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11 Types of fabric: Here are the pros and cons and their uses

If you’re looking to create something textile-based, there are a lot of different kinds of fabrics to choose from. The wide range of available fabric types means that there’s always one that’ll suit your needs, but actually finding the type you need can be stressful! Looking for all types of fabric? We’ve compiled an extensive list to help you find what you’re looking for.

So, what are the different types of fabric? Let’s dive in!

1. Cotton

Any types of fabric list usually starts with one of the all-time classics: cotton. Cotton fabric is an old-school type of fabric. A natural product, cotton is very versatile, and suitable for a lot of different types of projects, including clothing, pillows, curtains, towels, and bedding.

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Feels nice to the touch
  • Sturdy
  • Moisture-absorbing
  • Breathable
  • Easy to dye

Cons:

  • Creases easily

Creation by Atelier Meesters (Katoen Popeline Eco)

2. Twill

Aside from the types of fabric materials used, the weave of a fabric can also determine its properties. Twill is a type of cotton fabric with a very thick weave. This durable fabric is versatile, used in both clothing and interior design, ranging from pillows to shoe linings.

Pros:

  • Strong
  • Easy maintenance
  • Breathable
  • Comfortable
  • Ranging from light- to heavyweight

 

3. Voile

Voile is an airy cotton (blend) fabric, used in the fashion industry for things like blouses and scarves, but it can also be used to make curtains. Its distinctive feature is its sheerness, which sets it apart from most fabrics.

Pros:

  • Sheer
  • Lightweight
  • Crisp
  • Soft

Cons:

  • Stiff

 

4. Linen

Linen is the quintessential summer fabric. It’s airy and often used for blouses, bedding, wide-leg pants, skirts, and dresses. Its casual look also makes it perfect for interior design, where it’s used to upholster things like pillows or poufs.

Pros:

  • Airy
  • Well-ventilated and -insulated
  • Dries quickly

Cons:

  • Creases easily

 

5. Silk

Out of all fabric material types, silk is one of the most high-end ones. Because it’s a smooth, breathable, and lightweight fabric, silk tends to be used for making quilts and pillows, but also blouses, tunics or tops.

Pros:

  • Drapes smoothly
  • Beautiful sheen
  • Lightweight
  • Anti-static
  • Temperature-regulating
  • Good to sleep on (or in) if your skin is sensitive

Cons:

Creation by Wilma Lieben (Zijde Satin 12,5 m/m)

6. Cotton silk

Cotton-silk is a hybrid of cotton and silk: the best of both worlds! It inherits the shiny feel and smooth draping of silk as well as the softness of cotton. It’s perfect for any clothing article, furniture covering or bed linens.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Absorbent
  • Soft
  • Depending on the ratio of silk to cotton, it can be very elastic

Cons:

  • Not as smooth as silk
  • Carefully read the instructions before washing

 

7. Lyocell

Lyocell is a new sustainable type of textile that has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years. So, what is lyocell? It’s a mostly-natural fabric made of cellulose, extracted from wood chips. The fabric drapes nicely, is easy to wear and nice to work with. As such, it’s used for all different types of clothing.

Pros:

  • Drapes nicely
  • Well-ventilated
  • Soft, silk-like

Cons:

  • Sustainable but not 100% organic

 

8. Viscose

Viscose is type of rayon fabric. What is rayon? It’s a semi-synthetic fiber that is both comfortable to wear and soft to the touch. Because of this combination, viscose has been dubbed ‘artificial silk.’ The fabric is widely used in the fashion industry.

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Luxurious look
  • Wrinkle-resistant
  • Keeps its shape
  • Colorfast

Cons:

  • Shrinks easily

  • Not elastic
  • Not sustainable

Creation by Linea Matei 

9. Lenzing (EcoVero)

Lenzing (or EcoVero) is a sustainable alternative for viscose. It offers the same comfort, but, as it’s made from wood pulp, its production process results in 50% less CO2 emissions.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Soft
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Luxurious look

Cons:

  • Shrinks easily; pay attention when washing

 

10. Hemp

That’s right, hemp is also used as a fabric! Hemp fabric is perfect for casual clothing, but also for bags, chairs, poufs, and other home accessories.

Pros:

  • Environmentally friendly
  • Sturdy
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Stiff
  • Rough on the skin


The above colorful flags are printed on our Hemp Slub fabric

11. Mesh

Mesh is a little less well-known than some other fabrics, but it’s no less useful! What is mesh fabric? Well, it’s a lightly-woven textile with a mesh-like appearance, made of polyester, nylon or spandex. It’s typically used in sportswear, dancewear, shoes, and lingerie.

