When it comes to fabrics, many people are in the dark. Satin, polyester, silk, twill, what do all these terms mean? Read on to find out...
The two things to understand is the difference between a fabric material and a fabric weave. Fabric materials refer to the fibers in a fabric's composition and can be natural or synthetic. Natural fibers include wool, cotton and silk. Synthetic fibers include polyester and nylon.
Fabric weave on the other hand refers to the method used when combining the fibers into a usable fabric. The weave fundamentally changes the softness of the fabric and also, to some extent, its durability. Popular weaves include Satin and Twill. These weaves can be made out of natural fibers or synthetic fibers.
The most well known fabric weave is satin. Satin is known for it's luxurious softness and sheen. It was first produced using silk in the Middle Ages and is what most people think of in regards to silky smoothness.
Another popular weave is twill. Twill does not have the characteristic sheen of satin and is popular for it's durable nature. Twill is also better suited for applications where the fabric is being handled as it is not slippery like satin. A popular example of twill fabric is a pair of jeans. Here the fabric is woven to endure the strains of a working life.
So next time you handle some fabric, consider not just what material it is made of, but what arrangement of fibres has tied it all together.