Fabric Expertise | blossomandbrowne.com

Fabric Expertise

Blossom and Browne's Sycamore Laundry has been operating for over 120 years in the London area. Based on this expertise, we've collated the following interesting facts about fabrics:

Fabric Sources

Animals (e.g. wool or silk)
  • Pure Wool comes from sheep and has waterproof properties due to the natural lanolin produced by the animals
  • Cashmere is from the Cashmere goat
  • Mohair is from the coat of the Angora goat
  • Angora is from the coat of Angora rabbits
  • Vicuna is a type of wool from a relative of Llamas
  • Silk is from the cocoon of the Mulbery silkworm
Plants (e.g. cotton or linen)
  • Cotton is a fibre that grows in a fluffy 'boll' around the seed heads of the cotton plant
  • Linen is made from the flax or linseed plant
  • Jute is often called Hessian and is also known as Burlap in the USA and is from a plant in the same genus as flax
  • Bamboo is rapidly becoming an eco-friendly alternative to cotton due to its sustainability, absorbancy and softness
  • Lyocell is a fabric made from wood pulp and is also marketed under the name Tencell
Synthetic (e.g. nylon or polyester)
  • Lurex is a synthetic fibre coated in metal
  • Nylon was intended as a synthetic replacement for silk
  • Polyesters are also used to make plastic bottles and other everyday plastics
  • Spandex is also know as Lycra or Elastane - it is an anagram of the word 'expands' referring to its stretchy nature
Synthetic (e.g. nylon or polyester)
  • Lurex is a synthetic fibre coated in metal
  • Nylon was intended as a synthetic replacement for silk
  • Polyesters are also used to make plastic bottles and other everyday plastics
  • Spandex is also know as Lycra or Elastane - it is an anagram of the word 'expands' referring to its stretchy nature

Fabric Manufacturing

  • Acetate is used to enhance the 'shininess' of fabrics
  • Velvet is made on a special loom which makes two layers at the same time and is then cut in half to give its characteristic 'pile'
  • Starching reduces stains and wrinkles

Fabric Measurement

  • Thread count refers to the fineness or coarseness of a material and is measured by the number of threads per square inch or square centimetre
  • A 'standard' thread count is 150, good quality fabric features a threadcount of over 180 and if a fabric has a thread count of over 200 it is called 'percale'
  • Fabric weight is measured in 'denier' in the UK and USA. It is based on silk and is the mass in grams per 9000 metres of filament
  • Microfibre is a fabric of less than 1 denier
  • An alternative measuring system is used in Canada and Europe called Tex which is measured on the mass in grams of a single filament per 1000 metres

Fabric History

  • Linen is labour intensive to make but prized for its coolness and freshness in hot weather and can be traced back as far as 5000BC
  • Wood block printing to create patterned fabrics can be traced back to Chine c. 200AD
  • Spinning wheels have been around in India since 500-1000AD
If you have any queries about fabrics and fabric care, please complete our contact form online or call our head office on 020 8552 1231

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