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Glossary of Terms

Fabric Facts

Modal

A term used to describe fibers of regenerated cellulose. These fibers, when fully processed and in a wet state, are able to withstand a great deal of force. This material is used when you want a naturally soft and durable garment.

Modal is currently called the new wonder fabric. Made from beech wood chips, this fabric combines the benefits of natural fiber and the fantastically soft feel of modern microforms. It is a new kind of natural fabric with the ability to absorb moisture like cotton and the luster of silk. It remains soft and lustrous after several washes. Wear modal when you want a fine drape and luxurious feel to a garment.



Pearl Fiber

A fabric that contains nano-grade pearl powder made from freshwater pearls. It is added to a fabric fiber to increase softness and moisture management.

Adding tiny bits of pearl powder to the clothing fibers in fabric was first invented in the Far East. The purpose of this highly sophisticated process is to add a great deal of softness to the fabric. It's been said that nano-grade pearl powder, when added to a fabric fiber, allows fabric to breathe better and manage moisture more efficiently. When mixed with other soft fibers it enhances the softness of the fabric. Wear a pearl fiber fabric when you want the ultimate in softness, comfort and breathability in a fabric.



Pima Cotton

A very strong, high-grade cotton of medium staple (weave) developed from selected Egyptian cottons in the southwest United States. Pima cotton is chosen for its durability, strength and absorbency.

Pima cotton originated in the Sea Islands of South Carolina as early as the 1790s. The cotton seed was interbred with varieties from Egypt to develop the Pima variety. Improvements in Pima cotton have continued since its introduction. "The real breakthrough came in 1951 when a seed was developed and introduced that produced a pima cotton with superior fiber properties, luster and silkiness ... as well as an unusually high yield," says the Supima Association, a trade group. Cotton in general can absorb and release perspiration rather quickly, allowing the fabric to breathe. It can tolerate high temperatures and takes dyes very easily. Use a pima cotton fabric when you want a soft, natural cotton feel that's durable in nature.



Sandwashed Silk

Silk is a natural filament fiber produced by the silkworm in the construction of its cocoon. Most silk is collected from cultivated worms. The chief portion of commercial silk is from Asia, primarily China and Japan. Sandwashed silk is chosen for its soft texture.

Characteristics of silk are: resiliency, aesthetics, elasticity and strength, warm in winter, cool in summer. Sandwashing is a finishing process in which the silk is literally washed with sand or another abrasive material to produce a soft, sueded feel and a faded appearance. Wear a sandwashed silk material when you want softness, excellent drape and outstanding feel to the fabric.



Tencel

A fabric made from the cellulose found in wood pulp which is processed into a silk-like, delicate fabric.

This new fiber also represents a milestone in the development of environmentally sustainable textiles. Tencel is a natural, man-made fiber. It is the trade name for the generic fiber Lyocell. Tencel is known for absorbing moisture and quickly releasing it into the atmosphere. It's also known for being soft because the fine surface of the fiber has low fiber stiffness. In the fabric world, Tencel is known for its "drape". It flatters the human form. The look is luxurious and refined. It is also known to be more comfortable for those with sensitive skin. Wear tencel fabric when you want a great flow to a garment.



Viscose

Viscose starts out as a viscous solution prepared by treating cellulose with caustic soda and carbon bisulfide. Eventually this turns into fibers used as a textile known as rayon.

Several manufacturers including Lenzing have been able to make superb quality environmentally safe viscose for fabrics by using the waste products and recycling or selling them. Use viscose when you want a soft flowing look for summer, or if it is blended with polyester to enhance the natural aesthetic and breathability of a garment.