Polyester knitted fabrics for comfort and resilience

  • Ainun Najwa
  • Aug 13, 2021

Polyester is a fabric that contains naturally occurring chemicals like the cutin contained in plant cuticles. It is used in all types of clothing either as pure or blended with cotton. This fiber is easily dyed, strong and resists shrinking, stretching, creasing and mildew. It is also sun resistant. Polyester is made into different types of yarns and threads and contains both natural or synthetic chemicals. Naturally occurring polyesters are biodegradable while the synthetic version is not. Products that are knitted from polyester yarn include blankets, home furnishings and clothing.

Polyester is not grown naturally and it is a popular fabric. Polyester is a polymer that is made of petroleum, air, coal and water. It is used in association with other fabrics to add some qualities to those fabrics, like resistance to wrinkling, Polyester is also used to make other fabric materials hard and give them strength. One of the major advantage of polyester knitted fabric is it dries quickly, does not crumple and is easy to maintain. Polyester is resistant to mildew, other chemicals and abrasion. One disadvantage of polyester is it is not a breathable fabric.

Now that we have understood a bit about polyester fabric let us get a small introduction to knitted fabrics. Knit fabrics are of three types:

  • Crochet fabrics
  • Warp knitted fabrics
  • Weft knitted fabrics

There are many types of knitted fabrics, that are largely used in making clothing like t-shirts, dresses, swim wear etc.
Polyester is used to manufacture several products like industrial fabrics, home furnishings, clothing. It has many advantages over traditional fabric, such as it does not absorb moisture. Its low absorbent nature makes it resistant to stains. Polyester material can be preshrunk during the finishing process, this makes it resistant to shrinking and it avoids stretching out of shape. This fabric can be easily dyed.

Polyester fibers are available in two types: PET and PCDT. PET Is commonly produced, it is more resilient than PCDT. PET can also be used alone or blended with different fabrics for creating wrinkle free and stain resistant clothing, which can retain its shape. PCDT Is more viable for heavier application like curtain draperies, upholstery or furniture coverings.

Polyester can be cheap and shiny as well as expensive and comfortable. It largely depends upon the fabric it is blended. Polyester blended with cotton retains all the good qualities of cotton along with the resilience, the elasticity and the shine of polyester. This fabric is ideal to buy and very comfortable during the summer months. I would recommend that you check the label carefully before buying the fabric.

Polyester knitted fabric is used to make evening wear and fitted clothing as its natural elasticity ensures that it retains shape and it also does not turn at the ends like jersey. This material is chosen to make clothing for its smooth texture, resilience, tenacity and elasticity and it gives a fine texture to the garment made out of it.

Characteristics of Polyester Knitted Fabric

Polyester knitted fabric is known for its remarkable characteristics, making it a popular choice in various industries. Let’s delve into the key features that define this versatile textile:

A. Composition and Structure

Polyester knitted fabric is primarily composed of synthetic polyester fibers. These fibers are created through a process known as polymerization, where petrochemicals are transformed into long chains of polymer molecules. The resulting material is strong, resilient, and highly resistant to external factors.

The structure of polyester knitted fabric is created through the knitting process, where loops of yarn are interlocked to form a flexible and stretchable textile. The way these loops are arranged can vary, leading to different types of knitted fabrics, each with its unique characteristics.

B. Stretch and Recovery Properties

One of the standout features of polyester knitted fabric is its excellent stretch and recovery properties. It can stretch in multiple directions, providing a comfortable and form-fitting feel when worn. The fabric has a remarkable ability to return to its original shape after stretching, ensuring that garments made from it retain their shape and fit over time.

This inherent elasticity makes polyester knitted fabric ideal for activewear, sportswear, and other applications where freedom of movement is crucial. It allows the fabric to move with the wearer, enhancing comfort and performance.

C. Durability and Strength

Polyester knitted fabric is renowned for its durability and strength. The synthetic nature of polyester fibers makes them resistant to abrasion, tearing, and damage from exposure to the elements. This durability ensures that polyester knitted garments can withstand rigorous use and maintain their quality for an extended period.

The fabric’s strength also contributes to its versatility, as it can be used in a wide range of applications, from everyday clothing to industrial and technical textiles.

D. Breathability and Moisture-Wicking

Despite being a synthetic material, polyester knitted fabric exhibits good breathability and moisture-wicking properties. The knit structure allows air to circulate between the loops, promoting ventilation and comfort. Additionally, polyester fibers have a natural hydrophobic quality, which means they repel moisture and dry quickly.

These characteristics make polyester knitted fabric suitable for activewear and sportswear, where moisture management is essential to keep the wearer cool and dry during physical activities.

E. Common Uses

Polyester knitted fabric finds its way into numerous products and applications due to its versatile characteristics. Some common uses of this fabric include:

  • T-shirts and other casual clothing items
  • Athletic wear and sportswear, including leggings, jerseys, and shorts
  • Undergarments and lingerie
  • Home textiles like bed linens and curtains
  • Industrial and technical textiles, such as conveyor belts and automotive interiors
  • Accessories like scarves, hats, and gloves

Advantages of Polyester Knitted Fabric

Polyester knitted fabric stands out in the world of textiles due to its numerous advantages, making it a preferred choice for many. Let’s explore these advantages in detail:

A. Cost-Effectiveness

One of the most compelling advantages of polyester knitted fabric is its cost-effectiveness. Polyester is an affordable synthetic material, making it a budget-friendly option for both manufacturers and consumers. This affordability doesn’t compromise the quality or performance of the fabric, as it still offers many desirable attributes.

