Cotton vs. Polyester…

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

There seem to be two kinds in this world…polyester people and cotton people!

(A field of cotton in Iceland)

Before you think I’m looney…what i’m saying is true. Some sisters think the best style of garments are those made in cotton or other natural materials and tend to give the following reasons for their preference…its a natural material, biodegradable, breathable, airy and well…natural.  The sisters who prefer polyester garments tend to state its because they are relatively indestructible (which could be a good or bad thing, dept how you look at it!), resist fading and shrinkage and all-in-all are more durable.

(Shukr jilbabs...oh how I adore them, yet loath the inevitable color fading!)

So which are you? I am definitely a polyester person! While I love some natural fabrics…namely linen, others drive me bonkers because no matter how they are cared for the inevitable fading of colors and wearing out occurs! As I write this I have several cotton and linen items from Shukr in a brown dye bath to re-dye them BACK to their original rich, deep brown tones! Never mind this is the third time Ive done this on some of them! It gets irksome. Yes, I agree cotton materials do absorb perspiration and tend to be more summer/spring appropriate, to me, the inevitable fading just doesn’t make them worthwhile to me! Don’t get me wrong, I love Shukr products and from what I hear has some fierce linen abayaat…but i dunno…give me durability any day!

I prefer garments made from less than natural materials simply for their durability! Thats not saying I agree with a heavy weight polyester which makes you a walking steam bath! I think there are quite a few polyester materials which are just as airy and light and comfortable in any weather as cotton or linen…such as a high quality saloona or internet (not the cheapo  junk! but the real, high quality stuff!) all of which are airy and light as a feather and let the air through. They also have added benefit of…yes i said it again, durability and color fastness and even comfort! Of course, thats my rather biased opinion.

What do you all think?


8 thoughts on “Cotton vs. Polyester…

  1. Assalam alykum. It is a interesting view:))
    Indeed polyesters are durable and have many other merits.
    Personally I do love cottons, first of all because of i like the texture feelings.
    Cotton can be used in inner wear to coats.. versatile:) and easy to wash.
    It seems that vinegar and salt can prevent fading out of clothes dye.

  2. I am a cotton lover 🙂 How fabric feels and wears is a huge factor for me. Actually I ordered the jilbab pictured above from shukr and ended up sending it back because of how the fabric felt with the polyester blend. I am a huge fan of SHUKR actually and I love their all cotton jersey they’ve carried in the past (and own many pieces, unfortunately most of them don’t fit now). I decided to try this one because all their jersey options are now the blend and it said this one had the polyester sandwiched between the cotton so it didn’t touch the skin. Sadly, it wasn’t enough for me and I really didn’t like the fabric. I’m not saying I only wear natural fibers of everything (it’s hard to do, plus with some outer garments there are synthetics that breathe and drape very nicely) but if it’s something against my skin especially, I prefer cotton, with no polyester or stretch mixed in. The stretch quality of it I especially don’t like (100% cotton jersey already has some give, without being clingy) and polyester mixes end up pilling and make me sweat (and over time resist smelling “fresh” again if they do get sweaty), while all cotton just gets softer and more comfy with time and allows my skin to breathe. I have the same problem finding jeans, actually, I haven’t been able to buy 100% cotton denim jeans off the rack in a style I can wear for years. It seems women’s jeans all include stretch now (and men’s don’t fit right, though they’re still made with real denim). I really dislike the way the ones that aren’t all cotton wear and fit. I actually had some all cotton ones custom-made a couple of years ago online :P. I hope the stretchy women’s clothes fad end soon…it’s even getting harder to find blouses without stretch thrown in. I will say though, I don’t mind the faded effect you get with some cotton fabrics over time that you mentioned. I guess it depends on the piece and the dye but I have certainly have had cotton clothing that faded, it just doesn’t really bother me (kind of looks broken in I guess 🙂 it might bother me if it was a formal item perhaps).

  3. As salaamu alaykum

    You would pick the very jilbab I’m drooling over;-). I’m a fan of natural fabric, although I will admit that polyester has it advantages (wrinkle free). When I was a broke lass living on a very modest income, my mum would have jilbabs made for me by a local tailor/seamstress in cotton or linen blend and send them my way. It saved me!!! This was wayyy before any reliable “modern” jilbab sites were available. I need not go into talking about the crazy polyester designs that were popular then (heavy peachskin with big shoulder pads or super wide bell sleeves not appropriate for professional attire).

    So back to the color loss, I tend to wash most of my cotton garments in cold water and that has helped. A sister that I know dry cleans hers and/or uses the dryel stuff. Maybe the dryel stuff might works.

    Back to the Shukr jilbab, my eyes actually perked up when I read that it had “polyester” between the fabric, because I’m hoping it will have a more fleece-like (i.e. warm) effect. I’m also drooling over the Hiba jilbab (half zip) but the dang drawstring sleeves just kills me. (Pardon my rant) I have permanently parked my jilbabs with drawstring sleeves to the side. It is the most aggravating thing seriously! …thanks for indulging my mini-rant

  4. I like both; though it isn’t really possible to make overhead abayaat that don’t stick to you like glue or crease and warp out of shape while wearing, from cotton or other natural fibres; and that is what I wear mostly so I have to use the fabrics that do work which tend to be polyester. I tried a pure merino wool lightweight-suit fabric overhead once and it looked nice; but the wool just felt incredibly jarring next to my skin and it was hot to wear despite this type of wool being breathable. Also I once went to Sudan and the pure cotton garments I brought with me felt so hot to the touch they were just unwearable-but the poly/rayon blend stuff I brought was cool and comfortable so that was all I could wear. Some of the new types of polyester Japanese and Korean made fabrics are incredibly breathable, comfortable and lightweight and they don’t even have the usual qualities (or flaws) of synthetics-i.e. they can be ironed on the highest heat without scorching or melting the fibres in any way. You do get some polyester fabrics that are just naff; such as most peachskins, thick shiny crepes and almost anything that is poly-cotton blend but you get some wonderful ones as well.

    • ahh you’ve echoed a few of my strongly held frustrations with synthetics:: the shininess (I prob didn’t spell that right), ironing issues, etc.

      Re the merino wool overhead. I bought a merino dress from a major retailer a while back and used that as an overgarment. It was the BEST thing since sliced bread in the cold winter. It was lined inside so it made it really easy to wear. I still have it and have patched the inevitable moth holes b/c I can’t bear to part with it. I love it so much.

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