a few drops of ammonia (caution: never mix chlorine bleach and ammonia—the resulting fumes are hazardous). Rub the solution gently into the stain and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse in cold water and wash as usual.

Cotton fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Shirts, dresses, blouses, underwear, socks, sweaters, sheets, blankets, bags, jeans, skirts
Type: Organic
Average Price: $3 per meter = $2.7 per yard*
Fabric density: 130–230 g/m2
Durability: High when well-made
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Low on its own, but can be combined with stretch fabrics to make it stretchier
Properties: Soft, versatile, water absorbent, hypoallergenic, dye friendly, no static cling, may wrinkle and shrink
Fabric composition: Organic fibers from the seeds of the cotton plant
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Cotton is one of the best fabrics for hot weather, but not as good for cold environments due to the water retention formula of the fabric.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High
Some Printful products with cotton: custom shirts, sustainably-sourced hoodies, and various types of accessories
Some Printful all-over print (AOP) products with cotton: custom Organic Cotton T-Shirt Dress and Men’s Joggers

Collage of a yellow fabric and two girls in cotton dresses
Source: Made-in-China, Printful

Polyester fabric

Polyester is a man-made fiber that comes from petroleum-based products. The polyester cloth was invented in 1941, so compared to cotton, this fabric is a fairly new player to the game. Despite that, polyester is becoming an increasingly sought-after fabric type in the apparel industry. It’s especially valued by those looking for a fabric that withstands a lot of wearing and washing.

Recently, recycled polyester has been gaining popularity since more and more people are making eco-conscious choices. It’s made by melting down the plastic and re-spinning it into new polyester fiber. Even though recycled polyester is a more sustainable choice, it still releases microfibers into the air after each wash.

Polyester fabric care tips

Polyester can be safely machine washed and dry-cleaned. Wash it at 40 degrees (104°F) but before that, turn the garments inside out to prevent snags. You don’t need a special laundry detergent for polyester.
Polyester can be air-dried or put in the dryer, but only at a medium temperature.

Stain removal tips for polyester fabric

Combine 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid, 1 cup white vinegar, and 1 cup water. Apply to the stain and wait approximately 20 minutes to allow the solution to penetrate. Rub the fabric together and rinse in cold water. Wash at the highest temperature possible according to the care label and let it air-dry.

Polyester fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Outdoor clothing, shirts, trousers, suits, bags, coats and anoraks, footwear, sheets, duvet covers, sleeping bags
Type: Synthetic
Average Price:  $1–2 per meter = $0.9–$1.8 per yard*
Fabric density: 200–300 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: High
Properties: Water repellant, dries quickly, wrinkle-resistant, blends easily with other fabrics, retains shape very well, easy to dye
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from polyethylene terephthalate or PET
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Polyester isn’t good for summer, but it’s great for winter as it doesn’t absorb moisture.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High
Some Printful products with polyester: custom Printed Fabric, Visor, and socks
Some Printful AOP products with polyester: custom jackets, shirts, and bags

Collage of a light blue polyester fabric and colorful Printful custom made fabric
Source: Les Tissus du Chien Vert, Printful

Linen Fabric

Linen fibers are among the world’s oldest fibers used by humans, dating back over 30,000 years. It’s a natural fiber like cotton, but since flax fibers can be tough to weave, it takes longer to harvest and manufacture into cloth. After the flax plant fibers are extracted, they’re bleached, dyed, softened, and dried.

Linen is often used in many household items like towels, furniture, and curtains, due to its durability and adaptability.

Linen fabric care tips

Linen can be safely machine washed. Wash it at < 40 degrees (< 104°F) using a gentle machine cycle and mild detergent to protect the fibers. Avoid the use of fabric softener, and never use bleach on linen clothing, even if it’s white. Always air-dry—don’t use a dryer as linen, much like cotton, tends to shrink.

Stain removal tips for linen fabric

Pour some stain remover or liquid laundry detergent directly on the stain and gently rub it for a few minutes. Then rinse the fabric under cold water for a few minutes. Wash according to the care label and let it air-dry. When cleaning stains from linen, be careful not to damage the fibers.

Linen fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Shirts, skirts, shorts, dresses, bedsheets, towels, napkins, curtains
Type: Organic
Average Price: $6 per meter = $5.5 per yard*
Quality: High-quality fabric
Fabric density: Lightweight linen: 90–130 g/m2, mid-weight linen: 140–190 g/m2, heavyweight linen: 200–300 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability:  Low on its own, but can be combined with stretch fabrics to make it stretchier
Properties: Great conductor of heat, hypoallergenic, dries fast, dye-friendly, wrinkles a lot
Fabric composition: Organic fibers from the flax plant
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Linen is a great fabric choice for hot and humid climates. It’s also good for winter because it’s temperature-regulating.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

Synthetic fleece fabric

Synthetic fleece fabric is made of polyester, but sometimes other fibers like cotton, wool, and rayon are combined with it for a better texture. The development of the fleece fabric in 1979 was named one of the most important inventions of the 20th century because it changed the way people dress for the outdoors. Fleece fabrics are a good substitute for wool as they are light, soft, and water-resistant. These unique properties make it a popular fabric for both outdoor and indoor clothing.

Fleece fabric care tips

Fleece fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 30 degrees (86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and a mild detergent. Before washing, turn the garments inside out to prevent snags. Avoid using fabric softeners and bleach. Air-dry fleece fabric. If a dryer is used, be sure to select a no-heat tumble option.

Stain removal tips for fleece fabric

Apply a stain remover or detergent directly to the stain with a sponge. Allow the detergent to set on the stain for an hour and try to gently scrub the stain with the sponge. Wash as usual.

