Fabrics are made from a variety of different things. Some are harvested from plants, while others are cultivated from the developments of animals and insects. Over time, hybrids of fabrics have been developed, combining their attributes to make clothing more comfortable, convenient and affordable.
Cotton is harvested from plants. It is grown in many countries, but is a primary crop for both China and the United States. It takes three mechanical systems to harvest cotton. Cotton picking machines pull the cotton from the burr. Doffers then remove the seed cotton from its spindles. The seed is then dropped into a cotton stripping machine, which strips and separates it onto a conveyer. The cotton is then stored in bales, which weigh about 500 lbs. The bales are then stored in modules to protect them from wear and weather.
Cotton yarn is prepared and then woven or knitted into fabric. Weaving involves the interlacing of the yarns to form a solid, sturdy cloth. A loom makes the weaving possible. There are three different types of weaves that cotton is used in. They vary in feel and style. Knitting involves using needles to interlace the yarn. It can be done by hand or with a machine.
Silk is a type of protein fiber. This is because it is woven from materials created by insects. The most common silks are made from the cocoons of the mulberry silkworm. It can also be made from the creations of other insects such as caterpillars, bees and wasps. It is made in several countries, but primarily in Thailand, India and China.
Silk has a very smooth and shiny appearance and feel. It caresses the skin when touched and provides a lot of comfort. This has made it very popular as an imported good. It can be found in linens and clothing. Often, it is used to make lingerie. It does build up a lot of static, because it is not a good electrical conductor. Also, it has a lower elasticity, which is not always practical for form-fitting garments.
Cotton Silk Fabric
Cotton and silk can be combined to make a hybrid fabric. It is usually made as a primarily cotton blend. It is lightweight, absorbent and soft, though not as smooth as silk. The elasticity and feel of the fabric depends largely on the percentages used of each. Cotton blends come in all types of clothing, furniture coverings and linens.
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Eva David is a freelance writer and graphic designer based in Chicago. She has received several awards for her short stories. David holds a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications and Advertising from the University of South Florida.