Mercerized Cotton – A Better Buy For Smart Shoppers

Casual and formal clothing made with 100% cotton have many advantages. It can be worn year round and is soft and comfortable. It retains body heat in cold weather and absorb perspiration in hot and humid climates. It is hypoallergenic and is the fabric of choice for those with sensitive skin.

Even though clothes made of cotton wrinkles and shrinks, they are easy to care for and are machine washable. Designer children’s clothing as well as designer cotton clothing for men and women that have particular finishes, trims and dyes, can be dry cleaned. The fabric is strong, durable and is easy to darn. It softly drapes the body without clinging, and can be printed on and dyed in a panoply of colors. These qualities have made cotton the most widely used fabric for clothing in the world. What could be better?

Mercerized Cotton

When cotton yarn or fabric is mercerized, some of the above qualities are greatly enhanced. Clothing made with this cotton has a softer feel and is more lustrous than the conventional kind. As a result of the treatment, it has a greater moisture sorption capacity and is more comfortable to wear in hot, humid climes than conventional cotton. This capacity also allows the treated fibers to take up and retain dyes better and to exhibit richer and more brilliant colors and prints. Clothing made with mercercized fabric is stronger and more durable, and less likely to shrink or lose shape or color after multiple washings.

The treatment process usually demands the use of better quality, long staple cotton such as Egyptian, Sea Island, or Pima greige goods to achieve the best results. The latter is one reason why this is a favorite fabric used to make designer children’s clothes as well as for stylish, upscale clothes for men and women. Both the mercerization process and the quality greige goods employed makes for a much improved product and a better clothing buy and value than clothing made with conventional cotton.

What Does Mercerization Do to Cotton Fiber?

Mercerized cotton is made by briefly immersing pretreated (singed, scoured, bleached, etc.) cotton yarns or cotton fabric in a strong solution of sodium hydroxide under tension and then washing the yarn or fabric clean. This chemical treatment modifies and improves the physiochemical surface and internal structure of cotton fibers.

Mercerization under tension causes cotton fibers to swell irreversibly. This swelling causes the flat and twisted kidney bean-shaped fibers to uncoil and to become permanently cylindrical, straight and nearly circular like a tube. Cotton fiber cross sections can increase by as much as 50%. As the cell walls swell, the exposed surface of the cell wall and the size of pores in the cell wall increase significantly. In addition, the fibrous secondary cell walls and cell contents become more solid, gelatinous and translucent. These physical changes are directly related to the increase in cotton fiber luster, strength, durability, and affinity for moisture and dyes.

Unlike the flat, twisted shape of the conventional cotton fibers, the smooth, rounded cylindrical shape of the swollen cotton fibers (made under tension) are similar to thousands of polished surfaces that receive and reflect light. And with a new gelatinous, translucent interior that prevents absorption of light, the smooth round reflective cotton fibers come to have a lustrous sheen.

When the fibers swell and uncoil during the mercerization process, the formerly twisted fibers become relaxed and smooth. Simultaneously with the swelling, the cell material within the fibers becomes more tightly compacted together. This change strengthens the cotton fiber making it better able to withstand stretching and breaking and makes it more durable and able to keep its shape.

The mercerizing process alters the fiber so that it adsorbs more water on its expanded crystalline cell wall surface and absorbs more water into the spaces within fiber through enlarged pores. With this modification, mercerized fiber absorbs more perspiration and improves wearing comfort. Also, dyes are more easily taken up

making color penetration more lasting and pronounced than in conventional cotton.

Why Buy?

Thanks to John Mercer’s discovery of the basic process more than a century and half ago, we can enjoy this luxurious fabric today that makes cotton clothes more comfortable to wear, better looking, longer lasting, of higher quality and easier to care for than regular cotton garments. Though usually more expensive than ordinary cotton garments, it is a better buy for smart shoppers.