Fleece fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Sportswear, winter jackets, vests, hats, gloves, coats, blankets
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $4 per kilogram = $1.8 per pound*
Fabric density: Lightweight fleece: 100 g/m2, mid-weight fleece: 200 g/m2, heavyweight fleece: 300 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Medium
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Soft, light, water-resistant, wrinkle-resistant, retains its thermal insulation even when wet, builds up static electricity easily
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from polyester
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Fleece fabric isn’t good for summer, but it’s great for winter since it’s water-resistant.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High
Some Printful products with fleece: custom Unisex Sueded Fleece Hoodie, Unisex Fleece Pullover, and Unisex Fleece Sweatshirt
Some Printful AOP products with fleece: custom Men’s Joggers, Unisex Sweatshirt, and Unisex Bomber Jacket

Collage of brown synthetic fleece fabric and a girl in winter wearing a yellow synthetic fleece fabric hoodie
Source: Contrado, Printful

Learn more: Sustainable Fabrics for a Kinder Closet: a Glimpse into Textile Science

Twill fabric

Twill fabric includes denim, tweed, and a variety of cotton, polyester, and linen fabrics woven in a twill pattern. The most familiar example of the twill weave is jeans. Because of its specific diagonal weave pattern and darker-colored front side with a lighter back, the twill weave is immediately identifiable.

Certain types of twill are commonly used to make carpets and rugs. This fabric may even be used to make wall hangings.

Twill fabric care tips

Twill-woven fabrics can be safely machine washed. Wash them together with fabrics that have the same fiber type at 30 degrees (86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and liquid detergent. Wash inside out to protect the print. Don’t soak, wring, rub, bleach or tumble. Air-dry twill-woven fabrics flat. ​​Dry-clean using hydrocarbon.

Stain removal tips for twill fabric

Stain removal from twill-woven fabrics depends on the type of fiber used. Check the composition of the fabric and remove stains accordingly.

Twill fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Jeans, chinos, khaki pants, work clothing, bags, furniture coverings, curtains, towels
Type: Synthetic/organic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $2 per meter = $1.8 per yard for cotton twill, $5 per meter = $4.5 per yard for linen twill*
Fabric density: 400+ g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Medium
Stretchability: Low
Properties: Opaque, hides stains well, doesn’t wrinkle and crease, sturdy, drapes well
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of polyester; organic fibers made of cotton, linen, or wool
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: Fabrics with a twill weave are not very suitable for summer, but they’re good for colder climates because this kind of weaving structure forms a particularly dense fabric.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Depends on the type of fabric fiber used
Some Printful products with twill weave: custom dad/baseball hats, Embroidered Patches, and Eco Tote Bag

Collage of a dark green twill fabric weave and a young boy wearing dark blue dad hat
Source: MARKAWARE, Printful

Lycra fabric

Lycra, spandex, and elastane—despite having different names, these highly elastic materials are all the same. They’re made from a combination of polyester and polyurethane (a flexible plastic material).

Lycra was invented in the 1950s, so it’s a fairly new fabric type. Being a fully synthetic fiber, all of its components are created in a laboratory. Due to its strength and elasticity, Lycra is usually added to other fabrics, such as wool, nylon, polyester, and fleece.

Lycra fabric care tips

It’s important to wash Lycra properly so that it retains its elastic qualities. It’s best to hand wash Lycra at 30 degrees (86°F) using a mild detergent that contains no chlorine bleach. If you decide to machine-wash Lycra, use a gentle machine cycle and a mesh washing bag.

Always air-dry Lycra garments away from direct heat and sun. Never dry Lycra garments in a tumble dryer.

Stain removal tips for lycra fabric

Soak the stain in cold water for about 30 minutes. Apply a mild liquid detergent directly to the stain with a sponge. Gently rub it in—don’t scrub as it can damage the fibers. Before washing, blot the affected area with a dry towel. Wash as usual.

Lycra fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Sportswear, leggings, leotards, dresses, socks, underwear, swimsuits, shoe parts
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $6–$10 per kilogram = $2.7–$4.6 per pound*
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Extraordinarily high
Properties: Comfortable, lightweight, very elastic, tear-resistant, clings to the body, wrinkle-resistant
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from a combination of polyester and polyurethane
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable. However, the Lycra brand offers an EcoMade line that is made of 20% pre-consumer manufacturing waste.
Heat retention abilities: Lycra is good for summer as it’s very breathable. It’s suitable for winter only when blended with other fabrics, like wool or fleece.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High
Some Printful products with Lycra: custom Ankle Socks
Some Printful AOP products with Lycra: custom Neck Gaiter, Crop Tee, and swimwear

A collage of dark blue lycra fabric and a guy wearing colorful lycra socks.
Source: Adobe Stock, Printful

Silk fabric

Silk is an organic fiber produced by insects as a material for their nests and cocoons. The earliest known examples of woven silk date back to 2700 BC China. In the beginning, only the aristocracy wore this expensive fabric, but over time it became more widely used.

Despite the massive expansion of the silk industry during the last century, most of the traditional processes used to make this fabric remain unchanged.

Silk fabric care tips

Check the fabric care label—not all silks can be safely machine washed. If you find a washing machine symbol on your garment’s care label, wash silk at 20–30 degrees (68–86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and a mesh bag to protect your delicate items from any damage. After washing, use a towel to soak up excess moisture from the garment. Depending on the garment, you’ll want to hang it up or lay it flat. Don’t dry in direct sunlight.

Stain removal tips for silk fabric

The best option is to take silk items to the dry-cleaner as it’s one of the hardest fabric types to clean.

At home, you can spot treat any stains with cool water and a diluted detergent solution. Allow the garment to soak in the cold water for about 30 minutes to avoid permanent staining. If the stain has already set in, add about ½ teaspoon of gentle, bleach-free detergent and a teaspoon of ammonia to the water and let the garment soak. Wash as usual.

Silk fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses and gowns, blouses, skirts, nightgowns, lingerie, scarves, ties, face masks, bedding
Type: Organic
Average Price: $10–$30 per meter = $9–$27 per yard*
Fabric density: 80–120 g/m2
Durability: High if blended with other fibers, such as cotton
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Soft, shiny, light, moisture-absorbent, hypoallergenic, builds up static electricity easily
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made from fibroin, which is a protein that certain types of insect larvae secrete to make cocoons
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Silk is a natural insulator and it has temperature-regulating properties, making it great for both summer and winter.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

Viscose fabric

Viscose is a type of rayon fabric that’s a good substitute for silk because of the similar drape and feel. It’s a semi-synthetic material made from wood pulp, including beech, pine, eucalyptus, and bamboo, plus chemicals, like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide.

