Tag Archives: fabric information

What Is Tencel?

dreamfit-6-degree-quilted-setTencel is a modern material that’s growing in popularity in the linens and clothing industries. You can find it in just about any modern textile, but there’s no information about the material itself listed on the tag. So if you see Tencel in a product that you buy, you may be wondering what it is.

Tencel is actually the brand name for lyocell. However, the name Tencel is so popular because the company that manufactures Tencel is the only major producer of lyocell. It’s like saying “Kleenex” but meaning generic facial tissue.

The main appeal of lyocell is that it’s a biodegradable fabric, even though it’s man-made. That’s pretty atypical of a man-made material. So how does this work?

malouf-5ided-pillow-protect-womniphase-tencel-pairLyocell is made from wood pulp cellulose. Essentially, wood chips are turned into a pulp, which is then laid out to dry in the form on one large sheet and then rolled into a spool. This spool is then broken up into small squares and then dissolved into a liquid solution. Then the cellulose solution is squeezed through a spinneret, producing long filaments that are then set as fibers and dried.

A lot of people tout lyocell as an eco-friendly material, since its manufacture results in very little waste. However, the manufacturing process still requires a large amount of energy. In addition,  lyocell does not easily accept dye, so chemicals are applied to it during the dyeing process.

So what are the benefits of lyocell?

It’s a fairly low-maintenance fabric. While most natural fibers wrinkle easily, like cotton or linen, lyocell is resistant to wrinkles. It’s also machine-washable. Plus, it’s a breathable material that wicks moisture away from your skin, so if you tend to sleep hot, this fabric will feel cool and soft. Its texture is similar to that of rayon, so if you know what rayon feels like, you have a pretty good grasp of the weight and feel of lyocell fabrics.

We carry several brands — such as Malouf, DreamFit, and Home Source — that use Tencel in their products. You’ll find that these textiles have a light yet luxurious feel that’s very comfortable, especially during warmer months. You can find Tencel in most bedding products, from mattress protectors to sheet sets and even to pillows, so you can make your whole sleep environment delightfully soft and comfortable.


Tell Her to Make Me a Cambric Shirt

CambricA less commonly used fabric, cambric is most popularly known for its brief reference in the famous English carol popularized by Simon & Garfunkel. But no matter how well we know the words, do we really know what cambric is?

Cambric is a very fine cotton fabric, known for its tight, even weave and glossy appearance. While this may sound like sateen, cambric is a plain-weave fabric, whereas sateen features a weave with floating warps. Cambric is also sometimes confused with poplin — but the difference here is that cambric has an equal ratio of warp and weft threads, while poplin has more warp yarns than weft.

Originating in the 1500s, cambric has mostly fallen out of use in today’s textile industry as more fabrics and weaves became available. However, it’s still a popular fabric for making pillow and duvet shells. Because it has such a tight weave, it’s very adept at keeping pillow filling from coming out of the casing.

The most common problem to look out for is cheap, low-quality cambric, which is easy to make. This kind of cambric doesn’t have such a smooth, even texture, and its gloss usually comes off after one or two washings. A well-made cambric will maintain its gloss for a very long time, thanks to the calendaring process that tightens the fibers to give the fabric a stiff, smooth finish.

Now, whether or not you can actually make a cambric shirt without seams or needlework is a totally different topic. But if we figure it out, we’ll let you know.