Summer Fabrics: Cotton and Linen
How to stay cool on a hot summer day? Wear fabrics built for the heat. Cotton, linen, viscose, silk – there are dozens of summer-friendly materials you can choose for your wardrobe. The best fabric to opt for when the temperature rises should be breathable and comfortable.
It goes without saying that natural fibers are better than synthetics, and for a couple of reasons. First, they come from nature, while synthetic materials are made from chemicals. Second, they are hypoallergenic and perfect for those with high skin sensitivity. To help you make the right choice, we have prepared a comprehensive guide of lightweight fabrics that will be your best friends throughout the season (the Indian summer included).
What Is the Best Fabric to Wear in Hot Weather?
Whether you are choosing fabric to sew clothes for your office, casual strolls or going-outs, here is the list of fibers that will do the trick:
Cotton is one of the most sought-after fabrics when it comes to summer clothing. Available in a wide range of textures and weaves, it can easily construct your basic wardrobe on its own, without any help from other fibers.
Derived from plant, this material is highly absorbent and breathable. It wears beautifully both in dry heat and in humid conditions, and that’s the secret of its popularity all over the world. Why is this fiber perfect for summer needs?
- Highly absorbent
- Easy to wash and care for
- Dries fast
Very versatile, cotton is a cool fabric that suits both men and women. Ladies are offered a large choice of solid and patterned cotton fabrics for dresses like lawn, voile, poplin, batiste, muslin, while men get to enjoy seersucker, poplin, gauze and madras.
Sheer cotton fabrics are perfect for airy blouses, shirt dresses and skirts. Eyelet variety allows more air to come through, plus makes chiс apparel like shorts, dresses and tops. Whatever type of cotton fabric by the yard you choose, it will probably need less care than expected, and that’s a great pro.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Linen Fabrics?
Linen fabric is an awesome way to meet the summer heat. Made from the fibers of flax plants, it feels cool and absorbs the sweat, keeping your body all set and comfortable. The best linen is woven in Ireland and Italy. Linen material lacks elasticity and is quite difficult to weave. However, it is easily a number one choice for summer clothing because it is durable, breathable and stronger that cotton.
What makes linen a great option for hot weather?
- Highly breathable
- Absorbs moisture
- Durable and strong
- Resistant to damage
- Easy to wash and care for
- Dries fast
Linen has low thread count compared to cotton. Fewer fibers provide unbeatable breathability – just what we expect of a summer fabric. Another reason to love linen cloth is its ability to absorb moisture: linen fibers soak up about one-fifth of their weight in water.
Linen tends to crease easily. However, it tends to wrinkle less with time, as it becomes softer upon washing. Another way to make it resistant to creasing is blend it with cotton. If you have no time for ironing, spray your linen fabric with water and smooth the wrinkles with your hand.
A Guide to Breathable Summer Fabrics
There are several qualities you need to remember when choosing the right fabric for the summer closet. Have a look at our check list of characteristics that are inherent to best summer dress materials:
Natural fibers are always better than synthetics. They let your skin breathe, ward off the heat and overall feel gentler to the touch. On the contrary, synthetic materials do not have cooling properties.
The lighter, the better – that’s the rule to stick to. Lighter fabrics tend to be sheer, soft and silky, with a few exceptions having a coarse hand. Heavy cloths even if they are made of natural fibers will make you sweat. Opt for fabrics weighing no more than 100 g/m2.
Check the weave of your fabric. The most breathable ones are made with fine threads and in a loose weave.
We all have our own color preferences depending on the skin tone and so on. Still, the science fact – lighter colors are champions in beating summer heat, because they are better at reflecting light.
Even the most breathable fabric will lose some of its charm if turned into a bodycon look. Plan for looser cuts and shapes rather than clingy silhouettes. In this case nothing will hinder the air circulation.
How to Care?
If you want summer fabrics to live long and happy, you should take good care of them. What is the recipe for success? Study the recommendations for the type of fabric chosen for the summer wardrobe. Here are some of the basic rules one should follow not to damage material.
- Cotton is not ok with high temperatures when it comes to washing. 30-40ºC works best for it. Cooler water temperatures prevent shrinkage and color fading.
- Do not bleach cotton, otherwise fibers get weakened and start to rip.
- Tumble drying is allowed, however, over drying leads to excessive wrinkling.
- Most cotton fabrics need little pressing. Use the lower press setting on your iron (around 150ºC). High temperatures can scorch and burn cotton fibers.
- Hand or machine wash are better than dry cleaning. Linen becomes softer with each washing and prefers cold or lukewarm water – around 30ºC. Opt for gentle washing cycle.
- Do not bleach linen, otherwise fibers get weakened and start to rip.
- Tumble drying is not allowed. Instead, hang dry your linen.
- Iron linen while it is still damp, or with steam (maximum 200ºC). Most linen fabrics look nice without pressing.
Lightweight fabrics are a pleasure to wear in summer. They exude femininity and help create all kinds of styles, from flowing dresses and full skirts to flirty crop tops and airy scarves. Choose your fabric wisely. Do not limit yourself to cotton and linen fabrics; try silk and viscose as well. Silk is better suited for draped designs and relaxed fit, and while it may not be the most breathable fabric in the world, but it’s what you’ll wear for a special occasion, like a summer wedding or an outdoor event. Viscose fabric clothing is a good choice for hot and humid climates.
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