I will try to give my best to describe types of fabric I use for sewing cloth menstrual pads, cloth diapers, clothes etc. Mostly I use cotton, of the oldest known natural fibers. According to Cotton Council International, cotton is a natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable fiber.
Cotton fabric types
– Woven fabric
– Knit fabric
Woven fabric vs. knit fabric : knit fabric is made from one continuous thread (much like the one continuous yarn in hand-knitting), it stretches all over. Woven fabrics, on the other hand, will only stretch diagonally. There is also lycra or spandex fabric which is made by adding spandex fibers to cotton knit.
Flannel: A soft, medium-weight cotton fabric that has a napped, or fuzzy, finish on one or both sides. Its soft, cozy feel makes it the perfect fabric to keep you warm and comfy all winter long.
Usage: Reusable menstrual pads for its great absorbency
Knit: Stretchy fabric made by interlocking thread loops together. Use: Different weights for T-shirts, underwear, easy-care dresses and bedsheets.
– Jersey (A single knit fabric that’s elastic and known for draping well. You can credit Jersey for your favorite, soft cotton t-shirt.)
Usage: Cloth pads, clothes
Interlock is kind of like t-shirt fabric (jersey) but double knit instead of single knit
– French Terry
A cotton or cotton blend fabric used to make sportswear that has loops designed to absorb water on one side while the other side is flat. The longer the loops, the more absorbent the fabric will be.French Terry is technically a jersey fabric, it’s heavier in weight than a standard cotton jersey and lighter than a sweatshirt fleece.
Usage: Kids clothes
Cotton ribbed knit
Cotton ribbed knit is easy to identify because it has lines (or “ribs”) going up and down the fabric. It’s most often used for cuffs and necklines because it’s super stretchy, but I find it also works very well for tees for kids.
Cotton lycra and cotton spandex knit
A bit heavier in weight than jersey, small percentage of spandex or lycra gives these fabrics excellent stretch and great recovery
Fleece, sweatshirt fleece
Fleece fabrics are knit, soft and fluffy on one side and have a smooth knit on the reverse. A lot of people think fleece is just made from polyester but it’s the way the fabric is manufactured that makes it a fleece, rather than the composition.
A soft, cotton fabric woven with an extra yarn that forms loops called pile. The loops are sheared to a shorter length on one side giving sportswear, evening wear and loungewear a decorative sheen. Polyester is normally added to reduce shrinkage, increase durability and prevent the fabric from loosing shape.
Other fabric types
Microfleece was one of the first types of fleeces we chose to stock. It’s very soft and thin. Microfleece has special properties when it comes to water, it wicks moisture away from the skin when worn so is used in performance clothing and also to line modern cloth nappies. No fabric will be completely dry when liquid is added but microfleece is one of the best at pulling the moisture away from the skin to the outer of the fabric and letting it evaporate and keeping you cool and comfortable.
Bamboo and Hemp.
Bamboo rayon is made by dissolving pulp bamboo into its cellulose component and then spun into viscose fibers. The bamboo yarn can also be blended with other textile fibres such as cotton,hemp or even spandex.
Bamboo has a luxuriously soft fabric that is naturally moisture- absorbent and quick drying. The fiber is naturally smooth and round without chemical treatment, meaning that there are no sharp spurs to irritate the skin.Bamboo can look and feel like silk or very soft cotton.
Hemp is another very absorbent material, Hemp is more water absorbent than cotton and has 3 times the tensile strength.Hemp is often mixed with bamboo and cotton.
PUL Fabric is a type of laminated fabric. PUL stands for Polyurethane Laminate. It can be pronouced either P-U-L or “pull”. PUL Fabric is waterproof, so it is ideal for the outside of cloth diapers and diaper covers and also cloth pads.
It is durable and can be washed and dried many times without losing its waterproof abilities. It can be washed in temperatures of up to 60°c but will last longer if hand washed or washed at 30 or 40°c along with your families other washing.
You can dry PUL nappies and wraps in the tumble dryer but it may shorten their lifespan, line drying is best. PUL must not be soaked in any chemical solution such as Napisan or oxy bleach products as it can destroy its waterproofing abilities.