Viscose was first invented in 1883 as cheaper, artificial silk. It’s a good material choice if you’re looking for a fabric that’s light and drapes well. Besides that, viscose blends well with other fibers like cotton, polyester, and elastane.

Viscose fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash viscose as it’s a highly absorbent fabric type. If you decide to machine wash viscose, wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a gentle cycle, mild detergent, and a mesh bag to protect your delicate items from any damage. Be careful—viscose can be damaged by excessive wringing and twisting. Always air-dry viscose garments. Don’t use a dryer as it tends to shrink.

Stain removal tips for viscose fabric

The best option is to take viscose items to the dry-cleaner as it’s a delicate fabric type.

At home, you can spot treat any stains with cool water and a mild detergent. Avoid scrubbing the stained area too much as it can cause the viscose yarns to weaken and break, leaving the fabric looking worn. Wash as usual.

Viscose fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Blouses, dresses, jackets, t-shirts, sportswear, bedding, carpets, upholstery
Type: Semi-synthetic
Average Price: $2 per meter = $1.8 per yard*
Fabric density: 80–150 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Soft, lightweight, water-absorbent, dye-friendly, drapes well, blends well with other fibers, easily damaged by scraping
Fabric composition: Fibers that are made from wood cellulose and synthetic substances, like sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable. However, there’s a significant negative environmental impact during production because of the chemicals used.
Heat retention abilities: Viscose is good for hot and dry weather because it’s lightweight and feels cool against your skin. However, viscose isn’t great for winter as it absorbs moisture easily.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium

A collage of light pink viscose fabric and a middle-aged woman wearing a light blue viscose dress.
Source: IndiaMART, OVS

Microfiber fabric

Microfiber is a synthetic fiber that consists of polyester and polyamide (nylon). Microfibers are so small that a cotton fiber is three times the size and human hair can be up to 100 times larger.

They were first manufactured in the 1950s but only entered the market in the 1970s. Microfiber fabrics can be created by selecting the size, shape, and combination of synthetic fibers to meet the needs of specific characteristics and applications. Not only is it one of the best water-resistant fabrics, but microfiber cloths and mops can also help reduce the use of chemical cleaners and water.

Microfiber fabric care tips

Items made of microfiber can be safely machine washed. It’s a relatively easy fabric type to take care of as it can be washed in hot or cold water. Wash using a mild detergent but don’t use fabric softeners—they clog the open spaces in the microfiber, making the fabric useless. Always air-dry to ensure longer-lasting items.

Stain removal tips for microfiber fabric

To get stains out of microfiber, apply a stain remover and a little laundry detergent directly on the stain. Rub gently with a soft brush. Wash as usual.

Microfiber fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Cloth, mats, upholstery, mops, towels, bathrobes, jackets, skirts, swim trunks
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $3 per kilogram = $1.4 per pound*
Durability: High
Breathability: Medium
Stretchability: High
Properties: Soft, water-absorbent, hypoallergenic, shrink-resistant, drapes well, non-electrostatic, doesn’t wrinkle and crease
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of a polyester-nylon blend
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Microfiber fabric isn’t recommended for clothing as it can make you hot and sweaty.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium
Some Printful AOP products with microfiber: custom Face Mask, Men’s Athletic Long Shorts, and Scrunchie

Collage of blue microfiber fabric and a guy wearing a blue microfiber face mask
Source: IndiaMART, Printful

Tulle fabric

Tulle is a soft, lightweight yet durable mesh fabric type made from various fibers, including polyester, nylon, cotton, and silk.

Tulle was first woven by hand using methods similar to lace manufacture in the 1700s. In 1809, the specialized weaving machine was invented to make the process easier. Nowadays, tulle is largely used for wedding gowns, evening dresses, and lingerie. It’s also frequently used to wrap gifts and create ornamental accents.

Tulle fabric care tips

Tulle fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a delicate machine cycle, low spin speed, and a mild detergent. Wash tulle with items that don’t have zippers or other clothing hardware as it can tear easily. Always air-dry flat in its natural shape or hang to dry—don’t use a dryer as the heat can make tulle dry and brittle.

Stain removal tips for tulle fabric

An organic soap made from all-natural ingredients is the best cleanser to start with. Apply it directly to tulle garments and rub gently by hand. Then rinse under cold water for a couple of minutes. Wash as usual. Note that strong detergents and bleach should never be applied to tulle.

Tulle fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Tutus, veils, gowns, underskirts, petticoats, lingerie, decorative ornaments
Type: Synthetic/organic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $1 per meter = $0.9 per yard*
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Stiff, soft, light, easy to dye
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of polyester, rayon, or nylon. Organic fibers made of silk.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Prone to pilling/bubbling: No

Jacquard fabric

Jacquard fabric is any fabric woven in a jacquard pattern. Usually, patterns are created using cotton, polyester, silk, or wool fibers.

The weave of jacquard dates back to the 4th century. However, it became popular only after the invention of the Jacquard Loom at the end of the 18th century in France. This type of machine can weave complex patterns directly into the fabric, making beautiful designs. Jacquard isn’t often used for casual garments due to its complexity and relatively high cost. This fabric is perfect for costumes, furniture upholstery, and duvet covers.

Jacquard fabric care tips

Jacquard-woven fabrics are quite delicate and have specific cleaning instructions. Wash them together with fabrics that have the same fiber type at 30 degrees (86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and a mild detergent. Don’t wring the fabric and avoid using bleaching agents. Always air-dry flat on a table, away from direct sunlight.

Stain removal tips for Jacquard fabric

The best option is to take Jacquard items to the dry-cleaner as it’s one of the hardest fabric types to clean.

If you’re going to treat a stain at home, apply a thin layer of upholstery preconditioner to the spot and wait for 5 minutes. Then, apply a mild detergent directly to the stain and rub gently with a padded silk brush. Wash as usual. Maintain jacquard fabric pieces with regular light brushing to prevent future staining.

