What is that inner layer of the garment?
What types of materials are used for the linings?
How sustainable and eco friendly is their production?
Are they safe to wear and how to look after them?
In this article I will list a few of the most common materials which are used but not limited to use as a linings in a garments.
Lining is the layer of fabric which comes closest to the body on the inside of the garment, usually have silky surface which allows an easy wear and adds practicality by covering the seams, paddings, boning, interfacing, canvases which are on the reverse of the garments. This can help prolong the life of the garment and adds extra protection. It makes the garment look neat on the inside and having beautiful lining adds an element of luxury which can nicely compliment the main material and design or even become be a statement on it’s own.
Lining materials and are generally made of different types of rayon, polyester, acetate and natural materials such as cotton or silk.
Let’s look at them in more detail.
So the most common lining materials are:
Types of Rayon:
is a natural protein fibre composed of 80% of fibroin, which is protein in nature and 20% of sericin, which is otherwise called a silk gum. Is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori.
Silk is most luxurious fabric and strongest natural fibre available. Low density makes light and comfortable material and the best fabric for drape, it retains it’s shape and have moderate resistance to wrinkling and high resistance to deformation. Silk shimmers and shines and is capable of the greatest lustre. As a non-conductor of heat silk has good insulation properties, means it is cool in summer and warm in winter. But silk itself is sensitive to heat and begins to decompose at 330° F (165° C). It also weakens on exposure to sun light but raw silks are more resistant to light than degummed silk.
Silk fabric does not attract dirt because of its smooth surface. Fabrics do shrink when washed but by ironing can be restored to it’s original size. Silk has to be always ironed when damp. It is recommended for the silk garments to be dry-cleaned.
By nature, the extraction of domesticated silkworms and the life of wild silkworms are sustainable. When produced by weavers on handlooms, silk fabric has a near-zero energy footprint and satisfies most of the guidelines for sustainable silk production.
It’s natural cellulosic fibre is obtained from a cotton boll. Cotton fabric is very breathable and comfortable to wear, has ability to control moisture, insulate with medium heat retention and is hypoallergenic and resists static build-up.
Cotton as a lining material is not smooth and it wrinkles easily and may not be luxurious enough for expensive garments. For this purpose Cotton Poplin is frequently used as a thin soft lining material and cotton plaid is usually preferred inside the suits.
Organic cotton is eco friendly and sustainable given it’s grown without using harmful pesticides, chemicals, synthetic fertilizer and toxic dyes.
Cotton can be washed, but hot water will make the cotton item to shrink. Cotton as a lining in a garment requires dry cleaning.
is manufactured fibre using natural sources like wool and agricultural products, mainly wood pulp, or even orange fibres – viz Salvatore Ferragamo’s collection, which are chemically dissolved and then regenerated as cellulose fibre.
Many different grades of Rayon can imitate the silk, wool, cotton, and linen. The Rayon fibres are easy to dye as the fabric is highly absorbent. It’s cool, smooth and comfortable, but does not always insulate body heat.
Production of Rayon is not eco-friendly because of toxic chemicals used for it’s production and the deforestation associated with it. It may take between 20 to 200 years to fully biodegrade, still Rayon is more sustainable than petroleum synthetic fibres like polyester and nylon. But, is not as sustainable as organic cotton and hemp.
Dry-clean or hand wash in cold water is recommended, but be aware that Rayon does shrink.
Different Types of rayon are a Viscose, Modal, Lyocell and Cupro.
is also a manufactured fibre. It is cheaper alternative to silk. It looks like silk and feels like cotton. Viscose makes highly breathable fabric with no static build up, is water absorbing but stretches and is fragile when wet. It wrinkles and creases easily, it can shrink when washed.
Production of viscose is not eco-friendly, toxic chemicals are used such as carbon disulphide for example.
One of the major advantages of viscose over synthetics is that it is biodegradable.
Dry Clean is recommended or hand wash without too much twisting.
it’s fibre is also manufactured from regenerated cellulose, usually of the beech tree. Modals fabric weave is very breathable and is 50% more water absorbent than cotton. It creates lightweight, smooth, luxurious textile which drapes well, resists creasing, is soft and stretchy. It’s production is more Eco friendly as there are fewer chemicals used in the production process than with other types of rayon and it is completely biodegradable. Modal fabric alone can be treated as a cotton and machine washed and due to its high wet strength it is less likely to shrink.
manufactured from eucalyptus, oak and birch wood. Makes soft, breathable, lightweight and comfortable fabric, which drapes beautifully and can have many different textures- imitating suede, leather or silk. It is also hypoallergenic and doesn’t cling and is 50% more absorbent than cotton. Very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles. Lyocell fabric may be machine washed or dry cleaned.
TENCEL® a branded type of lyocell. Is a light cellulose fabric, created by dissolving wood pulp. The fibre is produced by Austrian company Lenzing AG. It’s been growing in popularity recently, as is said to be 50% more absorbent than cotton, and requires less energy and water to produce. Plus, the chemicals used to produce the fibre are managed in a closed-loop system. This means the chemicals are recycled which reduces dangerous waste. Tencel is the type of rayon that is the most eco-friendly and is completely biodegradable. Tencel can be washed in a machine or handwash depending on how delicate the fabric is.
is made of recycled fabrics or plant cellulose treated with high quantities of chemicals which transform the fibre into semi synthetic textile substance. It’s breathability, heat and moisture retention are rather low. Cupro’s fibres makes fine and elastic fabric with silk like appearance. Danger is when worn it can leave residue with high concentration of copper and ammonia being toxic for the body.
Fabric itself once manufactured is completely biodegradable. And the waste produced during the process is almost 100% recycled.
Cupro can be machine washed and hand washing or dry clean is recommended for best results.
is the trade name for high quality rayon yarn produced in Japan, Bemberg Cupro is made from cotton, using chemical process.
Cupro can very well imitate the silk. It is breathable, light, durable also anti-static and anti-cling. Hypoallergenic, and stretch-resistant.
Cupro is biodegradable as well as easily recycled. Bemberg Cupro is washable, but as all rayon fibres are more fragile when wet and does shrink.
Dry clean is recommended.
Acetate fabrics are produced similar way as Rayon, made of wood pulp cellulose but is classified as semi-synthetic material. Acetate has luxurious appearance, soft with excellent drape, is non static, resists wrinkling and shrinking. Can be well dyed and printed with wide range of colours but the dyes can fade or bleed. It is a relatively weak fibre so is sometimes mixed with silk, wool or cotton to add strength. Acetate is heat sensitive, with low moisture absorbency, if compared to a natural fibres but better absorbency compared to synthetic fibres.
Acetate is not biodegradable, but can be recycled into a lesser form of plastic. Acetate material requires dry cleaning.
is synthetic fabric a petroleum derivate. Positives about polyester fabric are it’s durable, it do not stain easily, and is crease, stretch and shrinking resistant. Negatives are it does not breathe, is not moisture and oil absorbent and does not regulate body temperature. Unfortunately polyester fabric has negative impact on its environment from its production, to it’s use and disposal.
Polyester does not naturally degrade in the environment and full break down can take centuries. Its production requires double the energy used for cotton production, toxic chemicals are used during the production and has negative impact on the air and water environment.
Polyester can be safely dry-cleaned or machine-washed.