You’ve heard me say this before: “I love fabric, all different kinds of fabric. You can consider me a fabric junkie.” And because intimates are a sensuous experience (relating to or affecting the senses), the sense of touch is directly related to fabric. Here at Uplift, we carry a variety of fabrics, each having different characteristics that affect comfort, longevity, support, and purpose.
Silk [Linda Hartman, Lise Charmel, Jane Woolrich]
As one of the oldest natural fibers, silk is considered the “queen of textiles.” Luxuriously beautiful, silk is known for its soft feel, flattering sheen, and drape that hold its shape. It’s a year-round fabric that is cool in the summer and warm in the winter because it wicks moisture away. It is also one of the strongest natural fibers (stronger than steel) and Mother Nature’s most hypoallergenic fabrics (it repels any unwanted allergens). However, it is expensive as it involves harvesting silkworms for the material. It takes approximately 2500-3000 silkworms to spin one pound of raw silk.
Cupro or Cupra (Vegan Silk) [The Rya Collection]
Here’s your science lesson for the day .. Cupro is a regenerated cellulose fabric that is made from recycled cotton linter, the fluffy fiber around the plant’s seeds. Since linter fibers are too small to be spun, they’re usually thrown away during cotton production. Cupro, on the other hand, is created by dissolving them into a viscous solution of copper oxide called cuprammonium, hence the name’s origin. Linter can then be spun into new fibers and woven into this smooth fabric. Given its cellulose origin and production process, it’s part of the same family of fabrics as Tencel, Rayon, Modal and Lyocell. What we love about Cupro is its silk-like function and cottony soft feel at a lower cost.
Cotton [Cotn, Cosabella, Jolidon, Moretta, The Rya Collection, Saxx]
Cotton is durable, easy to look after, easy to dye, has a long lifespan, and can withstand many washes. The cotton fibers actually become stronger when they’re wet than dry. It doesn’t attract odors in the same way as synthetic materials. Cotton is comfortable to wear and perfect for sensitive skin, which makes it a natural choice to use for base layers like panties, camisoles, bras, and nightwear. Our sleepwear line from Cotn is made from Peruvian Pima Cotton which is known worldwide for being a luxurious, natural, and breathable fiber. These fibers are extra-long allowing them to be knit into denser and softer cotton. (Fun Fact: Pima Cotton must be hand-picked to ensure fewer imperfections.)
Polyester [The Rya Collection, Anita, Saxx]
Polyester is the most common synthetic fiber. It is heat and color resistant, dries quickly, doesn’t crease and shrinks less than – for example – cotton fibers. Polyester is also more elastic than cotton. It is more durable and is often used in functional fabrics and sports bras since it doesn’t hold moisture. Polyester fibers wick moisture away from the body but instead of it being absorbed by the material it evaporates. The result is that the material feels dry.
When polyester is dyed, the fibers hold their color better than others like cotton which can fade when washed. Polyester creates fuzz balls (or burls) easily, so it’s good to mix it with other fibers. It’s important to know there’s a big difference in quality between different polyester fabrics.
Modal [Fleur’t, Lise Charmel, Cosabella, Moretta, Saxx]
Modal is made from the cellulose pulp from beech trees. This material is soft and at the same time stable, strong and able to maintain its shape. It also doesn’t shrink in the wash. Underwear made from modal is very unusual, even though modal fibers are well suited to panties, they are quite expensive compared with cotton and polyester alternatives.
Viscose [Moretta, Saxx]
The oldest regenerated fiber is rayon, which is now most commonly known as viscose. Viscose is very soft and comfortable to wear. It does not trap heat but absorbs water and sweat nicely. It’s lightweight and breathable, extremely soft to the touch, and maintains its shape when blended with other textiles like spandex to add stretch. Viscose can hold dye without fading, even after long-term use and washes.
Satin [Jane Woolrich]
Fun Fact: Satin is a type of weave and not a material. The satin weave creates a fabric that is shiny, soft, and elastic with a beautiful drape. Satin fabric is characterized by a soft, lustrous surface on one side, with a duller surface on the other side. This is a result of the satin weaving technique, and there are many variations on what defines a satin weave.
Note: Silk is the name of the fiber, and satin is the name of the textile weave. Therefore, silk fibers can be used to form satin, but silk fibers can also be woven in other patterns which would not be considered satin. Satin, on the other hand, can be made from any long filament fibers, not just silk.
Chiffon [The Rya Collection, Jane Woolrich]
Chiffon is a popular, decorative, lightweight fabric that has always been associated with elegance and luxury. Its shimmery and sheer appearance has proliferated in fashion and design for centuries. Chiffon is a weaving process that produces a lightweight, plain weave fabric with a slight shine. The chiffon weave results in small puckers that make the fabric a little rough to the touch. It can be woven from a variety of textile types, both synthetic and natural, like silk, nylon, rayon, or polyester.
When investigating fabrics, there’s so much to consider. We hope this short breakdown of the more popular fabrics used for intimates will help you better understand what you are wearing.
We’ll see you again soon .. behind the curtain.