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Things you need to know about blended fabrics

LISTICLE | 10/15/2021
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In the rarest of cases, garments are made from just one ingredient. Especially on the labels of sports and functional clothing, there is usually a lot to read in addition to the care instructions: Blended fabrics of cotton and polyester, merino wool and spandex, viscose and nylon - the combination possibilities are endless and a fabric even often contains far more than just two components. Why the sports and outdoor industry loves to use blended fabrics and what to look out for when buying and caring for them, you can find out here.

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Blended Fabrics Combine the Best Properties from Different Worlds

The combination of at least two different types of fibres in a blended fabric aims to compensate for their disadvantageous properties or to combine the different advantages. Natural and synthetic fibres are particularly often combined in a fabric in order to achieve a perfect feel and better processing and care options or simply to make the material more affordable.

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Blended Fabrics Made of Natural and Synthetic Fibres Are Ideal for Sportswear

Cotton and polyester are predestined partners for very high-quality fabrics: The natural fiber provides high breathability and great wearing comfort, the synthetic fiber contributes the conditions for elasticity, shape retention and durability. This makes these blended fabrics ideal for active wear, outdoor and functional fabrics, such as Fjällräven's G-1000. The mixing ratio of the so-called polycotton varies depending on the requirements of the textile - the cotton content is usually between 50 and 65 percent.

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The Synthetic Fibre Content Ensures Optimum Moisture Management

Neither natural nor synthetic fibres alone have optimal moisture management. Cotton, for example, is very absorbent but dries very slowly. Synthetic fibres can hardly absorb any moisture and therefore quickly feel uncomfortable on the skin when sweating. A blended fabric made of both types of fibres eliminates these disadvantages: The synthetic fibre content supports the transport of water vapour, the cotton ensures that it absorbs sweat and is breathable.

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Trend: Blended Fabric with Merino Wool

The synthetic fibre combination also brings about the same advantages in blended fabrics with merino wool: wool shirts become easier to care for, more durable, more shape-retaining and elastic through the addition of synthetic fibres. In addition, a blended fabric of merino wool and synthetic fibre is more breathable than a pure wool product.

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Polyester, Polyamide, Elastane, Polyacrylic - What Is the Best Addition?

There are many different textile fibers from the chemistry lab and they bring different capabilities. Polyester or polyamide are most commonly found in blended fabrics because both are very uncomplicated and inexpensive. The fibres provide stability in the fabric, make it lighter and allow it to dry faster. Elastane is always used when it comes to stretch and polyacrylic is added for better sweat management.

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How Sustainable Are Synthetic Blended Fabrics?

As many advantages as blended fabrics made of natural and synthetic fibres bring with them, the combination of natural and synthetic fibres is not entirely unproblematic. Every synthetic fibre releases microplastics when washed, which end up directly in the environment via waste water. When buying, look out for mixed fabrics that contain recycled synthetic fibres, often labelled rPET (click here for the listical with sustainable sneaker brands) No new resources were consumed for these. It is also important to know that there is still no mature technology for recycling synthetic fibers from blended fabrics, because the separation of the different components is very difficult.

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The Most Susceptible Component Determines the Care Required for the Blended Fabric

From a sustainable point of view, functional clothing made from blended fabrics should only be washed as often as absolutely necessary. The synthetic fibre content can withstand a lot of care, but does not make the natural fibre content any less susceptible. This is why the natural fibre usually determines the amount of care required when washing: blended fabrics with cotton and viscose are the least complicated to care for, while (merino) wool is the most susceptible. It must not be washed too hot, dried or ironed.

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