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Polyester is one of the most popular fabrics used for interiors, design, and fashion. But what is actually polyester fabric? We already know that polyester is a fabric, however, it has some specific qualities which make it an excellent option for clothing and other uses. This is not a natural option compared to wool, cotton, or silk. However, even if it is not a man-made fabric, it still has some positive points.

What Is Polyester?

Polyester refers to any type of fabric that is made of polyester fibers. Polyester is the term used for a synthetic, man-made polymer, which is a unique material that is also known as polyethylene terephthalate (PET). It is a combination of terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. This might sound more scientific, but generally, polyester is just a type of plastic.

History Of Polyester

In 1941, British chemists James Tennant Dickson and John Rex Whinfield introduced Polyester to the fashion world. In the 1970s, its popularity has grown most probably because of its advertisement. It was described as a miracle fiber that anyone can wear for 68 days without ironing and still looks amazing.

This fabric is involved in some controversies. Polyester was popularly known as a cheap and uncomfortable fabric during the 1970s. Nevertheless, it has come a long way since it was made popular in TV shows such as Brady Bunch and Saturday Night Fever.

As a polyester fabric, it can be used in a lot of things such as textiles, furnishings, clothing, and so much more. Check the labels of the clothes that you love, and you will discover what they are made from. If it is a combination of natural fabric and polyester, then the percentages of each will be indicated on the label.

Features of Polyester Fabric

Polyester is extremely durable, strong, and can resist many chemicals. This is one of the most popular fabrics in the fashion industry since it can resist stretching, tearing, and shrinking as well as abrasions and wrinkling.

They do not pill easily compared to other natural fibers such as cotton. Polyester clothing is strong enough to handle abrasion from machine-washing and they do not need special care. Since polyester is very durable, it is commonly used for making outdoor clothing.

Polyester fabrics can be easily dyed and can retain their shape quite well. The fibers that are used for creating Polyester are extremely strong yet lightweight. Polyester fabrics are very easy to maintain, and you can easily wash and dry them at home. It is an excellent choice for outdoor clothing since it is a quick-drying fabric.

Polyester is moisture resistant. It can resist even droplets of liquid. This means that rather than soaking it up, polyester will wick away moisture. That is why it is the perfect material for creating outdoor clothing and gear.

Why Choose Polyester?

Polyester is a popular option for apparel since they are heat-sensitive or thermoplastic. In other words, fabrics that are made of 100% polyester, can be easily pleated and you can quickly laser-cut some patterns and shapes into them. They are highly resistant to stains, making them easy to clean.

Unfortunately, clothing that is made of 100% polyester can be prone to stagnant build-up. Although this is not harmful, it can be very annoying. To get rid of this problem, polyester is often mixed with more stable fibers such as cotton. The outcome will be polycotton and it will comprise the benefits of both fabrics. Polycotton is durable, strong, and more breathable compared to 100% polyester.

You might notice that apparels that are made of polyester are silky to touch and slippery. The fibers are either knitted or woven, although the knitted ones are more flexible. Polyester fibers are naturally bright and can be altered easily for various uses.

Common Uses of Polyester

  • Polyester can be used for manufacturing home furnishing products such as pillowcases, blankets, curtains, as well as bedsheets.
  • Polyesters are popularly used for making clothing. Most clothing apparel is created from polyester threads or polyester yarns. For instance, polyester hats, polyester jackets, polyester shirts, and polyester pants.
  • Polyester is also very valuable for upholstered furniture.
  • Polyester plays an important role in the production of some forms of car tire reinforcements.
  • This polymer is also very useful for manufacturing mouse pads.
  • Most often, polyester, along with other components, is used for making safety belts.
  • Although it is not quite common, polyester fabrics can also be utilized for conveyor belts.
  • Because of its soft texture and insulating properties, polyester can be an excellent material for making cushions for pillows as well as for upholstery padding.
  • When manufacturing coated fabrics, polyester can also be applied.
  • There are some types of polymers that are utilized for the production of tarpaulin. Consequently, there are also some types of polyesters that are often applied in manufacturing bottles.
  • Since polyester fabrics are extremely resistant to staining, they are perfect for making tablecloths.
  • Polyesters are also applicable in the production of dielectric films that are designed for capacitors.
  • LCDs (Liquid Crystal Displays) are often produced with the help of polyesters.
  • Polyesters are also used for wood products that require high-quality finishes such as pianos, interiors, and guitars.
  • Polymers are also great for film insulation such as insulating wires and tapes.

Does Polyester Have Any Disadvantages?

Some people prefer to wear clothing that is made of natural fabrics including wool, silk, cashmere, and cotton. Generally, they are durable, hypoallergenic, and breathable. However, they tend to be more expensive compared to manmade fibers. Additionally, they require more care when it comes to washing and drying.

When it comes to synthetic fabrics including polyester, the main issue is that they are not breathable. Some people who wear them complain of feeling sweaty and uncomfortable. The reason behind this is that the moisture absorption of polyester is extremely low compared to those natural fabrics such as cotton. But nowadays, modern manufacturers have started to develop more moisture-wicking polyesters, which are excellent for leisurewear and work out.

Synthetic fabrics might have some small reactions to people who have extremely sensitive skin. However, this is quite uncommon, especially for blended fabrics. Polyester by itself is extremely flammable, hence proper care should always be observed. For instance, if you are using or wearing clothing that is made from 100% polyester close to an open flame.

Since polyester is made from plastic, you might be wondering if it’s bad for the environment. It is a fact that it does not originate from an unsustainable source, nevertheless, the polyester fabric actually comes from recycled plastic bottles, which is quite amazing. But the drawback is that plastic is not compostable, in other words, they do not properly break down in soil.

Is Polyester Easy to Design With?

When it comes to making or sewing your own clothing, it is much easier to design your own polyester fabric. You can even do it online by uploading your favorite pattern to websites that have a design interface. Here, you are free to change the size as well as the repetition and position of your design. Select your preferred dimension and quantity before placing an order. It is recommended that you should do a test print first.

Bottom Line

There is no doubt that polyester fabric can be used in different applications and are very valuable to a lot of industries. Just like any synthetic material, some reactions could likely occur. However, this is quite uncommon, most especially when polyester is combined with other types of fibers such as cotton. There is always a possibility that adverse reactions can occur in textiles and fabrics, regardless of if it is synthetic or natural. But generally, using polyester is very beneficial.

Polyester has some challenges, particularly, the old-fashioned polyester, which became famous during the 70s and suddenly fell due to the uncomfortable double-knit polyester fabric. However, polyester has come a long way. In fact, modern polyester is now made of higher-grade fiber. Thanks to technological advances, the look, drape, and feel of polyester have greatly improved, so it can blend perfectly with expensive and natural fabrics.

But just like any other synthetics, polyester still remains unbreathable to a certain extent. Hence, polyester might not be the best option for you if you have excess body heat, experiences hot flushes, or live in a humid place.

Modern polyesters can give you the same look and feel as real wool and silk as long as you choose the right blend or a high-grade version. Most high-end brands are using polyester in their collections for the purpose of improving ease of care, durability, and interesting effects.

When choosing your fabric, you should be savvy. Always keep in mind that not all polyesters are the same. Do some research, verify the labels, and try them on. At Spandex Warehouse, you can buy polyester fabric in bulk. Aside from polyester, we are also selling other types of fabrics such as fabric for sublimation, swimwear fabric, cotton and cotton blends, fabrics for sportswear, lingerie fabric, denim fabric, and many more. For more information, you may call us at 213-629-7416 or write to us at [email protected].