There is no shopping for clothes or fabric without one or two blended fabrics in the fray – and blended fabrics win almost always! This is because, in blended fabrics, the characteristics of individual component fibers are blended, and the result is a much superior fabric.
In this article I will cover:
What is blended fabric?
Blending in textile production is a process where several fibers of different origins are mixed to produce a different yarn. The blended fibers can be of different origins, 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 fiber is 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 its own good and bad qualities. Blending allows us to combine the different qualities of fibers, emphasize their good, and minimize their 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 at resisting water and thus less prone to staining. They are also stretchable, durable, strong, and good at retaining shape. Their negative qualities include being prone to skin allergies and being non-biodegradable.
Different types of popular blended fabrics
Polyester has many advantages like easy wash and wear, less wrinkling, ability to retain shape, durability, and less expensive. It does not 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 does not 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.
Terry cotton 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 the 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. Fabrics of rayon-cotton blend are wearable and washable and are 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.
Acrylic/cotton: This is usually a 50-50 blend. Most of the sweaters you buy are a cotton, acrylic and viscose blend.
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 lightweight all-season suiting with fewer 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 luster.
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 to reduce the 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 the comfort of cotton with the warmth of wool.
Wool felt blends : Wool is blended with rayon fibers to make it softer.
Silk gives luster, and comfort and adds prestige. Read more on silk here.
Silk/ wool: This perfect blend is often used to make premium ties as it gives a 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 and strength. Read more on spandex here