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What to Check While Buying Natural Fabrics?


Natural fabrics have gained significant popularity in the evolving sustainable and eco-conscious living landscape. Let's understand what are natural fabrics. They are derived from plants, animals, or minerals and are known for their breathability, comfort, and often luxurious feel. 

Consumers increasingly seek gentle textile alternatives for the environment while offering superior comfort and durability. Natural fabrics boast these desirable qualities and carry a unique charm and versatility that synthetic counterparts cannot match. As we look into natural textiles, it's crucial to understand the factors that influence their quality, performance, and overall sustainability.

Understanding Types of Natural Fabrics

Natural fabrics can be broadly classified into two main categories: plant-based and animal-based. Plant-based fabrics are derived from various sources like cotton, Linen, hemp, bamboo, and jute, each offering distinct characteristics and properties.

Cotton is the most widely used natural fibre and is renowned for its softness, breathability, and versatility. It can be found in everything from casual wear to luxury garments and home textiles. Linen, on the other hand, is valued for its durability, moisture-wicking properties, and distinctive crisp texture, making it a popular summer clothing and household linen.

Hemp and bamboo are rapidly gaining recognition as eco-friendly alternatives, celebrated for their sustainability and unique qualities. Hemp is known for its strength and breathability, while bamboo boasts exceptional softness and moisture-wicking abilities.

Wool and silk are two prominent fibres cherished for centuries in the animal-based category. Wool, obtained from sheep and other animals, is prized for its warmth, insulation, and natural moisture-wicking properties, making it ideal for cold-weather garments and cosy home furnishings. The luxurious fibre silkworms produce is revered for its lustre, softness, and lightweight yet sturdy nature, making it a favourite for high-end fashion and interior textiles.

Understanding the diverse examples of natural fabrics and their unique characteristics is important when selecting the right material for a specific application or desired aesthetic. Each fibre offers advantages and challenges, catering to different needs and preferences.

Natural fabrics

Top 5 Things To Remember Before Buy A Natural Fabric

Fabrics are such an inevitable part of our lives that they are always on us and around us in various forms. We use clothes, discard them, buy new ones and then repeat the discarding cycle. So, the constant chain of buying new clothes and fabrics is a never-ending process. Either you'll be buying for yourselves or your family, friends, colleagues, or even pets.

Knowing what fabric you're buying is extremely important! 

TradeUNO is here to assist you with that task.

There are two types of fabrics – Natural and Synthetic.

You're probably wondering, What does natural fabric mean?

Natural fabrics are made from fibers obtained from animals and plants. These fibers are then spun into yarns and further woven into fabrics or cloth sheets. 

  • Wool and silk are examples of animal-based fabrics.
  • Cotton, jute, and linen are plant-based fabrics. 
  • Synthetic fabrics are made from fibers obtained through chemical processes. They are made in bulk within a short time frame. These fabrics are commonly used across the globe.
  • Polyester, nylon, spandex, and many other variations are synthetic fabrics.

Read more: Eco-Friendly Fashion: Sustainable Fabric Swatches and Their Impact

Natural Fabrics and its Commonly Found Variations

1. Cotton

Obtained from the cotton plant, the fibers are processed and woven to create the most widely used fabric, cotton. If you're ever wondering which textile is best for daily use? 

It's no other than cotton! 

Categorized into multiple weight categories and thicknesses, this fabric is used for creating everything from upholstery and kitchen-specific products to everyday wear, stationery products, and bags.

2. Silk

Usually obtained from silkworms, silk is an animal-based natural fabric. Famous for its sheen and opulent look, it is popularly for occasion wear and luxurious ensembles. Not limited to clothing, silk fabric finds its utility in creating upholstery, curtains, and cushion covers.

3. Wool

    Warm and cozy, woollen fabric is made from the hair of various kinds of animal hair. Sheep, goats, and alpacas are a few animals whose hair we utilize to craft these rich textiles. Cashmere, Angora, and Mohair are some variations of wool that one can find. They are generally used to make overcoats and shawls for the winter.

    4. Linen

    Linen is derived from the flax plant. It is a plant-based natural fabric. Strong, light-weight, and breathable. Linen fabric is used to create garments and home decor to beat the summer's heat.