Jacquard fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, jackets, costumes, formal attire, ties, ribbons, drapes, curtains, upholstery, tablecloths, duvet covers, pillow covers
Type: Synthetic/organic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $4 per meter = $3.7 per yard*
Fabric density: 250+ g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Depends on the type of fabric fiber used
Stretchability: Low
Properties: Heavy, wrinkle-resistant, textured, drapes well
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of polyester. Organic fibers made of cotton, silk, or wool.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: It depends on the type of fabric fiber used: linen, cotton, and silk jacquards are lightweight and more suitable for summer. Wool and polyester jacquards are better for winter.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Depends on the type of fabric fiber used

Nylon fabric

Nylon is a polymer that was first produced in America in the 1930s. It grew in popularity during World War || when silk stockings were in significantly shorter supply.

Because of its temperature resilience, strength, and chemical compatibility, nylon is also used in car tires, rope threads, and certain types of mechanical equipment. Nylon can even be used as a substitute for low-strength metals.

Nylon fabric care tips

Nylon fabric types can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) together with other clothes made of nylon. You can use regular laundry detergents but avoid using bleach as it can turn some nylons yellow. If you’re unsure of the best cycle to use, always use the gentle cycle to be safe. Never wring garments made of nylon. Nylon garments can be air-dried or put in the dryer, but only at a low temperature.

Stain removal tips for nylon fabric

To remove stains, mix warm water with laundry detergent that doesn’t contain bleach. Apply the solution directly to the stain using a sponge and let it sit for about 15 minutes. Blot the spot with a damp cloth. Wash as usual.

 Nylon fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Swimwear, leggings, stockings, yoga pants, windbreakers, bags, umbrellas
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $1.50 per meter = $1.4 per yard*
Fabric density: 20–180 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: High
Properties: Light, tough, abrasion-resistant, water-repellent, wrinkle-resistant, easy to dye
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from petroleum oil
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Nylon isn’t good for summer as it’s water-repellent and doesn’t breathe very well. However, nylon is great as an outer layer in winter because of its water-repellent properties.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High
Some Printful products with nylon: custom Recycled Tracksuit Trousers and Jacket and 5 Panel Trucker Cap

A collage of beige nylon fabric and a woman wearing a dark blue tracksuit trousers and jacket
Source: Mood Fabrics, Printful

Chiffon fabric

Chiffon is a light, slightly shiny, sheer fabric that’s usually made of polyester, nylon, silk, or cotton. The term chiffon refers to a wide variety of fabrics that are all woven in the same technique.

Chiffon has been available in Europe since the 1700s. Early chiffon was made entirely of silk and worn only by the upper class. In 1938, a nylon version of chiffon was invented, followed by the development of polyester chiffon in 1958. Synthetic chiffon quickly became popular because of its durability and low cost. Nowadays, chiffon is mostly used as an overlay to dresses and skirts to give an elegant, floating appearance.

Chiffon fabric care tips

Silk chiffon needs to be dry-cleaned. Polyester chiffon and nylon chiffon can be safely machine washed at 30 degrees (86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and a mild detergent. Cotton chiffon needs to be hand washed. Never wring garments made of chiffon as they can easily lose shape. Always air-dry flat, away from direct sunlight.

Stain removal tips for chiffon fabric

Satin chiffon needs to be dry-cleaned. To clean stains from other chiffon types, mix a drop of delicate fabric detergent with the same amount of hydrogen peroxide. Apply directly to the stain using a sponge and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse under cold water and wash as usual.

Chiffon fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, nightgowns, blouses, wedding gowns, scarves, lingerie, ribbons, decorative fabric, and accessories
Type: Synthetic/organic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $2–$6 per meter = $1.8–$5.5 per yard*
Fabric density: 50–100 g/m2
Durability: Depends on the type of fabric fiber used. Synthetic chiffon is more durable than organic chiffon.
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Light, sheer, drapes well, easy to dye, frays easily
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of polyester, nylon, or rayon. Organic fibers made of silk or cotton.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: Chiffon is good for summer as it’s a lightweight and breathable fabric type. It isn’t good for winter as it doesn’t retain heat well.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

A collage of pink chiffon fabric and a woman wearing a pink chiffon dress
Source: IndiaMART, Self-Portrait

Velvet fabric

Velvet is a long-lasting, lustrous material characterized by a dense pile of evenly cut fibers that give the fabric its soft feel. Silk was the first material used for velvet, and it was extremely expensive and only available to the nobility. During the Renaissance, new loom technology lowered the cost of velvet production.

Even though velvet is now mainly composed of synthetic materials, it’s still one of the most elegant and luxurious man-made materials.

Velvet fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash velvet using lukewarm water and a detergent for delicate fabrics. Rinse well by running water through the item until the water is no longer soapy. Avoid scrubbing or twisting items made of velvet, as it can stretch or damage the fabric. 

Stain removal tips for velvet fabric

The best option is to take organic velvet items to the dry-cleaner as it’s one of the hardest fabric types to clean.

If you’re going to treat a stain at home, you can combine a small amount of liquid detergent and water until it becomes sudsy. Apply directly to the stain using a cloth and blot the stain gently. Leave it on for 10 minutes, rinse under cold water for about 2 minutes. Wash as usual.

Velvet fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Eveningwear, jackets, trousers, robes, hats, upholstery, curtains, wall hangings
Type: Synthetic/organic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $2–$6 per meter = $1.8–$5.5 per yard*
Fabric density: 300+ g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Low
Properties: Heavy, soft, shiny, drapes well (if organic), builds up static electricity easily, frays easily
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made of polyester or rayon. Organic fibers made of silk, wool, or cotton.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: Velvet isn’t good for summer because it’s quite thick and heavy. However, it’s suitable for winter because it retains heat well.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

Boucle fabric

Boucle is a heavy fabric type made from looped yarn, and is often coarse in texture. It’s typically made from wool, but cotton, linen, and silk may also be used. Less expensive boucle fabric can be made from synthetic fibers like rayon or polyester. It’s a popular fabric type used in home decoration, often for upholstery on sofas, chairs, and pillows. The texture of the fabric also makes it a popular option for jackets and coats.

Boucle fabric care tips

Boucle fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a gentle or delicate machine cycle and detergent or soap. Gently wring the items after washing. Always air-dry flat or on a drying rack.

Stain removal tips for boucle fabric

First, soak up the excess moisture immediately using a soft cloth. Then, combine a small amount of soap and water and brush the stain lightly using a nylon soft-bristle. Avoid scrubbing and work from the edge of the stain toward the center. Rinse under cold water for a couple of minutes. Wash as usual.