Fashion Design

Do you think fashion designers are so cool? Have you ever dreamed that you will be a fashion designer one day? However, it is not easy to become a fashion designer. Because fashion relates to the aesthetics, psychology, material science, engineering, marketing and so on, so it is a focus of technology and art and it is a complex learning.

What fashion designer design directly is clothing while design indirectly is society and culture. With the development of technology and culture, design methods of human being develop continuously. In the information age, there are greater changes in the way which broadcast culture than before, so the limits of each industry are fading. The imagination of fashion designer had broken the chain and had released freely.

How to see the art of fashion and how to feel and appreciate the language of fashion had been focuses in nowadays. Fashion design should have strong aesthetics standard and value. It asks for not only beautiful and fashionable but also low-key and elegant. So when design clothing, fashion designers should forget who they are and show what they think in their works.

The practicability and the aesthetic function of clothing require designers identify the purpose of design. They should pursue the harmony of human being, clothing and environment according to each element. That is to say we have to think about the three main preconditions. What are they? Let me tell you one by one.

The first precondition is time. In short, different climatic conditions require different design. The forms of clothing, the choices of garment materials, the ways of decoration and even the atmosphere of art are all affected by the time. At the same time, special moments ask for special designs. For instance, graduation ceremonies and wedding ceremonies need specific clothing.

The second precondition is place. We are all in different environments and occasions that we need proper clothing to fit into these places. Fashion design should think about the demand of dressing in each place. What is more, it should think about the demand of etiquette and custom. An evening dress is different from a sport dress. Evening dress is suitable for evening party while sport dress is suitable for sport.

The last precondition is object. People are the center of fashion design so we have to analyze each elements of people before we design.

We have to dress clothes everyday. Now we pay more attention to the beauty and comfort of clothing, so fashion design develops faster and faster.

Fashion and Style

Early Western travelers, traveling whether to Persia, Turkey, India, or China, would frequently remark on the absence of change in fashion in the respective places. The Japanese Shogun’s secretary bragged (not completely accurately) to a Spanish visitor in 1609 that Japanese clothing had not changed in over a thousand years.However, there is considerable evidence in Ming China of rapidly changing fashions in Chinese clothing. Changes in costume often took place at times of economic or social change, as occurred in ancient Rome and the medieval Caliphate, followed by a long period without major changes. In 8th-century Moorish Spain, the musician Ziryab introduced to Córdoba sophisticated clothing-styles based on seasonal and daily fashions from his native Baghdad, modified by his own inspiration.

Similar changes in fashion occurred in the 11th century in the Middle East following the arrival of the Turks, who introduced clothing styles from Central Asia and the Far East. The beginning in Europe of continual and increasingly rapid change in clothing styles can be fairly reliably dated. Historians, including James Laver and Fernand Braudel, date the start of Western fashion in clothing to the middle of the 14th century, though it should be noted that they tend to rely heavily on contemporary imagery and illuminated manuscripts were not common before the fourteenth century. The most dramatic early change in fashion was a sudden drastic shortening and tightening of the male over-garment from calf-length to barely covering the buttocks, sometimes accompanied with stuffing in the chest to make it look bigger. This created the distinctive Western outline of a tailored top worn over leggings or trousers. The pace of change accelerated considerably in the following century, and women and men’s fashion, especially in the dressing and adorning of the hair, became equally complex.

Art historians are therefore able to use fashion with confidence and precision to date images, often to within five years, particularly in the case of images from the 15th century. Initially, changes in fashion led to a fragmentation across the upper classes of Europe of what had previously been a very similar style of dressing and the subsequent development of distinctive national styles. These national styles remained very different until a counter-movement in the 17th to 18th centuries imposed similar styles once again, mostly originating from Ancien Régime France. Though the rich usually led fashion, the increasing affluence of early modern Europe led to the bourgeoisie and even peasants following trends at a distance, but still uncomfortably close for the elites – a factor that Fernand Braudel regards as one of the main motors of changing fashion.