Pros:

  • Water repellent
  • Highly elastic
  • Wrinkle resistant
  • Sturdy
  • Easy to maintain

Cons:

  • Very stretchy; this makes it hard to process

 

12. Polyester

Polyester is an often-used fabric in the fashion world. It’s a lightweight, shape-retaining, and wrinkle-free fiber, making it perfect for various clothing articles. It’s also a commonly used textile in sportswear.

Pros:

  • Drapes smoothly
  • Sturdy
  • Doesn’t crease
  • Colorfast
  • Elegant look

Cons:

  • Synthetic; it can feel stuffy
  • Easily statically charged

Fabric: Polyester Martinique

13. Velvet

Velvet has made a triumphant return in recent years. What is velvet? It’s a fabric with a rich, deep shine, giving it an expensive look. Clothing-wise, velvet tends to be used for winter clothes, such as skirts, pants or jackets. Additionally, it’s great for making home accessories and furniture like armchairs, sofas or poufs.

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Hard-wearing
  • Soft to the touch

Cons:

  • Easily statically charged
  • Wear-related changes in luster can make it seem like there’s a shadow on parts of the fabric which regularly touch other surfaces

 

14. Elastane

Elastane is an extremely elastic, synthetic fiber, often used to add stretch to other fabrics. It tends to be used as a blend with cotton for things like t-shirts, jeans, and underwear. Elastane is usually also added to fitted sheets so they can stretch around a mattress.

Pros:

  • Easy to incorporate into other fabrics
  • Great freedom of movement while retaining its fit

Cons:

  • Not environmentally friendly
  • Can lose its fit if you wash it too hot

 

15. Canvas

Canvas is a versatile, woven fabric, usually made from cotton, linen or polyester. It’s used for creating anything from tents to bags to shoes. No matter what you’re making, chances are that canvas could be a good fit.

Pros:

  • Sturdy
  • Durable
  • When made out of synthetic fibers, it’s water-resistant

Cons:

  • Depending on the type of canvas, it might not be machine washable
  • Can feel rough on the skin

 

16. Panama

Panama is a type of canvas which has a rougher texture than regular canvas because of the higher thread count. It’s perfect for making high-end clothing like suits or dresses.

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Sturdy
  • Wrinkle-resistant

Cons:

  • Heavyweight

 

17. Crêpe

Crêpe is a type of silk, wool or synthetic fabric that has been tightly twisted to add texture. It is traditionally used in ceremonial activities, but can also be used for creating all kinds of clothing.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable

Cons:

  • Cannot be machine washed

 

18. Georgette

Georgette is a type of tight, thin crêpe, which looks thin and crinkly. Like regular crêpe fabric, it is used in the production of clothing like dresses, scarves, and blouses.

Pros:

  • Drapes well
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy
  • Wear-resistant

Cons:

  • Cannot be machine washed
  • Feels rough on the skin

 

19. Gabardine

Gabardine is a tightly woven fabric made out of polyester, cotton or wool. Usually, gabardine is reserved for heavier clothing like suits or coats.

Pros:

  • Durable
  • Water-resistant
  • Doesn’t crease easily

Cons:

  • Depending on the material, it can’t be machine washed

 

20. Peach Skin

Peach skin is a microfiber polyester fabric known for its soft feeling. It is used both in fashion and interior design, ranging from skirts and dresses to curtains and quilts.

Pros:

  • Soft
  • Silk-like
  • Lightweight
  • Drapes nicely
  • Elegant look

 

21. U-circular

There are many different types of fabric, but U-circular is unique among them. U-circular is a new collection of fabrics from House of U which mimics all the best qualities of fabrics like silk, jersey, mesh, velvet, crêpe, and more. Its base fiber consists of Rpet, or recycled polyester, which is made from recycled PET beverage bottles.

 

The types of fabric and your project

Hopefully, our blog helped you figure out the different types of fabric and their uses. As you might have noticed, there is no single right fabric for all clothing or furniture purposes. The kind of textile you should use depends on what you want it to do.

 

Still need helping picking the right one?

This fabric types list, including almost all types of fabric, should help you pick which textiles to use for your fashion or interior design projects. Would you like more advice on the types of fabric and which to use? At House of U, a digital textile printing company for the international fashion and interior design market, we’d be happy to help you select the right fabric for your project!

Please, feel free to contact us or order your preferred fabrics from our online store.

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