Boucle fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Upholstery, throws, shirts, coats, jackets
Type: Organic, rarely made synthetic
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties:  Textured, soft, airy
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of cotton, silk, linen, merino, or alpaca. Synthetic fibers made of polyester.
Heat retention abilities: Boucle fabric is good for summer if made from linen, cotton, or silk fibers. It’s also great for winter, especially when made from wool fibers.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High

Wool fabric

Wool fabric is made from natural fibers found in the fleece of animals like sheep. It’s a very versatile fabric type that can be woven into both lightweight, soft fabrics, as well as heavy, coarse fabrics. To make wool, producers collect the fur of animals and spin them into yarn. These strands are then woven into clothes and other garments.

Wool has many great properties that make it one of the most popular fabric types in the world. It’s known for being insulating, antibacterial, and really easy to take care of.

Wool fabric care tips

Wool can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a delicate machine cycle and a mild detergent. Remember to turn wool items inside out before each wash. Always air-dry—don’t use a dryer as wool tends to shrink.

Stain removal tips for wool fabric

Blot up any excess liquid using paper towels or a clean, dry cloth. Apply stain treatment and lukewarm water directly to the stain. You can use a soft toothbrush to scrub the stain treatment in. Wait for a couple of minutes, then rinse under cold water. Wash as usual.

Wool fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Sweaters, jackets, overcoats, hats, gloves, blankets, carpets, upholstery
Type: Organic
Average Price: $5.5 per meter = $5 per yard*
Fabric density: 350+ g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Medium
Stretchability: High
Properties: Soft, textured, wrinkle-resistant, stain-resistant, UV-resistant, antibacterial, flame-resistant
Fabric composition: Organic fibers from the animal protein keratin
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Wool is often used in the winter since it keeps you warm, but can also be used in the summer because it’s naturally breathable and has temperature-regulating properties.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: High

Polypropylene fabric

Polypropylene (also known as olefin) is the second-most commonly produced plastic in the world and is often used in consumer goods rather than textiles. It’s found in plastic straws, sunglasses, food packaging, diapers, backpacks, etc.

Polypropylene fabric is a nonwoven fabric, which means that it’s manufactured directly from a material without spinning or weaving. It’s commonly used for military clothing and other textiles that are worn close to the skin because of its moisture-wicking abilities—this fabric type doesn’t absorb any moisture. On the other hand, polypropylene fabric is very hard to dye, difficult to shape, and it’s also prone to UV damage. 

Polypropylene fabric care tips

Polypropylene fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 30 degrees (86°F) using a gentle machine cycle and regular laundry detergent. Avoid using bleach or alcohol on this fabric. Air-dry flat or put in the dryer, but only at a low temperature.

Stain removal tips for polypropylene fabric

To remove stains, use a solution of 50% domestic bleach (caution: the fumes are caustic) to 50% tap water and put it in a spray bottle. Cover the stain and leave the solution on for an hour. If necessary, use a soft-bristle brush to remove the stain. Rinse under cold water. Wash as usual.

Polypropylene fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Tote bags, military wear, ropes, sportswear, backpacks, upholstery, straws, food packaging
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $2 per kilogram = $0.9 per pound*
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: High
Properties: Light, tough, stiff, water-absorbent, abrasion-resistant
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from thermoplastic polymer that’s derived from oil and natural gas production
Heat retention abilities: Polypropylene fabric is good for summer as it doesn’t absorb moisture. It’s also great for winter as it retains heat more than any other fabric and dries quickly.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium

A collage of beige polypropylene fabric and a black polypropylene tote bag
Source: Sewport, Adobe Stock

Organza fabric

Organza is a light, sheer fabric type traditionally made from silk. The material can also be made with synthetic fibers like nylon or polyester. Characterized by its lightweight and slightly shiny appearance, organza is commonly used to overlay thicker types of material. The quality of organza is determined by the number of holes per inch—more holes indicate better quality organza.

Nowadays, organza fabric is extremely popular for wedding gowns, various types of eveningwear, and blouses. However, organza is so thin and delicate that it’s highly susceptible to damage.

Organza fabric care tips

Synthetic organza can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a delicate laundry detergent and a gentle machine cycle. Avoid using chemical bleaches, especially with chlorine. Don’t use fabric softener as it may turn the fabric yellow. Synthetic organza fabric can be both air-dried or put in the dryer. Organic organza should be hand washed or taken to the dry-cleaner.

Stain removal tips for organza fabric

To remove stains, use a non-bleach mild detergent and water. Apply the detergent directly to the stain and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water. Wash as usual.

Organza fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, blouses, scarves, decorations, curtains
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $3–$5 per meter = $2.7–$4.6 per yard if organic, $1 per meter = $0.9 per yard if synthetic*
Fabric density: 25–40 g/m2
Durability: Low
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Light, sheer, stiff, easy to dye, wrinkles a lot
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of silk. Synthetic fibers made of polyester or nylon.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Prone to pilling/bubbling: None

A collage of shiny pink organza fabric and an Indian woman wearing a light pink organza saree
Source: Top Fabric, Neerus

Lyocell fabric

Lyocell is a form of rayon, mainly made from wood pulp, a plant-based, sustainable material usually derived from eucalyptus wood. It’s generally a more eco-friendly choice than synthetic fabrics like polyester. However, it’s processed with synthetic substances.

Lyocell fabric can be blended with other fabrics like cotton, wool, or polyester. While lyocell by itself is compostable, if blended with other synthetic fibers, the new fabric will not break down. It was invented in 1972, but it gained widespread popularity in the latter half of the twentieth century. Lyocell fabric is soft and strong—dry or wet—and more resistant to pilling than cotton. Many people are unable to distinguish between cotton and lyocell.

Lyocell fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash items made of lyocell. Choose a delicate laundry detergent and swirl it into a bowl of cool water. Rub the item gently and rinse under fresh water. If you choose to machine wash lyocell, use a gentle or hand wash setting and keep the temperature as low as possible. Always air-dry—don’t use a dryer as it can damage the lyocell fabric.

