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Fiber: It is the basic raw material of all textile products and also compromises their smallest structural unit. Fiber is generally divided into two categories referred to as natural and man-made (synthetic). Natural fibers include those come from plants and animals. Natural fibers are classified in four main categories: those produced from plant seed (cotton), extracted from plant trunk (linen, hemp, jute, ramie), leaf-based (sisal and Manila hemp) and obtained from fruit (coco fiber). Animal fibers however, are divided into two categories: animal hair fabrics (wool, mohair, cashmere, angora, camel and goat hair) and secretion based fabrics (natural silk- silkworm).
Fabrics, on the other hand, are categorized according to their manufacturing type (knitted, woven and non-woven fabrics) and raw materials (cotton, wool, silk, viscose, linen and synthetic fabrics).
Cotton is probably the oldest and most significant fiber type. It is durable, absorbs moisture and easily wrinkled. It also has high endurance and flexibility. As a result of its lightness and softness, it is often preferred in the manufacturing of summer and sports clothes, towels and underwear.
It can be washed in hand and stretch up to 3-7%. However it must not be left wet and be dried immediately after washing. It is considered to be extremely healthy because it is natural. Since it keeps the body cool, it is specially favored in the manufacturing of summer clothes.
Linen is one of the oldest agricultural plants grown for the production of linen fabric. It has a better endurance than cotton. With its high moisture absorption, easily wrinkled and less flexible features, linen is also glossier than cotton. Its high porosity provides easy breathing and evaporation through skin that keeps the body cool at all times. Because of this special feature, it is usually worn in hot weather. It is generally preferred for suits, pants, shirts and skirts. Its smooth and hairless surface avoids getting soiled quickly. Dry-cleaning method is recommended. Since it is wrinkled easily, it must be ironed at high temperature.
It is produced from the hair of cashmere or similar goats that originated in Asia. Since it has very thin and long fibers, it offers an attractive glossy look. It is also a soft and sensitive fabric and requires special care. Therefore, it must be ''dry clean only''.
Butterfly lays its eggs on mulberry leaves and dies within the next three or four days. In spring time, these eggs hatch out into larvae as black and hairy caterpillars. They start eating the mulberry leaves with great appetite. Within a period of month and a half caterpillars reach 7 or 8 cm length and change their skins four or five times. As they grow older, their colors turn lighter and their hairs start to disappear. Once caterpillar gains sufficient form, it begins weaving its cocoon with a sticky liquid coming out of its upper leap hole in the shape of thread.
After finishing the exterior of cocoon, caterpillar continues to weave it around itself until it becomes completely invisible. If left alone, within a two to three weeks period, caterpillar breaks its cocoon and comes out as butterfly. In order to secure an unbroken cocoon, it is usually thrown into hot water or placed under hot steam while the caterpillar is left to die. This is how we get unbroken silk cocoons. And out of these cocoons, silk fibers in the shape of thin strand are carefully removed as the first stage of raw silk production. However, some of the butterflies are allowed to hatch out of cocoon for the continuation of silkworm race.
Artificial silk is often referred to those fibers procured from cellulose rich trees such as poplar, willow and fir through various chemical processes.
Silk is very strong, flexible and not easily wrinkled. It doesn't shrink and dries very quickly. Since they are also easily dyed, they are generally offered in a variety of rich colors. Silk is a special fabric which is sensitive to sound and light. An ordinary cocoon may provide 450-900m and in some cases even 2000m continuous thread. It must be ''dry clean only'' and ironed at low heat.
The quality of wool fabrics are usually defined by the diameter of their fibers. This can be measured both in micron or 100'S – 150'S. Thin fibered fabrics are manufactured from the Merinos sheep breed of Australia and New Zealand. Matting feature of wool is what makes it different than other fabrics. Thanks to this advantage, the surface of fabric can be covered with a special layer and fabrics such as flannel or cachet are produced. Other ideal features include softness, natural colors and yarn twist number of the fabric. Wool fabrics are not only smooth surfaced but also an indispensable part of personal clothing. They always require special care and must not be washed under any condition. They also have a high moisture absorption capacity. Wool fabrics are normally steam ironed with a special iron cloth. They must be stored in places where there is not much humidity. They need to be kept under cover with moth balls to protect them from clothes moths.
Care of Wool Clothing: