The cotton used for our shirts
Usually the cotton is mixed with polyester, polyamide or viscose and modal fibers. The blends with synthetic fibers increases the creases resistance and the resisteance of the cotton.
Mixing it with viscose and modal fibers, gloss and uniformity is obtained, while maintaining good moisture absorbency.
There are three main types of fibres:
NATURAL FIBERS: They are found in nature : plant fibers (cotton, linen, jute, hemp, etc...), animal fibres (wool, silk) and mineral fibers (asbestos).
MAN MADE FIBERS (early production 1885): These fibres are based on elements that are commonly found in nature. They are divided into protein fibers, those made from corn and casein (Merinova), cellulose fibers based on cellulose (rayon) and mineral-based fibres such as glass (Verroni).
SYNTHETIC FIBRES (production start around 50 years ago): These fibres are produced with help of elements that are found in nature by using a form of chemical processing. Exaples are Orlon, Movil, Terital and Nylon.
The finest cotton
The cotton fiber is a long, thin, shiny and soft to the touch material, which is derived from the thick hair that surrounds the seeds of a plant belonging to the family Malvaceae. This plant comes from tropical countries.
The cotton plant can be annual or perennial. Can have a grass form (the height of which varies from 50 to 150 cm) or look like trees (that develops between the 2 or 5 meters). The most common species are annual crop in the grass form.
The cotton used for making shirts must belong to the long fiber cottons type (< 1 inch and 1/4) or extra long (< 1 and 3/8 inch): long and extra long staple.
Only a small percentage of the cotton grown in the world has these caracteristics. The main sources are Egypt, Sudan, Israel, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, some areas of India and China, Peru, Australia.
Among the finest cottons there is the Egyptian one, grown along the Nile and in the Delta area. The best quality, long fiber, are the Giza 45, of limited production, used to produce the finer fabrics with weight 200/1, and Giza 70. Good Egyptian cottons are also the Giza 85 and Giza 86.
The Egyptian cotton can be polluted by foreign fibers; therefore for white fabrics or very thin ones Suprima American cotton is increasingly used, coming from some areas of Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas (about 3% of all cotton production in the United States).
Particular mention should be reserved for Sea Island Cotton, the cotton with the longest fiber in the world (52 mm or more), grown in small amounts (70-80 tons per year) in Barbados and some other Caribbean islands.
The Sea Island Cotton is considered the most valuable (and expensive) cotton in the world.
Depending on the provenience of cotton there are considerable differences in color: the cotton varies from nearly white (American varieties) to yellowish (Egyptian varieties) to the reddish-brown (Chinese varieties).