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Fashion fabrics from metallic fibres

August 22, 2012

Metals Resources

Fashion fabrics from metallic fibres

During historic ages, threads of gold and silver were used by the royal garment makers to adorn the clothing of kings, queens and people of status. The entire cloth was completely made out of gold threads and was known as ‘Cloth of Gold’. This is different from the embroidery techniques in which golden threads are used to embellish a garment. Earlier this fabric was made for ecclesiastical uses, and as royal attire. Now, metallic fabrics are into spotlight, at the high end of fashion due to its look and feel. This process in textile treatment gives a unique appearance to the fabric making it attractive.

Making of the Fiber:

Every fabric has its unique features and applications. To make a fabric appear out of the box, various fabric textures and service designs are used. Two methods are used in the manufacturing process of metallic fibres.

One is the laminating process, where a layer of aluminum is sealed between two layers of polyester or acetate film. They are cut lengthwise and wound into bobbins as yarns. The metal is colored and sealed in a film, and later the film is colored before laminating. Second way of making a metallic fiber is through the metalizing process. Under this method, the metal is heated until it turns into vapour. Then it is deposited into the polyester film at high pressure. The metallic fiber made in this way is thinner, more durable, and flexible then the prior one.

Applications:

Metallic fibers can be used for fabrics with both functional and decorative effects. The most common application of these fibres is in the making of upholstery fabrics like lame and brocade. They make excellent interior decorations like curtains, sofa covers etc. Steel fibres are used in carpets dispersed along with other fibers. This helps to conduct electricity so as to reduce static shock. Hence they are mostly used in spaces where chances of static shocks are more probable; places where computers are used. They are also used in space suits, protective clothing, cut resistant gloves of butchers, and in making garments for people who work near bladed machinery. They are further used in automotive textiles, towels, bathing suits, hosiery, hat bands etc. Metallic fibres are also twisted with other fibers like wool, cotton, synthetic, and nylon to make yarns which add a novelty effect to the end product. They add a sparkle to the fabric, thus making it more attractive.

Metallic fabrics also used in tailoring of apparels as they are glamorous and simply irresistible, adding a classic finishing to the garment. The fibres are woven, knitted, or braided into many fashionable types of attire. A soft flowing metallic fabric is complementary to women of all ages. A light weight metallic jacket over a white dinner dress would look arresting. Fashion world is getting heated up with metallic fabrics of gold, silver and bronze on the runways. The magical spell of these fabrics exhibit a luxurious appearance. It carries a promising market for metallic accent in shades of brass, silver, gold and pewter. If metallic dresses are not the consumer’s choice of wardrobe, the fabric is also available in other products like handbags, belts, and even shoes; especially the stilettos.

Care and Maintenance:

Metallic fabrics should be professionally dry cleaned with perchlorethylene. The fabric should be hand cleaned with woolite and cold water, and should never be bleached. Like other synthetic fabrics, metallic fabrics should be ironed at the lowest setting, without using a steam iron.

Presently, metallic fabrics are mainly manufactured in Europe and by a handful of manufacturers in the US. This process adds value, and improves the functions of the fabric. Metallic clothing has a unique specialty, and brightness that creates lustrous images. This exquisite nature of the fabric makes it popular both in the contemporary consumer market, and the technical aspect of industrial applications.

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