Introduction to Fibers: Acrylic

By | May 7, 2016
Wool-acrylic blend suiting fabric by Gucci. Source: moodfabrics.com

Wool-acrylic blend suiting fabric (twill weave) by Gucci. Source: moodfabrics.com

Acrylic is another synthetic fiber made from various polymers that I can’t even spell, let alone pronounce.

It was invented in 1941 by the chemical company DuPont, who promptly trademarked it under the name Orlon. It wasn’t widely produced until the 1950s whereupon it got used in practically everything, because it’s strong, warm and takes dye well.

Acrylic is often used as a low-cost wool substitute (especially cashmere), or blended with wool. An advantage of an acrylic fiber over wool is that some folks are allergic to wool and can’t wear it. Unlike wool, it won’t felt when dunked into hot water and agitated.

Acrylic yarn is popular with crafters, because it’s cheaper than wool.

Some acrylic fabric will “pill” or get fuzzy over time. Proper laundry care can minimize that – hand or machine wash it in cold water, and lay it flat to dry. Dry cleaning isn’t recommended as some dry-cleaning chemicals can stiffen acrylic fibers. Check the bolt end or label when possible.

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