Friday, July 3, 2009

Friday Confession

This week we have another guest question from Gwen of All My Seams. Gwen would like to know your opinions on natural fibers vs. synthetics; specifically, which you prefer to use and what you think are the major pros and cons of each.

Once again, I can match her question with a bit of a confession. As you have probably noticed, my sewing isn't very sophisticated - sundresses and Hawaiian shirts tend to use a lot of cotton prints! ;)

When I made Susan's wedding dress, I did insist on real silk instead of something man-made. (I was allowed to insist, because as part of our wedding gift to them we bought the fabric.) Interestingly, as an engineer she was a bit "put out" by my insistence that natural is better than man-made. That caught me by surprise!

I did just take my nieces (12 & 8) to Joann's and we ended up with a lot of polyesters from their Casa Collection - you know, shiny, sparkly and slippery! Yikes! (Thank goodness I have a serger!)

So, how about you? What do you like to sew with and why? Will you use most anything or are you more discriminating? Gwen and I are looking forward to learning what you think! :)

Photo credit: Sukanto Debnath


Lisa Laree said...

I'm finding that the older I get, the less I like synthetics. Don't get me wrong; there are some applications for synthetics -- for instance, a swimsuit's gotta be made from nylon/lycra. But for clothes I wear everyday, synthetics just feel ickier and ickier to me. I'm even finding the pretty poly/lycra knits to be rather unpleasant to wear.

Naturals are easier to sew; they press well, and, while they may wrinkle, at least they don't feel clammy.

The last woven polyester blouse I made was beautiful to look at, but felt horrible on.

And I can't wear acrylic knits at, after about 30 minutes, they STINK. Yuk. And so many of those pretty sweater knits offered for sale are 100% acrylic.

So, color me 'natural fibers' ;)

Shannon said...

I cannot stand pure polyester garments (I can be coerced into a poly blend on a few rare occasions though - rpl fabric comes to mind). Every time I risk making a poly garment I regret it. I tend to have a high internal thermostat, so poly fabric = stewing in my own juices. I also don't like acrylic - it pills too much and nylon can be stinky in warmer weather.

Give me linen, silk, wool, cashmere, cotton, rayon and bamboo. Now that's the stuff. They sew up beautifully, press nicely and are much more malleable than synthetics. Viva la natural fabrics!

mamafitz said...

i totally admit to being a natural fiber snob. :) i LOVE natural fibers: cotton, linen, wool, silk. there's certainly a place for synthetics, and i do have some nice synthetic knits (and a touch of lycra is really nice combined with a natural fiber). overall, however, i think the natural fibers feel better, sew up better, press better.

Faye Lewis said...

I love synthetics because they tend to be more wrinkle resistant. However, nothing bets cotton for summer garments.

gwensews said...

First of all Gwen, I LOVE the photos you put at the top of your posts. Leave it to you to find a picture that's a perfect lead-in to your blog!

I love rayon. Esepcially challis. It's difficult to come by though. I don't know what's happened to it. The, there's wool. Nothing molds and shapes like wool.

For shirts, I like either very fine cotton, or poly/cotton blend. The poly blend helps control wrinkles. I hate lycra.

I sew with synthetics, but prefer natural fibers.

Uta said...

Even though I don't like ironing, I prefer natural fibers. For their looks, their breatheability (is that a word?), and they are greener, because they're generally used longer, and are biodegradeable. Also, they age well. An old wool coat or cotton dress is a heirloom, an old poly garment is just nasty. That said, I do sew the occasional man-made fabric if I love the color/print, and they are invaluable in functional wear, too.

Zep said...

I like working with all kinds of fabric. Some are more challenging than others but I enjoy the process of them all. Since it's so hot here when making clothing I mostly use anything light weight - I love to recycle so I'm always cutting old things up.

Anonymous said...

When you sew because you're a single mom who can barely afford to hit the goodwill for jeans on a half price day, you become less picky about the content and focus on the quality since a good portion of it is bargain fabrics.

To that end, I've never had the luxury of preferring one to the other, and I adjust to it.

Kind of a downer on the whole sewing thing, but I don't do it as a hobby, it's a necessity.

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

I love natural fibers but I also love LYCRA. There's nothing like a knit top and skirt like New Look 6856. It's quick, business casual and comfortable for me. I guess I don't have a real preference. If the fabric feels good, looks good and it's not a pain in the behind to sew then I don't care if it's natural or man-made.

CarlaF-in Atlanta

KARIMA said...

I sew mostly cotton. Polyster I will use for pants and skirts. If I had only one choice, it would be natural fabric. I have lots of polyster crepe; I usually buy them for the print. I try not to wear polyster in the summer.

Unknown said...

I like blends. They lend themselves well to travel, as evidenced by the pants I wore to the mosque, and can take on ease of care you might not have with straight natural fibers. However, I can tell you honestly there isn't a single thing that went into my suitcase intended for wear that is completely synthetic. If I had to choose, I'd go all-natural long before I went all-synthetic.
Sorry for an absence in comments, it's been a whirlwind of a summer!