There is no shopping for clothes or fabric without one or two blended fabrics in the fray – and blended fabrics win almost always! The reason for this is that, in blended fabrics the characteristics of individual component fibers are blended and the result is a much superior fabric.
What are blends?
Blending in textile production is a process where a number of fibers of different origins are mixed together to produce a different yarn. The fibers blended can be of different origins, also different in composition, length, thickness or color.
How are blended fabrics made ?
Blends are often made by intermingling two or more types of staple fibers to produce one yarn. In other words, more than one fibers are twisted together to make a yarn. These fibers can be of different types, depending on the effect/advantages you are aiming for – performance, cost or aesthetics.
There are several types of blending processes like bale mixing, flock blending, web blending, sliver blending, fiber blending and roving blending.
Read more about the making of blended fabrics here – https://texinlife.com/blending-process-of-yarn-making/
Advantages of blended fabrics
Each natural or man made fibers have their own good and bad qualities. Blending allows us to combine the different qualities of fibers and emphasize their good and minimize the bad qualities.
Blending definitely improves the performance of the fabric. For example, a blend of cotton and polyester fibers results in fewer wrinkles and better absorbency. It also improves the texture and feel of the fabric.
Sometimes blending reduces the cost of the fabric. For example wool is an expensive fiber. But when wool is blended with polyester, which costs less, the cost of the fabric is reduced.
Blending can also produce cross dye effects.
It also optimizes the raw material for spinning and finishing by compensating for the variations in fibers.
Finally blending improves the durability of the product. When strong durable synthetic fibers are blended with delicate natural fibers like silk, definitely longevity of the fabric increases.
Qualities of blended fabrics
Blended fabrics mix the inherent qualities of two fibers to produce a new fabric with all desired qualities.
Today the most common blends are made by mixing natural fibers with man-made fibers.
Natural fibers are durable, breathable, absorbent, biodegradable and non- allergic. These are their positive qualities. Their negative qualities are that they are expensive, high maintenance, delicate and shrink fast.
Man-made fibers on the other hand are good in resisting water, thus less prone to staining. They are also stretchable, durable, strong, and good in retaining shape. Their negative qualities include being prone to skin allergies and nonbiodegradable.
Different types of popular blended fabrics
Polyester has many advantages like easy wash and wear, less wrinkling, ability to retain shape, durability and it is less expensive. It doesnot shrink like natural fibers; Read more on polyester here.
Cotton/ polyester fabric : Cotton polyester blend is common in clothing especially for shirting materials. This blend is soft, light and durable. Moreover it doesnot shrink or wrinkle. The blend may not be as breathable as 100% cotton, but its new properties make it ideal for heavy usage and daily wear. The best t-shirts are almost always a cotton and polyester
blend. Other egs: Polycotton fabric, polycotton poplin fabric
Terrycotton is a blend of polyester and cotton.
Polyester /Viscose: Lizzy Bizzy (also Bizzy Lizzy) is a premium polyester-viscose blended fabric. It is strong and durable and does not shrink because of polyester fibers; it is soft and breathable because of viscose fibers.
The presence of Cotton fibers increases absorbency, provides comfort to the wearer, lessens static, and is easy to dye. But there are some negative qualities like easily wrinkling and creasing and decaying with exposure to light.
Silk/cotton blends : Blended silks are made because of the cost of pure silk. When silk is blended with other fabrics it becomes affordable. Silk cotton crepe is a popular clothing fabric.
Wool/cotton: The wool and cotton blend highlights their inherent qualities. It gives better comfort, aesthetics, and performance. The ability of the garment to retain its shape even after several washes is considerably improved by blending cotton and wool. Costly wool-like mohair, alpaca is blended with cotton to decrease cost.
Linen/ cotton: 100% linen fabric is expensive and difficult to maintain as the linen has a tendency to break down when folded or ironed at the same place. However, they are very absorbent, have a natural luster, and are soft and cool to touch. When blended with cotton, the strength of the fabric is improved and the cost of the fabric is reduced.
Rayon/cotton: Rayon has better moisture absorbency, adds luster, and is less static. This blend is wearable and washable and is prone to fewer wrinkles. It is soft and has a fuzzy surface. When cotton and viscose are blended, the result is a shimmery soft texture.
Acrylic is usually added to other fibers to make knit fabrics. Acrylic has wool like qualities and adds softness. Read more on acrylic here.
Nylon/wool : Nylon wool blend makes the fabric softer and more absorbent. Not only that it makes the fabric more durable and stronger. It produces a light weight all season suiting with less wrinkles and shrinkage.
Nylon/ Acetate : These two man-made fibers when blended together gives soft satiny sheen, durability, stretch, and wrinkle/ shrinkage resistance. It will be more absorbent than nylon alone.
Ramie/ polyester: Ramie is highly prone to wrinkles. When blended with polyester it provides strength and luster with durability, anti-shrinkage, and anti-wrinkles.
Linen/ silk: Linen silk blend will be undoubtedly expensive, but will be durable and unparalleled in its beautiful lustre.
Linen/ rayon : Linen rayon blends both their qualities and the resultant fabric is wrinkle less and drapes better.
Wool gives warmth and adds bulk, helps retain shape, increases absorbency and resists wrinkles. Read more on wool here.
Premium wool fibers are usually blended with other wool for reducing price. Wool is blended with rayon to make it softer. Wool is blended with acrylic to make it less heavy. Wool is blended with polyester to make wool stronger. Camel hair fabric is a blend of cashmere and wool.
Cotton /wool blend : Cotswool (cotton and wool) fabric combines comfort of cotton with warmth of wool
Wool felt blends : Wool is blended with rayon fibers to make it softer.
Silk gives lustre, comfort and adds prestige. Read more on silk here.
Silk/ wool: This perfect blend is often used to make premium ties as it gives subtle texture to the fabric. This blend is also breathable, drapes well and has a luminous sheen.
Spandex is blended with other fibers often to make fabrics that stretch. Nylon and Spandex blends are used to make swimsuits. Spandex adds elasticity and comfort and Nylon gives durability, strength. Read more on spandex here