Stain removal tips for lyocell fabric

To remove stains, presoak the item in cold water for 30 minutes. If water alone doesn’t work, try applying a laundry detergent with a damp cloth directly to the stain. Avoid scrubbing and rubbing, as it can damage the lyocell fabric. Wash as usual.

Lyocell fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, denim substitute, shirts, leggings, socks,  underwear, towels
Type: Semi-organic
Average Price: $4.50 per meter = $4.1 per yard*
Fabric density: 0.5–0.7 g/m3
Durability: High
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Soft, easy to dye, anti-bacterial, drapes well, easy to mix with other fiber types
Fabric composition: Semi-organic fibers made by dissolving wood pulp in amine oxide solution
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Lyocell is great for both summer and winter as it’s a breathable and temperature-regulating fabric.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium

Vinyl fabric

Vinyl fabric is a type of faux leather that’s made from plastic resin. Known as PVC, it’s considered one of the most versatile materials of its kind. While vinyl offers many of the same desired qualities as genuine leather, it’s not necessary to harm animals during production.

The history of vinyl can be traced back to 1872. However, its fragile properties at the time made its use quite limited. It wasn’t until the 1920s that a method was developed to plasticize this fabric by using additives. The result was a versatile material that could be used for a variety of different commercial and industrial purposes.

Like real leather, vinyl fabric is soft to the touch and water-resistant. It’s much more resistant to abrasions and cuts than real leather, making it an ideal fabric for upholstery.


Vinyl fabric care tips

Vinyl is very easy to take care of. You can clean your vinyl fabric items with a non-abrasive cloth and a gentle or mild washing soap. Apply the soap to the cloth and wipe it over your item and use another soft cloth to dry it off right away.

Vinyl fabric can be safely machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a delicate machine cycle and a delicate laundry detergent. Make sure to set the spin to low. Always air-dry vinyl items.

Stain removal tips for vinyl fabric

To remove stains from vinyl, use water or a mild washing soap. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth to wipe down the item. To remove a tough stain, use a mixture of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water.

Vinyl fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Jackets, gloves, hats, shoes, handbags, watchbands, upholstery, luggage
Type: Synthetic
Average Price: $3 per meter = $2.7 per yard*
Fabric density: 200 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: Low
Properties: Soft, water-resistant, abrasion-resistant, flame-resistant, easy to clean
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from ethylene and chlorine
Sustainability: Significant negative environmental impact during production and disposal—not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Vinyl is not good for summer because of its low breathability. But, it’s good for winter as it’s water-resistant and retains body heat well.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

A collage of red vinyl fabric and a dark-haired woman wearing a red vinyl jacket.
Source: Fabric.com, boohoo

Crepe fabric

Crepe fabric can be made from either organic or synthetic fibers. It has a distinctive wrinkled and bumpy appearance. To create the three-dimensional, rippled texture that crepe fabric is known for, the material goes through a special weaving treatment.

Traditionally, it was made of silk and worn by women in times of mourning in different cultures, but this practice has largely gone out of fashion. Nowadays, crepe is most commonly used in high fashion apparel and home decor pieces.

Crepe fabric care tips

Hand washing is always the best and safest method for washing crepe. Choose a delicate laundry detergent and swirl it into a bowl of cool water. Rub the item gently and rinse well with cool water until the water is no longer soapy. Always air-dry—don’t use a dryer as crepe fabric is very susceptible to shrinkage.

Stain removal tips for crepe fabric

Due to its fiber composition, most crepe garments should be taken to a dry-cleaner for stain treatments.

To remove stains at home, presoak the item for 30 minutes in cool water. Then mix three tablespoons of white vinegar with two tablespoons of liquid detergent and warm water. Apply directly to the stain and wait for 10 minutes. Blot using a dry cloth and wash as usual.

Crepe fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, suits, scarves, eveningwear, hats, curtains, pillow covers
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $2 per meter = $1.8 per yard*
Fabric density: 110 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: High
Properties:  Light, textured, flammable, drapes well
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of silk and cotton. Synthetic fibers made of polyester, rayon, etc.
Heat retention abilities: Silk and cotton crepe is good for the summer as it’s lightweight and relatively breathable, but synthetic crepe is a bad option for summer clothing. For winter, wool crepe is a popular option.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

Satin fabric

Satin, along with plain weave and twill, is one of the three primary textile weaves. Historically, satin was strictly made of silk. To reduce expenses and make it more durable, satin can now be made of nylon or polyester. Satin fabric is characterized by a soft, shiny surface on one side and a duller surface on the other side.

Satin originated in medieval China but wasn’t widely accessible in Europe until the 14th century. Nowadays, satin is commonly used for eveningwear, lingerie, boxer shorts, ballet shoes, hats, ties, and bedding.

Satin fabric care tips

Satin can be machine washed. Wash it at 20 degrees (68°F) using a delicate machine cycle and a gentle, chemical-free laundry detergent. Don’t wring or twist items made of satin as they can easily lose shape. Air-dry satin fabric. If a dryer is used, be sure to select a no-heat tumble option.

Stain removal tips for satin fabric

Immerse the satin garment in cold water and allow it to soak for 20 minutes. Do it immediately after the stain occurs to avoid permanent staining. Then, add a dash of bleach-free stain remover directly to the stain. Let it sit for 10 minutes. Rinse under cold water and wash as usual.

Satin fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, robes, shirts, shorts, blouses, lingerie, bed sheets, bags, shoes
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $1.5 per meter = $1.4 per yard*
Fabric density: 100–200 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: High, if made from organic materials
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Soft, light, shiny, drapes well, wrinkle-resistant
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of silk. Synthetic fibers made of rayon, polyester, or nylon.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: Satin is great for summer if made from organic materials. For winter, it’s better to wear satin clothes paired with some warmer items.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium
Some Printful products with satin: Satin Robe

Lace fabric

Lace is a sheer, web-like fabric that can be made by machine or by hand. The most common fibers used in lace fabric are cotton, silk, and linen. Synthetic yarns are also sometimes used to make it as well.

Lace fabric types were first developed in Europe during the sixteenth century. Because of its tedious, time-consuming production, lace was a high-priced luxury item. Handmade lace embellished the collars, cuffs, shoulders, and heads of the aristocracy for centuries until the Industrial Revolution. After that, lace has been largely machine-made—and much cheaper. 

