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A Guide to Understand Types of Fibers and Fabrics for Clothing

A Guide to Understand Types of Fibers and Fabrics for Clothing

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In order to create a very easy guide for readers to understand a little more about types of fibers and better choices in fabrics, we are having gathered some information to give more details about the specificity of each type of fiber and help us with our choices.

It is to know that fibers can be natural, artificial, or synthetic. Each has its own qualities and characteristics and depending on how the yarn is made or if there is some mixture in the composition, the performance, and appearance of the fabric can be affected. 

The natural fibers are cotton, linen, wool, and silk, all of animal or vegetable origin. They last longer and are more comfortable. Besides, they don't smell bad, you know? The body “breathes” better when we wear clothes made from these fabrics because they do not heat up so much. There are so many more and new fibers that are being developed from many other unconventional materials. Let’s get to the point!


Cotton is a natural, long, and resistant fiber, which guarantees quality and durability to the fabric. Its characteristics allow the skin to breathe, which is essential on hot days, as cotton absorbs moisture and dries easily, preventing sweat from remaining on the body.

Due to its resistance and durability, cotton fiber has a very high versatility resulting in good quality fabrics for both hot and cold days, with Pima and Egyptian being the highest quality fibers.

Satin, crepe, and cambric, for example, are fabrics based on cotton, they are light and ideal for hot days. Gabardine is more suitable for cold days. It can also be found mixed with microfiber, which gives it waterproof properties.


It is also part of natural fibers and has properties similar to cotton. However, its resilience property of returning to its original shape after being subjected to an elastic deformation is very low. That is why the linen crumples so much and is so difficult to iron. Linen can be mixed with other fibers, such as cotton or viscose, for example. The mixture gives rise to a fabric with properties of softness, better trim, and ironing and is even more affordable.


It is considered an artificial fiber because it is made from cellulose, extracted from plants and trees. Fabrics based on viscose are light and fresh, as, like cotton, they absorb moisture and dry easily. Another advantage is that viscose and mixed fabrics have a lower price than some 100% cotton fabrics. As they are similar to each other, in some cases the replacement is worth it. The only disadvantage of viscose is that it kneads easily.


Silk is a natural fiber obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm, it is considered the most resistant fiber in addition to being long and very soft. It does not have so much shine and has high absorption, allowing the skin to breathe, leaving its pleasant use on hot days. However, the price of silk is usually a little high, but you can replace it with satin that is 100% cotton and has one side that is shinier. Some brands work with unconventional forms to the process that uses silk in their pieces produced manually from cocoons discarded by the conventional industry.


Tencel or Modal are the trade names of Lyocell. An artificial fiber developed to be environmentally friendly, as it is biodegradable and produces a resistant fabric, with a soft touch and that is shaped like silk. Soft as cotton, it has a good fit, slightly shiny, and has good resistance to moisture.


Natural protein fiber made from the shearing of sheep, sheep, and goats. Whenever we talk about wool, the first thing that comes to mind is that warm shirt or that tingling coat, only that’s not how the band plays! Made of 100% wool, cold wool is suitable for warm weather. Cold wool fabrics are composed of very fine threads, so they are considered light, comfortable, and, especially, ideal for tailoring clothes.

The difference between cold wool and traditional wool fabrics is the yarn. In the case of clothes made from traditional wool, the thread is thicker. Therefore, the clothes are heavier and warm up more, making them more suitable for winter.


It is resistant, lightweight, but hardly absorbs moisture, so it dries very fast and does not need to be ironed. Lycra is widely used with polyamide or nylon to make lingerie and sportswear.


It is the most widely used synthetic fiber, especially in mixtures when you want to reduce the wrinkled aspect of the fabric. Polyester originates from petroleum by means of non-renewable resources that are plastic. So, it is not very breathable and does not allow as much heat exchange with the external environment, heating up more and leaving a bad smell.

It is commonly found in blends in which it is used to reduce the wrinkled aspect of the fabric. It makes the touch soft and add properties to dry without wrinkling and can have ecological characteristics being melted and recycled. Usually, polyester fiber is made from plastic bottles.


It has the touch and appearance of wool but is easier to wash and does not cause allergies, but forms pilling. The pilling may appear depending on the composition of the fabric, the type of yarn, and the finish of use. Similarly, the composition is higher and the percentage of synthetic fiber present in the fabric is greater the possibility of making a ball.

We have tried to go through some of the most used fibers and fabrics type in this post and we have further elaborated on the characteristics of several types of fabrics. The above-mentioned fabrics have been in use for a long time in the apparel industry and they can be found everywhere. If you are looking to buy a big amount of fabrics GoSourcing365 is a better place to find international manufactures of all these fabrics.

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