The word polyester is one that we see all the time when buying clothes or choosing fabrics for sewing projects. It is a common synthetic with great properties. But, the term terylene is less well-known. Sewers of a certain age may know Dacron instead. So what is terylene fabric or Dacron, is it better than cotton and polyesters, and where does terycot come into play?
So What Is Terylene Fabric?
Simply put, terylene is a polyester variant that was a big deal in the mid-century and is still used for wet-weather gear, medical supplies, and more. This was the first form of polyester in existence, although the story is that it was made in secret, to begin with. It was discovered in 1941 and later repackaged as Dacron in the US. You can also find terylene fibers in terycot, which is a great choice for those unsure whether to use terylene or cotton in their projects.
What Is The Difference Between Polyester And Terylene?
There is some confusion over whether or not terylene is a polyester or a different material. Terylene is a specific form of polyester, more specifically polyethylene terephthalate. It is created via the extraction and mixing of ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid. When turned into a fiber with dyes and other treatments, it becomes a great synthetic with a lot of potential in different sectors.
What Is Terylene Used For?
There have been many different uses for this material over the last 40 years or so. When it was first created, it was primarily used as a way of making durable, easy-clean lace curtains. Over time, it became more common and seen in a range of clothing items. If you have any vintage items from the 50s, such as shirts, they may be made from terylene. The feel of the material may give it away. It is still used in lighter, crease-resistant clothing and linens. But, there are other alternatives now.
Outside of the world of clothing, you can find this plastic material in types of netting and some medical textiles. The applications depend on the formation of the material. You can get some lighter fabrics and some that are much thicker and tougher. This is why you can also find terylene in hoses.
What Are The Benefits Of Terylene Fabric?
Many sewers and manufacturers like using this material in their products because it is lighter than some alternatives. This means it is a little more comfortable in some applications than a heavier synthetic. At the same time, this material tends to be crease-resistant, making it much easier to care for. This was one of the main selling points in the 1950s when Dacron became popular. The idea was that housewives didn’t need to worry so much about making garments look nice or stay clean. It also helps that the material is cheaper than some alternatives.
In addition to this practical side for shirts and other clothing, there are modern-day applications for wet-weather gear as it dries quickly and is pretty strong. This, and the various colors available, make it ideal for outdoor wear with mass appeal. Furthermore, terylene blends well so can be added to other materials for even better performance.
What Are The Disadvantages Of Terylene Fabrics?
This material isn’t going to be for everyone because it has a rougher texture than something like cotton. Some struggle with the artificial feel, as well as the fact that it is not breathable. Also, be aware that high heat can affect the polymers in terylene. This means that it doesn’t do well in a dryer.
There are also the same environmental implications that you see with many plastic synthetic materials. The great thing about natural materials is that they will biodegrade with time, whereas this will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. There are also issues with the resources needed to create the material.
Is Terylene A Good Replacement For Cotton?
There are some that wonder if it might be better to use terylene in garments and sewing projects as an alternative to cotton. Cotton has a lot of benefits in terms of its weight and feel. But, the benefits mentioned above suggest that maybe terylene is a better choice in some situations. Still, there are those disadvantages too where cotton is more appealing. Some items of clothing won’t be as pleasant to wear if you use this tougher synthetic instead. But, the durability and care instructions for terylene could make it a better choice in some situations. It is important to consider what you need the fabric to do. Is it more important to have something that resists water and doesn’t crease or something breathable and nice on the skin?
What Is Terycot?
There is an alternative material out there for those that want to use cotton but like the idea of terylene fabric as well. As mentioned above, one of the benefits of terylene is its ability to blend with other fibers for a more practical solution. You can get a combination of terylene and cotton, with the rather obvious name of terycot.
There are advantages to choosing this material instead of a straightforward terylene material. Adding this synthetic fiber to the cotton makes it stronger and more durable. This can lead to some great practical implications for household fabrics. But, at the same time, you get the softer natural feel of cotton. this could improve the comfort levels of these materials so that they feel better against the skin. Additionally, terycot should require less ironing and be more shrink resistant than pure cotton. Again, this can add to the practical nature of the material for those that don’t want to waste time on chores.
Should You Use Terylene Fabric?
There are pros and cons to terylene fabric. If you want something strong, water-resistant, and unlikely to crease, you can’t go too wrong. But, it lacks the comfort of something like cotton. Terycot could be a good alternative. Get a feel for each material and see which works best for you.
I’m a stay at home mom with our two kids. I really enjoy doing crafts with my kids however, that is typically a challenge with how limited their attention span can be and how messy it gets. So, I’m always looking for ways to make crafting an enjoyable experience and fond memory for all of us.