Tailor's Choice: Why Tailors Use Certain Fabrics When Making Dress Shirts

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    Dress shirts are made of woven cloth. Most frequently used is cotton, and occasionally linen or even polyester. Cotton is the fabric of choice due to its balance of breathability, smooth feel, and attractive draping characteristics. A high quality cotton will last decades, though a polyester/cotton blend is often used for more demanding environments. Pure polyester has poor breathability, thus is not comfortable for the wearer. A cotton/polyester blend with a high ratio of cotton will maintain it's breathability and posses wrinkle-resistance and strength. Dress shirts can be found made of silk, though this is hot to wear and has a obvious sheen.

    Originally the dress shirt was always white, though in time this naturally changed and now you will find shirts with many vibrant colours and patterns. In country areas the checked patterns gained popularity quickly, and in the city, metropolitan areas the stripped shirts took over. The next section goes over the variations of fabrics used in the making of fine shirts.

    Egyptian Cotton, as well as other luxury cottons, is characterized by its extra long staples (cotton fibers). Grown in the rich soil and humid conditions of the Nile River Valley, Egyptian cotton is incredibly strong, yet maintains a soft feel and lustrous appearance. The characteristic that gives Egyptian cotton its appeal as a luxury fabric for dress shirts is its ability to maintain crispness while remaining soft. Moreover, its staples are remarkably absorbent. For this reason it is often used for bath products, such as towels or bathrobes. Also, this absorbent quality allows it to absorb dyes better than many other fabrics -- making it ideal for dress shirts with bold, strong colors. If cared for properly, this cotton can last for decades.

    In the 19th century the modern founder of Egypt, Mohammad Ali Pasha, brought Gossypium barbadense, a species of cotton, to Egypt to be cultivated. This turned out to be a huge success as the fertile moist lands just around the Nile were perfect for the cotton. During the Civil War in the United States there was a lack of cotton growth, so Egypt filled the demand and made it's cotton famous around the world.

    Another cotton used in luxury shirt making is Sea Island Cotton. It's varies from Egyptian cotton only slightly in that it has a silkier feel to it. It comes from the same species as Egyptian. The Sea Islands are located just of the coast of Georgia, in the United States. The cotton sometimes has silk woven into it for an appearance and feel even more like silk.

    Sea Island cotton is from the Gossypium barbadense species. During the American Civil War, cotton growers attempted to relocate and introduce this cotton to Bermuda, but were unsuccessful because Bermuda does not have the specific climate conditions that this cotton plant requires. These very rare climate conditions are found in the Sea Islands, and that is what makes Sea Island cotton one of the world's most sought after cottons for dress shirts.

    A more common cotton is Pima. This cotton has a slightly shorter staple than Egyptian or Sea Island cotton, though it is probably the most common cotton. Your typical t-shirt is made of Pima cotton, as well many dress shirts are. Even luxury dress shirt makers use Pima cotton. It's thick staples make it perfect for sox or such clothing requiring durability. This cotton is grown primarily in America, in the southwest part.

    From the Gossypium barbadense species, Pima cotton owes its name to the Pima Native Americans who first cultivated it in the United States. Its cultivation originated from an experiment carried out in Arizona by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the early 1900's. It didn't gain popularity until the 1950's, when a new pima seed was released that produced an increased staple length and higher yield.

    A variant of Pima cotton is Upland Cotton. Now this cotton is the primary cotton found in the United states, accounting for over ninety percent of all production. It comes in long staple and short staple, the long staple being the most common. Generally this cotton is used is less luxurious products.

    Gossypium Hirsutum is the species that Upland cotton is from. Originally cultivated in Mexico, for almost 5000 years. In Mexico it's referred to as Mexican Cotton, though you would be hard pressed to hear this term used in the United States.

    Wrinkle resistance is often sought after in shirts. This can be accomplished with synthetic fabrics such as polyester. 100 percent polyester is virtually wrinkle free, though it's unnatural feel and lack of breathability make it a poor choice in its pure form. Therefore, it is often used in a blended form, usually at a low ration with cotton. 80 percent cotton with 20 percent will not be wrinkle free, though it will be wrinkle resistant while still maintaining the benefit of a natural feel and breathability of cotton. Viscose is another synthetic fabric. It is more commonly blended in high quality fabrics, such as those used for dress shirt making. Viscose often has improved breathability even over cotton. Again, it does not maintain a wrinkle free press as does polyester, though it maintains the natural characteristics of the cotton much better than polyester, while also reducing wrinkles.

    Source: http://buithixuan.info/posts/women-...certain-fabrics-when-making-dress-shirts.html

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