The cost-effectiveness of polyester knitted fabric makes it accessible to a wide range of consumers, ensuring that comfort, durability, and style are within reach without breaking the bank.

B. Easy Care and Maintenance

Polyester knitted fabric is a low-maintenance textile, which is a significant advantage for busy individuals. It is inherently resistant to wrinkles and creases, so garments made from this fabric typically require little to no ironing. This ease of care translates to less time and effort spent on garment maintenance.

Additionally, polyester knitted fabric is known for its color retention, even after multiple washes. It doesn’t fade easily, ensuring that your clothing maintains its vibrant hues over time.

C. Resistance to Wrinkling and Pilling

Polyester knitted fabric’s resistance to wrinkling and pilling is a notable advantage for those who prefer a neat and tidy appearance. Unlike some natural fibers, polyester doesn’t crease easily, keeping your clothing looking fresh and wrinkle-free throughout the day.

Moreover, pilling, the formation of small, unsightly balls of fabric on the surface, is minimal with polyester knitted fabric. This means your garments will maintain a smooth and polished appearance even after frequent wear and washing.

D. Colorfastness and Printing Options

Polyester knitted fabric is highly receptive to dyes and printing techniques. It boasts exceptional colorfastness, meaning that the vibrant colors of your garments won’t fade or bleed, even when exposed to sunlight or multiple washes. This feature ensures that your clothing looks as good as new for an extended period.

Manufacturers also favor polyester knitted fabric for its printing versatility. It readily accepts various printing methods, allowing for intricate designs, patterns, and customization options. This makes it a popular choice for fashion designers and brands looking to create eye-catching apparel.

E. Eco-Friendly Aspects

While polyester is a synthetic material, advancements in sustainable textile production have led to the development of eco-friendly polyester options. Recycled polyester, often made from post-consumer plastic bottles, reduces the environmental impact of textile production. Additionally, some manufacturers use environmentally responsible dyeing and finishing processes to minimize pollution and waste.

While polyester knitted fabric may not be entirely eco-friendly in its traditional form, these eco-conscious alternatives are gaining popularity, offering a more sustainable choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Types of Polyester Knitted Fabrics

Polyester knitted fabrics come in various types, each with its unique characteristics and applications. Let’s explore some of the most common and specialized varieties:

A. Single Jersey

Single jersey is one of the most common types of polyester knitted fabric. It features a simple, single-knit construction with a smooth face and a looped back. This fabric is lightweight, breathable, and has a good amount of stretch, making it a popular choice for T-shirts, casual wear, and activewear.

B. Double Jersey

Double jersey, as the name suggests, is a knitted fabric with two sets of interlocking loops on both sides. This results in a thicker and more stable fabric compared to single jersey. It has excellent stretch and recovery properties, making it suitable for items like sweaters, dresses, and cardigans.

C. Interlock

Interlock fabric is a double-knit polyester fabric known for its exceptional softness and durability. It has a smooth texture on both sides and is thicker than single jersey. Interlock is often used in making baby clothing, bedding, and comfortable undergarments due to its gentle touch against the skin.

D. Rib Knit

Rib knit fabric is characterized by vertical ridges (ribs) that run along the fabric’s surface. It has a textured appearance and offers more stretch in one direction than the other. Rib knit is often used for cuffs, collars, and waistbands in garments, as well as for creating fitted clothing items like leggings.

E. Ponte Roma

Ponte Roma is a double-knit polyester fabric known for its stability and substantial weight. It has a smooth, matte finish and a slight stretch, making it an excellent choice for structured garments like dresses, blazers, and skirts. Ponte Roma fabric is less prone to wrinkles and drapes well, offering a polished look.

F. Jacquard Knit

Jacquard knit fabrics are intricate and highly patterned textiles created using special knitting machines. They can feature complex designs, patterns, and textures, often resembling woven fabrics. Polyester jacquard knits are used in upscale fashion items, upholstery, and decorative textiles due to their luxurious appearance.

G. Other Specialized Varieties

Beyond the common types mentioned above, there are numerous specialized polyester knitted fabrics tailored to specific applications. These include:

  • Brushed Polyester: Known for its soft and fuzzy texture, brushed polyester is used in cozy loungewear, blankets, and winter clothing.
  • Spacer Fabric: Spacer fabrics have a three-dimensional structure that provides breathability and cushioning. They’re used in activewear, footwear, and automotive upholstery.
  • Terry Cloth: Polyester terry cloth is absorbent and often used in towels, bathrobes, and sportswear.
  • Mesh Knit: Mesh knits are characterized by their open, breathable structure and are commonly used in sports jerseys, athletic gear, and summer clothing.
  • Sweater Knit: These knits mimic the look of traditional sweaters and are used to create stylish, warm outerwear.

In summary, polyester knitted fabrics offer a wide range of options to cater to various needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking for comfort, structure, or intricate patterns, there’s a polyester knit type suitable for your specific project or clothing item.