Description : Nylon is widely appreciated for its durability, strength and water repellant qualities. It also resists wrinkles. The fibres are often blended with natural fibres or other manufactured fibres to enhance durability. Nylon fibres, either alone or within blends, can be woven, knitted or pressed. It is lighter in weight and absorbs moisture better than polyester. However, nylon is sensitive to sunlight, and hence unsuitable for draperies or outdoor furniture.
Fabrication : Nylon is a polyamide made from hard, white chips that are melted and extruded through spinarettes, where they are solidified to form monofilaments. These are then stretched and twisted to form yarn. Nylon filament is stronger than steel wire of the same weight.
Subtypes : More recent nylon fibres have been created which prolong garment life, add lustre or opacity, and reduce static and abrasion. A variety of trademarks are current for different variants of nylon, including Agilon, Anso, Caprolan, Antron, Supplex and Tactel.
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Nylon is easy to dye, quick-drying and colorfast. The fabric is not affected by most chemicals, perspiration or body oils, moths, silverfish or milldew. Nylon also retains pressed pleats and creases. Nylon is shrinkage free also. Most nylon garments can be washed in warm water with a mild detergent, followed by machine drying at low temperature. Nylon will pick up color and soil from other garments, so these should be sorted before washing.
Draping properties : Most nylon fabrics are crisp.
Cutting properties : Press out the fold line before laying out the fabric. If the old cannot be removed, the pattern pieces will have to be adjusted around the fold. Spread the fabrics with right sides together and cut with steel shears. Serrated steel shears work particularly well with nylon.
Sewing challenges : Nylon fabrics dull needles and scissors quickly, and many nylon fabrics fray heavily. They do not accommodate ease well and can be damaged by a hot iron. Puckered seams may be encountered with nylon fabircs - change needles often to avoid this, loosen the tension on both the needle and bobbin threads and hold the fabric firmly while stitching. A wide stitch foot may also help with puckering. Use small needles for sheer or lightweight nylon fabrics. If stitches skip, try using a slightly larger needle. Seams should be kept to a minimum. Easing and bias-cut designs are difficult. Better quality nylon fabrics fray less than cheaper variants. To set pleats or creases, use a hot iron and a damp press cloth.
Example creations : fitted tutu with nylon net skirt, striped bikini, baby-doll dress, swim shorts, white belt, hooded jacket,
Uses worldwide : Its high strength and durability make it particularly suitable for children's clothes, outerwear and certain kinds of industrial protection garments. Several different fabrics may be made out of nylon, including Antron, Cordura, Quiana and Helanca. Nylon is used in stockings as an inexpensive replacement for silk, There are several advantages of nylon over silk in hosiery, one of these is that nylon fiber can be made in all sorts of thicknesses. Thus you can have very sheer nylon stockings.
Origins and history : A petroleum byproduct, nylon was introduced by Dupont in 1938. The original nylon is often referred to as "Nylon 6,6". It was the first fully synthetic fibre. Nylon was used extensively in the Second World War for parachutes, tow ropes, tents, tarpaulins and tires. It was also used sparingly for lingerie, stockings and men's socks. In the 1950's, Agilon nylon was developed to give nylon 6,6 some stretch but it was still nylon 6,6. Later, in the 60s, nylon was reformulated and the fiber shape was completely changed - the new product was called Cantrece. Since then nylon has been reformulated into many different fibers.
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