    5. Jute

      A natural plant-based fabric, it is extracted from the jute plant. Coarse, strong, and durable, jute fabric is used for making burlap sacks, rugs, ropes, and chair coverings.

      Key Points to Check Before Buying

      Material and Weave

      When shopping for natural fabrics, it's essential to consider the specific material and weave. Each fibre, be it cotton, linen, wool, or silk, possesses unique properties that influence the fabric's performance, durability, and appearance. Additionally, the weave structure, such as plain, twill, or satin, can significantly impact the fabric's texture, drape, and overall aesthetic.

      Weight and Thickness

      The weight and thickness of a natural fabric play a crucial role in determining its intended use and wearability. Lightweight fabrics like voile or muslin are ideal for breezy summer garments, while heavier weights like canvas or denim are better suited for sturdy outerwear or upholstery. Evaluating the weight and thickness ensures the fabric meets your desired level of insulation, breathability, and overall comfort.

      Feel, Drape, and Flow

      Natural fabrics offer a tactile experience that synthetic alternatives cannot replicate. When selecting, pay close attention to the fabric's feel, drape, and flow. A soft, smooth texture enhances comfort, while a crisp, structured hand better suits tailored garments. Additionally, how a fabric drapes and flows can significantly impact the overall aesthetic and movement of a garment or home textile.

      Colour and Dye

      The colour and dye used on natural fabrics can greatly affect their appearance and durability. Look for fabrics dyed with plant-based or low-impact dyes, as they are typically more environmentally friendly and less likely to cause skin irritation. Additionally, consider the fabric's ability to retain its colour and resist fading over time, ensuring your investment remains vibrant and beautiful.

      Care Instructions

      • Carefully review the care instructions provided.
      • Check for specific washing, drying, and ironing recommendations.
      • Note any special precautions or treatments required for the particular fabric.
      • Consider the fabric's potential for shrinkage, pilling, or fading during laundering.
      • Assess whether the fabric requires professional cleaning or can be cared for at home.

      Read moreTop 5 Myths about Sustainable Fabrics

      Additional Tips

      When shopping for natural fabrics, it is advisable to inspect the fabric closely for any irregularities or flaws that may affect its performance or appearance. Additionally, consider the intended use and climate you'll be wearing or using the fabric, as some fibres may be better suited for specific environments. Feel free to ask questions or seek advice from knowledgeable sales associates or textile experts to ensure you make an informed decision.


      Choosing a suitable natural fabric is a multifaceted process that requires careful consideration of various factors. By understanding the different examples of natural fibres, their properties, and the key points to evaluate, you can make a more sustainable choice that aligns with your needs, preferences, and environmental values. Investing time and effort in selecting high-quality natural fabrics will ultimately result in garments and textiles that look and feel great and contribute to a more eco-friendly lifestyle.

      Frequently Asked Question

      1. How can you tell good quality fabric?

      Ans: Good-quality fabric feels substantial and has a consistent weave. It should be tightly woven with minimal loose threads or imperfections. High-quality natural fibres like cotton, linen, and wool are breathable and durable. Examine the fabric closely for signs of pilling or snagging, which indicate poor quality.

      2. How do fashion designers choose fabric?  

      Ans: Fashion designers consider a fabric's weight, drape, texture, and print when selecting materials for their collections. They often start with swatches and test different fabrics to see how they move and photograph. The fabric choice depends on the desired aesthetic, level of formality, and garment functionality.

      3. What fabrics are low quality?

      Ans: Some low-quality fabrics include overly thin or see-through materials, highly synthetic fibre content (like polyester), and loosely woven or knit fabrics prone to quickly pilling, snagging, or unravelling. Low-quality fabrics often feel rough, lack breathability, and need to hold their shape better.

      4. What makes the fabric look cheap? 

      Ans: Fabrics that look and feel flimsy, shiny, or overly synthetic often appear cheap. An abundance of loose threads, uneven dyeing, poor-quality printing or embroidery, and shoddy construction like unfinished seams can also make a fabric look low-cost. Additionally, wrinkles, pilling, and snags give fabrics a worn, cheap appearance.

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