Lace fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash lace. Fill a bowl with warm water and mix in a delicate washing detergent. Place the garment in a bowl and use gentle swishing actions. Rinse well with warm water until the water is no longer soapy. Gently squeeze out any excess water. Always air-dry flat.

Stain removal tips for lace fabric

Immerse the lace into a bowl of cold water and water detergent. Let it soak for 10 minutes. Add a little bit of baking soda directly to the stain and rub gently. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse under cool water and wash as usual.

Lace fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Embellishment for clothing and home decor items
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average price: $2–6 per meter = $1.8–$5.5 per yard*
Fabric density: 50–150 g/m2
Durability: High if spandex is added
Breathability: High
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Light, soft, sheer, abrasion-resistant
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of silk, cotton, or linen. Synthetic fibers made of polyester or rayon.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

A collage of dark blue lace fabric and a brown-haired girl wearing a dark blue lace dress.
Source: Abakhan, NA-KD

REPREVE fabric

REPREVE is the world’s number one brand of recycled performance fabric. It’s made by repurposing plastic bottles from landfills and oceans and making them into yarn. The bottles are sourced from across the globe in partnership with various communities. Since 2007, the company has recycled more than 32 billion bottles.

The process is as follows: bottles are first washed, cut into pieces, and melted. Once melted down, the mass is converted into chips which are then heated, pressed, and made into fibers. These fibers are woven together to make REPREVE fabric, which is commonly used for athletic and fashion apparel.

REPREVE fabric care tips

REPREVE can be safely machine washed. Wash it at temperatures lower than 40 degrees (104°F) using a mild detergent and low spin speed. REPREVE fabric can be air-dried or put in the dryer, but only at a medium temperature.

Stain removal tips for REPREVE fabric

Pre-treat the stain with liquid dish soap. Rub gently and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wash as usual. Always check that stains are gone before placing REPREVE clothes in the dryer. Otherwise, the heat will cause any remaining spots to set and make them almost impossible to remove.

REPREVE fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Shirts, hoodies, pants, jackets, hats, blankets, socks, sheets, upholstery
Type: Synthetic
Fabric density: 200–350 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Medium
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Resistant to water, abrasions, and wrinkles, and it dries quickly
Fabric composition: Synthetic fibers made from recycled materials—including used plastic bottles
Sustainability: Compared to making what’s called virgin fiber, the process of making REPREVE fabric emits fewer greenhouse gases while conserving water and energy in the process.
Heat retention abilities: REPREVE isn’t the best fabric choice for the summer because of low breathability, but it’s great for winter because it doesn’t absorb moisture.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium
Some Printful AOP products with REPREVE: custom High-Waisted Bikini, High-Waisted Bikini Bottoms, and Recycled Padded Bikini Top

A collage of blue REPREVE fabric and a woman wearing a REPREVE swimsuit
Source: Eysan Fabrics, Printful

Neoprene fabric

Neoprene is the brand name of polychloroprene, which is used as a substitute for rubber. It’s a stretchy, durable fabric type that retains its shape after each wear. It’s great for extreme conditions because it can withstand temperatures from -50 degrees (-58°F) to 135 degrees (275°F).

Neoprene was first invented in 1930 because of the global rubber shortage. Experiments in the 1950s helped make neoprene the number one material for wetsuits. Lamination of the fabric in the 1960s improved its durability and comfort. Nowadays, neoprene is mostly used for wetsuits. However, it can be found in some high fashion clothing pieces, electronics cases, and even automotive fan belts.

Neoprene fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash neoprene. Remember to turn the garment inside out before washing.

Fill a bowl of warm water together with a mild detergent and let the item soak for an hour. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Always air-dry flat to prevent any creases and damage.

Stain removal tips for neoprene fabric

Soak the stain with cold water immediately after it has occurred. Then, apply a bit of laundry detergent directly to the stain and brush it gently with a soft-bristle brush. Rinse under cold water and wash as usual.

Neoprene fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Wetsuits, swimsuits, dresses, jackets, scuba gear, laptop sleeves, phone cases, mousepads, gloves
Type: Synthetic
Average price: $2–$6 per meter = $1.8–$5.5 per yard*
Fabric density: 300+ g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability: Very low
Stretchability: High
Properties: Resistant to water, tearing, and abrasions; fireproof
Fabric composition: Synthetic substance made from chloroprene that’s stretched into textile fiber
Sustainability: Not sustainable, renewable, or biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: It’s ideal for wetsuits and gear designed to insulate against wet and cold environments that could be uncomfortable or harmful.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Medium
Some Printful products with neoprene: Laptop Sleeve

A collage of bright yellow neoprene fabric and a white laptop sleeve laying on the table.
Source: Shopee, Printful

Georgette fabric

Georgette is a type of crepe fabric that’s typically made from pure silk but can also be made from synthetic and semi-synthetic fibers like rayon, viscose, and polyester. Synthetic georgettes are less breathable but cheaper than the organic version. Georgette fabric can be layered on top of more solid fabrics to add dimension and create an eye-catching effect.

Georgette fabric was first introduced by renowned fashion dressmaker Georgette de la Plante at the beginning of the 20th century. The bouncy effect it gave to gowns made it a very popular fabric choice during the 1930s. Georgette is often used for evening gowns, bridal wear, and special occasions since it’s not as sheer as chiffon and clings to the body well.

Georgette fabric care tips

Georgette should be dry-cleaned or washed by hand. To wash by hand, mix cold water with a delicate laundry detergent and soak the garment for 10 minutes. Rub gently and rinse thoroughly. Don’t wring, stretch, or pull the wet garment. Always air-dry flat.

Stain removal tips for Georgette fabric

Soak the stain with cold water immediately after it has occurred. Then apply 3–4 drops of liquid detergent directly to the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with cold water and wash as usual.

Georgette fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, blouses, shirts, gowns, skirts, sarees, home decor
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average Price: $2 per meter = $1.8 per yard*
Fabric density: 30–80 g/m2
Durability: High
Breathability:  Medium
Stretchability: Medium
Properties: Light, drapes well, easy to dye, semi-sheer, textured, hypoallergenic, tear-resistant
Fabric composition: Organic fibers made of silk. Synthetic fibers made of polyester, viscose, or rayon.
Sustainability: Sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable when organic fibers are used
Heat retention abilities: It’s not the best choice for summer because of poor breathability, but it’s great for winter if made from synthetic materials.

