• Londa

Natural Fibers Explained: Cotton, Silk, Wool, Linen

Cotton – Linen – Silk – Wool are the natural fibers.  See if you can  answer these interesting fiber questions?

  1. Which natural fiber can bend 20,000 times before breaking?

  2. Which natural fiber is found in face powder? Inside a Baseball?

  3. Which natural fiber gets stronger when wet?

  4.  Which natural fiber is found in the nose of the Concord Jet AND Ben Franklin’s Kite?How do these natural, God-made fibers translate into wearability and comfort?  As we move into Spring/Summer and hotter weather, it is even more important to understand the differences and characteristics of fibers of which our clothing is made.  Textiles was certainly one of my favorite university classes  that I LOVED!  Much of the info shared can be found – with SO MUCH MORE in the series of books in which I spent hours and hours and hours when I discovered them.  Find some on Amazon –  All About Cotton, All About Silk and All About Wool  by Julie Parker, published by Raintree Publishing.  Some of the images below are from those books.

Remember to click on the images for a larger view so you can read the Interesting Facts about each fiber! 

The image below is a great one to divide ManMade and Natural Fibers.  It is also good to familiarize yourself  with some basic fiber textile terminology.


Wheel of natural and man-made fibers

Sources of Natural Fibers


sources of natural fibers

Here are some VERY interesting facts about cotton.  It has been a special treat to live in ‘the Land of Cotton’ now that we’ve moved to TN.  The plants are taller than I imagined for one thing.  The fields are BEAUTIFUL when the cotton blooms.  What I thought was ‘paper trash’ along the road early last fall was actually tufts of cotton!


Facts About Cotton

Linen – worth a total separate post – but to add info here in this comprehensive Natural Fiber post…. 

Linen Facts

Silk – a favorite of most sewists – my absolute FAVORITE fabric would have to be 4 ply silk!!!!  Nothing compares to its flow an body and beauty in my humble opinion.  My wardrobe currently doesn’t have any 4 ply silk. I may have to remedy that one day when I’m feeling rich.  www.silkbaron.com is a great source for all things silk!


Silk Dupioni is also a favorite of mine.  More details on silk are found in my comprehensive textile PDF:

Textiles for the Seamstress.    It is chuck full of  helpful information if textiles interest you!  Just $12.

Then, of course there is WOOL

So so many different type of sheep – VERY  interesting reading!!  I especially remember my Dad’s army uniform – WOOL!  Why?  Because wool makes dirt just dry up and fall off.  And that listing of interesting Wool Facts – click on the image and read these facts…..

sheep hide showing wool sourcing
all about wool

There you have it – our natural fibers.  For a collection of facts about the fabric we love, check out my collection of textile information – specially assembled for the Seamstress.  Click HERE.

Questions?  Information to share?  Do so in the Comments below.

Recent Posts

See All