Natural Fiber

Fibers from plants or animal sources

  • Staple fibers: Lower quality, short fibers.
  • Filament fibers: Long, continuous fibers of higher quality.
  • Cellulosic fibers: Fibers from plants.
  • Protein fibers: Fibers derived from animals or insects.
  • Cotton

    The soft, white, downy fiber (boll) attached to the seed of a cotton plant. Most widely used of all natural fibers. Grown in the southern U.S. and other warm climates.

  • Characteristics:
  • Strong and durable


    Cool to wear

    Shrinks in hot water

    Wrinkles easily

  • Proper care
  • –Machine wash

    –Tumble dry at moderate temperatures

    –Press with warm to hot iron

  • Common uses:
  • Underwear


    Shirts, blouses


    Towels, sheets


    The fiber that forms the coat (fleece) of sheep.

  • Primary sources are Australia, South America, New Zealand, and United Kingdom
  • Characteristics:
  • Natural insulator; warmest of all natural fibers

    Soft and resilient

    Naturally flame retardant

    Absorbs moisture more slowly than cotton

    Shrinks if machine washed or dried unless chemically treated

    Affected by moths

  • Proper care for untreated wool:
  • –Dry clean or hand wash in cool water and a mild detergent (according to garment label)
  • –Do not place in dryer
  • –Press with cool iron
  • Common uses:

  • Tailored suits
  • Coats
  • Blankets
  • Upholstery
  • Rugs, carpets\
  • Sweaters
  • Flax

    The fiber that comes from the stem of a flax plant.

  • Characteristics
  • –Durable and strong

    –Lustrous and smooth

    –Comfortable and cool to wear

    –Wrinkles easily

    –Creases difficult to remove

    –Can be expensive

  • Proper Care:
  • –Hand wash or dry clean (according to garment label)

    –Iron while damp

  • Grown and harvested primarily in Eastern Europe
  • Linen is made by weaving or knitting flax fiber into fabric.
  • Common uses: –Pants –Blazers –Table linens –Upholstery
  • Silk

    The fine, lustrous fiber that comes from a cocoon spun by a silkworm.

  • Characteristics:
  • –Luxurious appearance and feel

    –Strongest of all natural fibers

    –Drapes nicely


    –Easily spots if fabric becomes wet

    –Weakens with exposure to sun and perspiration

  • The silkworm forces two fine streams of a thick liquid out of tiny openings in its head.
  • These streams harden into filaments or fibers upon contact with the air.
  • Primarily produced in Asia (Thailand, China, India), and Madagascar
  • Proper Care:
    –Dry clean or hand wash (according to garment directions) –Press on wrong side with warm iron
  • Common uses:
    –Wedding gowns –Lingerie –Men’s ties
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