When looking at fabrics, you’ll notice that the majority of them are split into two types. These are usually either poly fabrics or natural fabrics. Poly fabrics are – put simply – manmade. They are synthetic materials that we make for a specific use. For more information on that please see our blog post on this marmite of materials: What Is Polyester? The 8 Most Vital Questions Answered. But then, what about the ones that don’t quite fit into either? These are poly-blends. So what is poly-blend fabric? How do we make it? Why would we blend two fabrics in the first place? Join us as we take a closer look.
What is Poly-Blend?
Poly-blend originally referred to combining two or more different poly materials to make a separate material. In the world of fabrics, however, it is much more commonly used to refer to the blending of polyester fibers and natural ones. This method creates a textile that is a blend of both polyester and natural fibers. Popular examples of this blend are poly-cotton, linen blends, or terrycloth.
A poly-blend would still fall under the category of manmade or synthetic material. Viscose, however, is actually a hybrid between the two. (Read more on that here: What Is Viscose? 6 Facts About This Misunderstood Fabric). Polyester and viscose is also a popular blend, despite viscose already being a kind of synthetic as well as poly-elastane which combines two entirely synthetic fabrics.
How is Poly-Blend Fabric Made?
Blending two different types of fabric can be done at various stages throughout the process. Most commonly, the threads are spun together to make the yarn.
Some fabrics are made from blending the yarns once they have already been made. This is exceptionally common when a blended fabric has a natural face with a poly reverse or vice versa.
What do we use Poly-Blend fabric for?
A poly-blend fabric has a myriad of uses. One of the main reasons that we blend two fabrics is to gain certain characteristics. Whether that is to make a fabric stretchier or less prone to wrinkling, in the cases of poly-elastane and poly-cotton respecively.
These fabrics give us the best of two or three different fabrics by combining those together. It can also make materials much more cost-effective. By creating a poly-blend, you can combine a less expensive fabric with a more luxurious one and find a happy medium. Poly-blend fabrics are used in clothing as well as bedsheets and other soft furnishings too.
- Poly-blends tend to be stronger than their natural alternatives
- Often softer than their natural counterparts
- The addition of poly tends to add strength to the fabric
- Less expensive than entirely natural textiles
- Cotton makes up a high percentage of arable land, poly fabrics save that farming being as necessary on a larger scale
- Less popular in high fashion applications
- Fully synthetic materials tend to be cheaper
- The natural fabrics tend to be more breathable
- Polyester fabrics tend to be less suitable for those with sensitive skin
- Polyester does contain plastic fibers
Printing on Poly-Blend Fabrics
Printing on poly-blend fabrics gives stunning results. Natural fabrics tend to have muted colors and are not as vibrant. Introducing poly fibers makes color reproduction much more accurate. It is worth checking what the ratio of each fabric is. For best print results, you want at least 75-80% polyester in your blend. Why not create a few test prints, and check out how beautifully you can print your designs onto a poly-blend fabric.