Odile, Cotton, Lycra, and Modal
Assuming you are not allowed to look at the shirt collar tag, chances are good that you still can guess the material of the clothing just right. In most cases, people will simply guess that the material is cotton; they are correct, or at least partly correct. A more educated guess would be cotton blend, without mentioning specifically what the blend material is. Most shirts today are made of either 100% cotton or a blend of cotton and another material or two. While pure cotton is preferable for comfort, blending it with another fiber can make it more eye-catching, breathable, and durable. Take a blend of Odile Cotton and Lycra for example; a shirt made of this combination gives you pretty much all the comfortable characteristics of pure cotton added with the durability or elasticity of a spandex.
Cotton and Odile
Before we dive down into details of Odile, it is best to take a glance of what combed cotton is. Compared to conventional cotton, combed cotton requires more complex process and therefore it is softer and slightly more expensive. The soft characteristic makes it ideal as material for clothing and bed linens, both of which are always against the skin.
The initial process of making combed cotton is basically similar to that of conventional cotton. Raw material is harvested and cleaned; dirt and seeds must be removed before the cotton is carded. During the carding process, fibers are separated and lined up (albeit roughly) so all of them lie in the same direction. The next step involves dividing the cotton into slivers which then are spun into thread. The process ends here with conventional cotton; with combed cotton, however, the threads are combed with fine brushes to remove approximately 15% of the materials including short fibers and other impurities. The end results are even and aligned straight fibers. Slivers of combed cotton are once again spun into thread.
You can consider combed cotton the much softer version of cotton. Odile Cotton is even better than because it uses high-grade fiber blended with combed cotton; the blend is then specifically treated to give it cold feeling. All materials used are organic to bring out natural softness and comfort characteristics of cotton. Although Odile is easy to roll in the production process, it takes experienced workers to make proper sewing or stitching. Done properly, Odile is more breathable and flexible than ordinary cotton fabric. Unique blending and manufacturing process makes Odile not only smooth but also shrinkage resistant and wrinkle resistant without sacrificing the advantage of pure cotton.
Unlike Odile Cotton which is made of organic materials, Lycra is chemical-based fabric. Lycra is also commonly referred to as Spandex or Elastane. Basic component of a spandex is elongated sequence of artificial polymers; as a matter of fact, about 85% of it is polyurethane fragments. Segments of spandex are composed of poly tetramethylene ether glycol (simply known as PTMEG).
Known for its exceptional elasticity, this synthetic fabric is more durable and stronger than natural rubber. It was invented in 1958 and introduced to the world in 1962. As it entered the market, it also revolutionized the clothing industry in many areas.
By elastic, it means the synthetic fabric has the ability to stretch and go back to its original form without destroying its structure; such behavior is also found in rubber. When used as material for clothing, the elastic characteristic gives spandex more suppleness and strength to the end products. The smoothness property also helps it withstand the constant exposure to everyday wear and tear including liquid excretions such as oil and sweat from human body.
When people talk about Lycra, they actually refer to spandex at the same time. Dupont Company registered Lycra as a brand name for spandex. The trademark also helped create the birth of Invista Company.
• Lycra and Spandex are exactly the same; both refer to the same fabric.
• Spandex is the generic term, while Lycra is arguably the most popular brand of the material.
• A lot of companies market their fabrics as Spandex, but only Invista has legal rights to use the term Lycra for commercial purpose.
Lycra has become one of the most popular materials used for cotton blend. It is lightweight, durable, and nearly invisible in clothing. It only takes very small percentage of Lycra to transform clothing into something that gives better-fitting and long-lasting comfort. When mixed with odile cotton, the end result is a superior product in terms of both comfort and durability.
Since Lycra only accounts for small percentage of the fabric, it helps to retain the overall look and feel of other fabrics in the blend. A combination of odile cotton and Lycra is ideal to make shirts for all occasions including casual, formal, active, sports, outdoor, and so on. According to a publication by NPR, about 80% of clothing sold in the United States in 2010 contained spandex. Today it is still prevalent in women’s clothing, but rare in men’s. Typical formula for a blend of odile and Lycra is at 95% and 5% ratio respectively. Companies may try to come up with new formula or ratio to give the best of both worlds.
93.5% Odile & 6.5% Lycra – we use 93.5% Odile & 6.5% Lycra, as we have found that the ratio delivers better resilient, wrinkle resistant, and more comfort. There isn’t quite a lot of Lycra used, but the amount is more than enough to strengthen the structure of the clothing without reducing comfort and beauty.
Cotton is a natural fiber harvested from cotton plant. It is the most heavily used form of natural fiber in the world today, with large base of consumers using it for various applications, including clothing. It is probably safe to say that everyone in the world uses some sorts of clothing made of cotton fabrics. However, pure cotton (while providing superior comfort and breathability) has tendency to easily wrinkle just like many other natural fibers. When used as material for clothing, such disadvantage outweighs the benefit. To add texture, improve durability, shrink-resistance, wrinkle-resistance, and beautify the end product, cotton must be blended with another material. Modal is often the fabric of choice for the purpose.
Also commonly referred to as artificial silk, modal is soft and extremely breathable as well as smooth. It is considered bio-based – rather than natural – due to chemical treatments in the manufacturing process. Raw material of modal is the cellulose of beechwood only; it is rayon, but unlike other rayons which are typically made of the pulps harvested from a number of different trees. Modal acts like cotton in terms texture and fluid-absorbency; in addition to those, modal is shrink-resistant and less likely to fade its colors over time. A blend of cotton and modal delivers the sense of all-natural (or at least natural and natural-based) clothing to the wearer. The blend allows for comfortable, cool-to-the-skin, strong, and eye-catching clothing.
60% Cotton & 40% Modal – to give you the best of both worlds, we use a blend of cotton and modal at 60:40 ratio. Such small difference between the two fabrics allows them to bring out their best characteristics without undermining known sought-after properties from each.