Lamé fabric

Lamé is a shimmering material that’s created by combining metallic threads and natural or synthetic fibers into a woven or knit fabric. For a more affordable version, metal-coated plastic can also be used.

Lamé fabric dates back more than 4000 years. At that time, due to the high cost of precious metals, lamé fabric was worn exclusively by royalty. It was referred to as the “cloth of gold” because the fabric resembles gold coins or jewelry. Lamé fabric regained its popularity in the 1960s when Hollywood stars were often seen wearing lamé garments on the red carpet. Today imitation lamé fabric has become increasingly popular for costumes, especially cosplay.

Lamé fabric care tips

Any apparel made with metallic fibers isn’t washable—it’s dry-clean only. It’s better to find a cleaner who has experience working with lamé garments since certain chemicals can damage the fabric. Keep your lamé apparel from direct heat or sunlight. If you have to remove wrinkles, use an iron at the lowest setting and press from the wrong side of the garment.

Stain removal tips for lamé fabric

Blot away the remaining moisture with a clean cloth while the stain is fresh. Then, take the garment directly to the dry-cleaners to avoid permanent staining and a discoloring effect.

Lamé fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Dresses, blouses, costumes, cosplay, bags, skirts, shoes
Type: Organic/synthetic, depending on the type of fabric fiber used
Average price: $4 per meter (imitation) = $3.6 per yard*
Fabric density: 70 g/m2
Durability: Low
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: Depends on the type of fabric fiber used—either no give or highly stretchy
Properties: Light, shiny, semi-sheer, drapes well
Fabric composition: Woven metallic threads interspersed with natural or synthetic yarn
Heat retention abilities: Lamé fabric isn’t suitable for everyday use because of its low breathability.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

 

 Source: YES Fabrics, Vogue

Leather fabric

Leather is a natural and durable fabric type made using tanned animal skins. Different leathers result from different types of animal skins and the treatment techniques used. Leather is available in various colors, styles, and grades. It’s considered to be one of the most diversified natural textiles.

People have been manufacturing leather for more than 7000 years. Using ancient techniques, animal skins were first dried, then treated with fats, and preserved by smoking and salting. Nowadays, there are numerous leather types and, as a result, numerous manufacturing processes. Different leathers are used for clothing, footwear, accessories, and sports equipment.

Leather fabric care tips

It’s better to hand wash leather garments. Mix warm water with a bit of liquid soap and use a soft, clean sponge to gently wash away dirt, dust, and debris. For even better leather protection, use a soap specially formulated for cleaning leather. Avoid rubbing or soaking the areas as it can damage the leather. Always air-dry. Avoid exposing leather items to direct sunlight, as this can dry out the fabric and cause it to crack.

Stain removal tips for leather fabric

Blot away any excess moisture immediately after the stain has occurred. Add a few drops of liquid detergent to the water to create a soapy solution. Apply the solution directly to the stain and rub gently in the direction of the grain for a better chance at getting the stain out. Wash as usual.

Leather fabric characteristics and specifications

Suitable for: Jackets, coats, pants, wallets, belts, gloves, bags, shoes, seat covers
Type: Organic
Average Price: $3 per meter = $2.7 per yard*
Durability: High
Breathability: Low
Stretchability: Low
Properties: Soft, thick, and resistant to water, stains, and abrasions
Fabric composition: Organic material made from animal hides or skins
Sustainability: Unprocessed natural leather is completely organic and easily biodegradable
Heat retention abilities: Leather isn’t the best option for summer as it isn’t very breathable. But, it’s good for fall because it blocks the wind well.
Prone to pilling/bubbling: Low

Nonwoven fabrics

Nonwoven fabrics contain no interwoven strands. These fabrics are made by placing fibers together, then using various techniques or processes to combine them into a cohesive fabric-like material. Felt is one of the most common examples of nonwoven fabrics.

Nonwoven fabrics are divided into two categories: disposable and durable goods. Disposable nonwovens include products like diapers, household wipes, medical clothing, and face masks. Durable goods are used for garment linings, carpets, and car detailing. The most commonly used fibers for nonwoven fabrics are polyester and viscose (rayon).

Nonwoven fabrics care tips

Nonwoven fabrics should be dry-cleaned as much as possible. At home, you can hand wash nonwoven fabrics by immersing them in cold water for 2 minutes, rubbing gently, and rinsing thoroughly. Do not use detergents containing bleach or fluorescence. Always air-dry flat, out of direct sunlight. 

Woven fabrics

Woven fabric is any textile formed by weaving. These fabrics are made by using two or more sets of yarn interlaced at right angles to each other. Woven fabrics are much more durable than nonwoven fabrics. However, they only stretch diagonally unless made with elastic fibers.

There are several different types of woven fabrics, each with its own usages:

Plain weave–commonly used to produce bed linen and school shirts
Twill weave–the basis for jeans, work overalls, and backpacks
Herringbone weave–frequently used for winter jackets
Satin weave–often used for dresses
Pile weave–velvet is made using this weaving technique

A collage of blue denim fabric and a blue denim jacket with an attached embroidered patch.
Source: Vecteezy, Printful

Which fabric to choose?

All fabrics have their advantages and disadvantages, and it truly comes down to what you’re going to use them for. Choosing the right materials for your brand’s unique style is crucial to setting you apart from other stores. Remember to take into account your chosen niche and target audience. Also, always let your customers know how to take care of the different fabrics so they look better and last longer.

How many fabric types have you tried out from this guide? What’s your favorite fabric to use for different products? Let us know in the comments below.

Read next: How to Start a Clothing Brand: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide

* Price ranges have been sourced from https://www.indiamart.com/. Prices may vary by region and supplier.

author

By Diana Baltina on Apr 7, 2022

Diana Baltina

Diana is a Content Marketing specialist at Printful. She’s passionate about creative writing, traveling, and doing sports.

Diana is a Content Marketing specialist at Printful. She’s passionate about creative writing, traveling, and doing sports.