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Where is the microweave?

user-263598 | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I adore the feel of microweave fabric. I’ve been searching everywhere for by-the-yard microweave fabric, but can’t find it anywhere. It must be available, because it is readily available in ready-to-wear lines. Does it have another name that I don’t know about? Has the difficulty of sewing with it made it impossible to sell to home sewers? Where is all the microweave fabric?

Replies

  1. solosmocker | | #1

    I am not familiar with microweave fabric. Is it the same as micro fibers? If so, you should be able to get it at nearly any fabric store and certainly the chains. It won't be called specifically micro fiber so maybe you are missing it. Micro fibers are made from poly, rayon, linen, etc. Mole cloth is a microfiber. Tencel is a type of micro fiber. The list goes on and on. Now if if microweave is something different then I don't know anything about it. Perhaps you can share the info you have on this fabric. Thanks, solo

    1. user-263598 | | #2

      Thanks. Your answer helps to explain why I haven't found any at my local fabric store. Yes, I'm sure it is probably the same thing that you are talking about. I just know that when I found it in ready-to-wear (I own a coat, and my son has dress pants made from it) that they called it microweave. It seems to wear like iron, cleans up easily in the washer, and looks dressy even after several years of wear, not to mention the richness of color and luxurious feel. What do you suggest for a pant-weight fabric that is made from micro fiber?

      1. solosmocker | | #3

        The moleskin from Joanns is actually quite nice for pants. I would think most of the tencel fibers would be great for pants as well. Each manufacturer has its own name for this fiber. Before retiring I sold furniture and the microfiber upholstery fabrics were fabulous. We often had customers come back to buy more of the same because they cleaned up so well and held their looks with active families. The clothing weight microfibers do the same. The big misconception with microfibers is that they are all poly. Sometimes they are other fibers as well, even cottons and linens.Sometimes the linens are blended with poly microfibers which is a really nice looking fabric as well. I think it will take a lot of hunting and pecking at the fabric stores for you to figure out which fabrics these really are. Good luck. I know you will love them. Oh, and use a Microtex needle to sew them. solo

        1. user-263598 | | #5

          I'm heading to the fabric store to check for moleskin and other fabrics with microfiber content. Thank you for the advice. I have probably passed by dozens of potential bolts without realizing what they were. I will be sure to pick up a Microtex needle too! Thanks.

    2. Loomchick | | #4

      Interesting discussion . . . however, I would like to clarify that Tencel (the trade name for Lyocell) is not a microfiber.  The Federal Trade Commission defines lyocell as "a cellulose fabric that is obtained by an organic solvent spinning process". It classifies the fiber as a sub-category of rayon . . . the nice thing about Tencel is that it's made with a closed-loop system and does not deposit chemicals back into the environment like the processing of rayon . . . and hence, is more environmentally friendly.

      Tencel/Lyocell was first manufactured in 1988 by Courtaulds Fibres UK.and is a manufactured fiber, but it is not synthetic. It is made from wood pulp similar to rayon . . . which makes it a cellullose fiber.  Because it is made from a plant material, it is cellulosic and possesses many properties of other cellulose fibers, such as cotton, linen, ramie, and rayon.

      In contrast, the term microfiber refers to fibers with strands thinner than one denier. Fabrics made with microfibers are exceptionally soft and hold their shape well.  It's becoming a very popular alternative to cotton apparel for athletic wear, as the microfiber material wicks moisture away from the body, keeping the athlete cool and dry.

      Edited 11/18/2007 11:01 pm ET by Loomchick

      Edited 11/18/2007 11:02 pm ET by Loomchick

      1. user-263598 | | #6

        Wow. You've said quite a lot here. I'm fascinated, but I'm also confused. So, am I right in concluding from this that anything can be a microfiber as long as it is thin enough? Is that really right? Wouldn't making a cotton fiber thinner make it less strong instead of stronger, which it must be to hold up under the kind of treatment my son has given his pants (he's a young adult and inclined to play football in them as often as wearing them to church)? Could Tercel then be made into a microfiber? And if microfibers are made only from man-made materials like polyesther, then how can they have wicking properties like cotton, lenin, and as you imply Tercel? I hope you can clarify some of this. I really appreciate all the information.

