Synthetic fiber adaptation

Started by Futura, July 15, 2017, 04:08:58 AM

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In my collection of pattern cutting and fashion ephemera dating from the 1970's, occasionally I have stumbled across references to synthetic fibers as if they would respond to ironwork as their natural counterparts would.

Was this simply a misunderstanding due to the fact that many of the fibers were still new and unfamiliar, and people simply had the wrong expectations? I recall seeing in one book how polyester double knit would respond to pressing the same way as wool.

Was any bespoke tailoring done from synthetic fibers at this time, before they fully developed the bad reputation they have today? If so, what pattern adaptations would have been made to allow for the lack of ironwork?


Polyesters come in A variety of fabric constructions, wolven and knitted. They are present today in many performance fabrics, like technical outerwear. In the 60s and 70s they were mainly used as wool replacements. Promoted as "non creasing" and "self ironing" they were promoted by big chemical giants the likes of Bayer, ICI, Rhône Poulenc and others as fabrics of the future, suppoingly doing away with the disadvantages of woolens. Washable, non iron, colour fast etc... They were made brandde under names like Diollen, Trevira, Terlenka, Astrolon etcetera... Some designers, like André Courreges made grateful use of their unusual drape and consistancy to create A "space age" effect, including boxy shapes with raised seams and heavy saddle stitching. These materials have A "thermo fixing" effect; they can be "pressed  clean" at moderate temperatures. The adaptation of patterns usually had to do with the total lack of natural stretch. Clothes were different also, mostly fitted and "drapeless". So, the fine art of ironwork and molding techniques were not too well spent on them. The worst example being  the so called "leisure suit", that even came in knitted jaquard fabrics. Mind you, in my extremely young days, as an intern at A tailors' (mostly buttonholing, by the way) gentlemen insisted on fine woolens, such as Wilson &  Glenny....  Regards, Hendrick


Many thanks for your reply Hendrick.  :)

Yes, knitted jacquards. I enjoy collecting clothing and have a few suits and other items like that...  ;D


Are you an Austin Powers fan?

Cheers, Hendrick


Hmm, I recall watching one of the films many years ago!