The history of clothing and textiles is as long as your brain can take you. Clothing, an important characteristic of human civilization, has evolved in different centuries. Starting from the early stone age to the industrial revolution, the production of fabrics has tremendously changed. People were awed with the development of synthetic fibers like acetate which was the first thermoplastic fabric! It melted under heat and it was all new to the masses! Let’s know more of such facts about acetate fabric that you never knew!
Although Acetate fabrics are synthetic, they are actually made with natural components! The fabric is made from cellulose extracted from wood pulp that goes through a series of reactions and counter-reactions thus forming our synthetic or semi-synthetic fabric! Acetate fabric goes through a number of procedures to be used as an end product.
Rayon and acetate are often considered the same when there are a number of distinguishing factors between the two! So what are these differences really? Well, read more to find out!
There are many interesting facts associated with the history and production of Acetic fabric that will leave you awestruck! For example, The first use of acetate wasn’t what you’re accustomed to but rather a varnish for airplanes! Let’s see more of these interesting facts about Acetate!
Acetate Fabric: Facts About Acetate Fabric
Europe should be thanked for the discovery of acetate, in particular, the French and German chemists who discovered the reactivity and solubility of cellulose with acetate! Although a series of additions were made to the initial discoveries of 1865 and 1903, the fabric only came to the US in 1924!
The initial production of acetate fabric in the US began in 1924 but the fabric wasn’t that popular! Why? We shall see the reasons for that ahead! There’s a reason why I call it the “pampered wife!”
This “pampered wife or acetate” was unpopular at first and thus was not up for mass production! It could not be dyed properly, if dyed it was prone to discoloration and not forgetting the fact that it was the first thermoplastic (heat sensitive) fabric that was up for consumption! It requires great care and thus is mostly used for apparel that isn’t frequently worn! For example- the party attire! Hence, making it a pampered fabric!
The fabric is prone to a number of mishaps if you don’t follow the instructions properly! Acetate has some inherent properties that make it sensitive to a number of things that you need to be aware of! However, you will better understand once you get to know the characteristics and properties of the fabric!
Acetate Fabric Characteristics
Acetate is a rich and luxurious fabric! The early silk manufacturers were so afraid of its look that gave competition to real silk that they discredited its use! Obviously, because it was cheaper and any rational consumer would have shifted sides! But did they actually change sides? Well, not so easily! For acetate fabrics to become the first choice of buyers, they had to be available in different colors but did acetate have all that? Not at first! A special dying technique had to be discovered before it was up for mass production!
Let’s look at some other characteristics of acetate fabric!
- Luxurious-shiny appearance: Acetate has a shiny and lustrous appearance which makes it best for light reflection!
- Soft to hand and has a smooth texture: It has a smooth texture and thus they are used as a material for linings, home furnishings, party dresses, etc. Our home pillows and bed sheets are also available in this fabric because of the smoothness they provide!
- Needs dry cleaning: As I already told you, this is a pampered fabric that needs your care! Thus, if the label on the fabric says it needs dry cleaning, then obviously you should refrain from machine-washing! Most of the time, acetate needs to be dry cleaned and hand-washed!
- No shrinkage: That’s the most important characteristic of acetate fabric! The material does not shrink after wash and remains true to its actual shape and size!
- Not prone to pilling: We all hate pilling! Those balls simply make our expensive clothes appear HORRIBLE! And thus, acetate is a heaven-sent fabric here as it does not pill!
- Thermoplastic: Acetate fabrics are the first thermoplastic (heat sensitive) fabrics known to the human race! This means if you iron them, the material will simply MELT! Thus the labels on the clothes will always mention the material to not be hot ironed!
- An excellent draping material: These fabrics are excellent for draping materials and thus many of our home decor and furnishing items are made from it!
- Sensitive fibers: The acetate fibers are very sensitive and can break easily under pressure. The fabric will simply tear if you exert more pressure on it and that’s the reason why it is not recommended to machine wash them!
- Prone to discoloration: There are many pollutants that can discolor the acetate fabric! Even the constituents of your perfume might also discolor them and thus you need to be very careful of where you use them!
- Low cost: As it’s a synthetic/semi-synthetic fiber, they are cheaper in comparison to natural fabrics like silk!
- A breathable fabric: It’s a breathable fabric and hence it is used in linings! Bridal clothes are made from them because of how comfortable they are to the skin!
- Can wrinkle easily: This is a huge drawback of acetate fabric! The fabric can wrinkle easily and thus it is sometimes mixed with other fabrics to make it wrinkle-free!
- Poor tenacity: As it is a sensitive fiber, it is prone to tear and has less strength unlike other synthetic fibers like nylon or rayon!
- Dries easily: Acetate fabrics can dry easily and thus are used for linings and other home furnishings.
Some Important Acetate Fabric Properties That You Must know!
Before buying acetate fiber, these are the most important properties of it that need to be kept in mind! If you are looking for daily use clothes, it is always advisable that you choose a different fabric other than acetate! It is because these fibers are very sensitive and are prone to breakage! That’s why these fabrics are preferred for special occasions as they are not worn very often!
Although a good substitute for silk due to its lustrous appearance, acetate fabrics have many disadvantages! To produce a high-quality acetate fabric, they need to be chemically treated so they can make up for these disadvantages! Look at the chart below to know some of the good or bad properties of this fabric!
Uses Of Acetate Fabric
Now that you all are well acquainted with acetate fabric, you can easily guess where they are used most! These fabrics are foremost used in our clothes that are made for some special occasions like weddings, parties, etc. Also, due to their moisture-resistant properties, they are excellent fabrics for our linings and inner garments. Additionally, they are used in our homes as curtains, bedsheets, draperies, etc. Even our ties are sometimes made from this fabric!
Owing to its luxurious and lustrous appearance, acetate fabrics give us the best of the two worlds! How? Well, they are cheaper than natural fabrics and better than manufactured ones! But it is very important that you know about the type of fabric you are buying! There are many properties of acetate that you might not be aware of and you might get disappointed once you get to know them! Like for example, they are prone to wrinkle! Thus a bit of research on what you are planning to buy is always noteworthy!
What clothes are made from acetate fabric?
Wedding gowns, dresses, nightgowns, etc are made from acetate fibers. Linings are made of acetate fabric because they are moisture resistant. Other than clothes, our home furnishings are also made from this fabric.
How to wash acetate fabric?
Before you wash your acetate fabric clothes or apparel, it is always advisable that you check what is written on its label. If it says hand washing, then you need to gently hand wash it. Most of the time, the label tells you to get your acetate fabric clothes to be dry cleaned! In that case, you have to get the fabric dry cleaned instead of experimenting with it!
Are acetate fabrics breathable?
Yes! Acetate fabrics are highly breathable and that’s the reason our linings are made from them.
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