         

        1. Loomchick | | #7

          Microfibers were originally created in 1970 by Miyoshi Okamoto, a Toray Industries scientist . . . shortly thereafter; the first fabric created from microfibers was Ultrasuede.  The diameter of microfibers is incredibly small . . . twice as fine as fine silk, four times finer than wool, and nearly one hundred times finer than human hair.

          <!----><!----> <!---->

          Because of their size, microfibers may be woven into a fabric that is lightweight, yet strong.  If they are tightly woven, there is potential for fabrics to be resistant to wind, rain, and cold.  What is really nice is that fabrics woven tightly using microfibers remain extremely flexible. 

          <!----> <!---->

          The geometry of the microfiber directly influences its end properties . . . For example, a polyester microfiber with a “W” shape cross section increases the ability for perspiration to wick away from the skin.  It also increases the speed of evaporation allowing garments to dry more quickly.  This is why perspiration can be handled so effectively with fabrics made from microfibers . . . The processing and shape of fibers . . . plus, the plying of yarns . . . is largely overlooked and undervalued with how much it affects the fabric, such as softness, absorbency, ability to take dyes, etc. in addition to wicking away perspiration and drying.

          <!----> <!---->

          I believe it’s because of the above properties (e.g., wind/rain/cold resistance) combined with the ability to wick perspiration away from the skin and dry more quickly which is why we will continue to see more fabrics made from microfibers show up in athletic garments.  One limitation of fabrics made from microfibers is that, despite the softness of the fabric, they are abrasive and can scratch many surfaces . . . in other words, don’t ever use a microfiber cloth to wipe down your car or wipe something out of your eye.

          <!----> <!---->

          At the present time, microfibers are most often made from polyester . . . however, microfibers may also be made from nylon, acrylic, and rayon . . . Could microfibers be made from Tencel (Lyocell)?  I suppose so . . . however, the processing of Lyocell currently is more costly than cotton and rayon and it may not be cost feasible at this time to produce much in the way of microfibers made from Lyocell.  

          <!----> <!---->

          Microfibers are never used in their natural state . . . they are spun together to make a larger diameter yarn which is then used to weave or knit various fabrics such as twills, satins, and terrycloth. Often microfibers are spun in combination with other yarns in order to achieve a desired result. For example, nylon microfiber might be spun with spandex to give it the stretch necessary for use in lingerie and swimwear fabrics. I believe there is currently a lack of industry regulations for microfiber to determine how much microfiber must exist to define it as a microfiber. 

          <!----> <!---->

          I hope this helps add some clarity . . . Frankly, I think we’re just beginning to see the potential for microfibers.

           

          1. user-263598 | | #8

            Fascinating! You are a fount of information. Thanks so much for this. I feel that I'll go back to the fabric store with a much better idea of what I'm dealing with. I just wish I could have you by my side when I shop! Thanks again.

          2. Loomchick | | #9

             Thank you for your response . . . I appreciate your patience in reading what must seem like a short term paper on microfibers.

            There are numerous textile terms that are not well understood . . . microfibers and Tencel are up there along with satin, velvet vs velveteen, etc.  and we all seem to muddle through them bit by bit.

            One of my favorite moments was when a friend of mine was looking at a pair of "designer" jeans at the height of pre-distressed jeans.  On the hang tag it mentioned the jeans were woven in a "broken twill" (a twill weave where the move number is not constant and results in the continuity of the twill line to be interrupted . . . or "broken".). . . which is very unusual in jeans . . . Anyway, when my friend asked the sales person what was meant by a "broken twill" the sales person said "As part of the distressing process they broke the twill."  Fortunately, I was two rows over during this exchange . . . I thought it was hysterical, but I didn't say anything at that moment. 

            High tech fibers are making it more interesting all the time and I'm looking forward to seeing what new things are going to be introduced in the near future.

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