Understanding the Fabrics We Use

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lacey satin nightie and robe

Put simply, not all synthetic fabrics are the same, even when they’re made out of the same fibre. Polyester fabrics are not all created equally. Yes, natural fibres are breathable and lovely in everyday life. …So the question that often comes up “Polyester – Isn’t it always horribly unbreathable?”

For the answer to that, let’s first look at what makes a fabric breathable.

It’s true. In general, natural fibres are more breathable.

What does “breathable” really mean, though?

In essence, breathability refers to a fabric’s ability to maintain the equilibrium between the moisture contained in the fabric itself and the air around it. Fabrics that are constantly absorbing moisture and releasing moisture are more breathable than fabrics that don’t.

In practice, what this means is that when there is moisture released from your skin, it doesn’t become trapped in the air between your skin and the fabric. Yes, natural fibres are breathable and lovely in everyday life. But where they are less successful is dealing with very high levels of moisture. Natural fibres tend to absorb a lot of the fluid, holding onto it instead of releasing it all back into the outside air, away from the body.

Some people love to only wear and use natural fabrics and yarns, such as bamboo, cotton, cashmere, silk and wool. The benefits to these are generally breathable, hypoallergenic and durable. They generally come with a hefty price tag, more expensive than manmade fibres and need more care in regards to washing and drying.

Let’s go back a few steps……there has always been a slight stigma around polyester when it comes to fashion. If you are like me and have wonderful memories about your early 20’s living in the 1970’s, you will remember hitting the disco floor on the weekends dancing to Saturday Night Fever. Polyester has come a long way from the slightly plastic looking, cheap and uncomfortable suits from the 70’s and the advertising of the day, that described polyester “a miracle fibre that can be worn for 68 days straight without ironing and still look presentable.”

Here are some popular uses for polyester:

  • Fashion clothing
  • Sportswear
  • Fleeces
  • Coats and Anoraks
  • Bedding such as sheets, duvet covers and sleeping bags
  • Footwear
  • Filling for duvets
  • Sewing threads
  • Soft furnishing and upholstery
  • Textiles
  • Luggage and other bags

Modern polyesters have come leaps and bounds and is now a higher grade fibre. Modern blended polyesters can feel and look as beautiful as real silk and wool, but it is all about ensuring you opt for a higher-grade version or the right blend.

The main issue regarding synthetic fabrics, such as 100% polyester is that they don’t breathe. Some find when wearing it, that they can feel sweaty or have a feeling of humidity, which can be uncomfortable. Technological advances combined with modern manufacturing have dramatically improved the feel, drape and the woven blends of the some polyester fabrics that make them more breathable and creating moisture-wicking polyesters.

rendezvous robe and nightie

People with very sensitive skin might find that they get a small reaction to wearing synthetic fabrics; however, this is usually not as common when it is a blended fabric.

Envy Nightwear use a mixed blend satin weave in their sleepwear, which is extremely permeable, meaning that moisture can pass through easily. We also add spandex to all our fabrics which is designed to give the wearer extra comfort and movement, but also allows for bits of moisture to be pulled through the weave and towards the outside of the fabric, where they can evaporate, making the garment more breathable.

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