Elastane is one of those artificial man-made materials that have become an irreplaceable part of our busy lives! And since mostly it is used in all sorts of clothing, the most curious folks began wondering how else this fabric could be utilized.
Are you interested as well? Then read till the end.
Let’s Recall What It Actually Is
Before we proceed to the existing and potential ways of use of this undoubtedly handy material, we suggest you recall what sort of fabric it is in fact.
So, as all of you probably know, elastane is a chemical fiber that is manufactured from two components with the unpronounceable names polyurethane and polyethylene glycol. The first one is plastic or synthetic resin, and the second one belongs to liquid chemical substances. So yep, the manufacturing process of this stuff is pretty much like some sort of alchemy!
This material has been on the market for quite a while by now, since 1959, and people liked it that much mostly because of its incredible elastic qualities (that is also why the fiber got that elastane name, as you could already guess). Just imagine that the overall elongation of this fabric is equal to seven hundred percent!
Except for this quality, the elastane has a few more very beneficial traits:
- it is very lightweight
- it has low moisture absorption
- it possesses a high tear length
- it is smooth to the touch (which is important when you are wearing something during active physical exercising, for instance!)
- Finally, this material is very easy to handle and take care of. It dries fast and needs no complicated or specific laundering treatment.
Besides, the fabric is very stretchable and keeps the shape well which has always made it desirable stuff in a wardrobe. Years ago, when women were still wearing gloves, there was a material known as lycra that was used for sewing gloves for dance parties. Well, that lycra was just another name of elastane! It was able to sit on the arm tightly and retained its shape no matter how you moved.
How Do We Make Use Of It Today?
Well, it is all clear about how elastane was utilized in the past century, but what about current times? How is this material used by us?
In fact, nothing changed that much. We still make use of it by adding this fiber to all sorts of fabrics, besides, quite a significant amount of clothing we wear daily are made completely of this elastic stuff.
However, several groups of garments exist that elastane is used for most often:
- cycling costumes
As you could have noticed, all of them need a fabric that adapts to the body of the person who wears it very well. And since it is the leading “superpower” of elastane, the choice of this fiber was obvious.
Where Else Can Elastane Be Used?
Apparently, most of us assume that such elastic stuff can only be applied in clothing. And to a certain point, those are right. Because of its stretching abilities and other characteristics, elastane is hard to imagine elsewhere but in the sportswear or underwear industry! Indeed, can you imagine a pillowcase made of this fiber?!
However, since it is often added to other, natural materials to strengthen them and make those more durable, the possible area of its use widens somewhat. How else can this fiber be utilized, you may wonder?
- This stretching material with a glossy look can become pure gold for making carnival costumes or other stage/performance clothing. The fabric is elastic, can be produced in bright catchy colors, and will ideally match any figure (just make sure the length of the sleeve is fitting your arm). So if you will ever need a dress or a party costume, consider elastane as one of the material options. Nevertheless, remember that it does not possess those good absorbing qualities which means it is easy to sweat in an elastane garment!
- You might be surprised, but elastane is an irreplaceable component in knitted swimwear! Yes, those nice and lace-looking swimming suits that we see on ladies on the Internet include this stretchy fiber which is natural since, without it, they will not be able to hold on to the body of the person that wears it.
- Also, if you are making clothing yourself, add this fiber to the garments that you need to be stretchy. Sweaters or dresses, it doesn’t matter, elastane can be blended even with the woolen yarn.
As you can see, this stuff does have several unexpected areas of use that some of us might not even know about! However, such material is better not to be used for bedding, pillowcases, blankets, plaids, and other items that we use daily.
First of all, as we already mentioned, the material does not absorb moisture well which means if you sweat under such a cover, the moisture will remain on your skin. After a while, especially when being used constantly, it may result in certain skin issues.
With the elastane item on, our skin can’t breathe properly. It means that frequent use of this material will cause more intense sweating, which then will lead to…well, see the paragraph above.
Nevertheless, if you are fond of handiwork, feel free to incorporate elastane into the stuff you create to make the final apparel stronger and enhance its durability. Even the minor presence of this fiber will significantly prolong the lifespan of an item.
And please take into consideration one more thing: of course, using artificial fibers has become an indispensable part of the modern reality. Nevertheless, elastane is chemical stuff which means it does have a certain bad influence on our skin if worn improperly! So avoid wearing it pure and make sure you don’t have it on all the time to exclude any skin issues like allergy or dermatitis.