Faux fur is a type of synthetic fiber that looks like real fur. Synthetic furs are usually blended together to look similar to natural fur and they can come in different colors and patterns.
The term “faux” refers to the fact that the material is not actually made out of fur. Instead, manufacturers use a mix of plastic and wool to make the imitation.
How It’s Made
A variety of raw materials and processes are used to produce faux fur fabric. These include wool, mohair, cashmere, silk, nylon, acrylic and polyester fibers.
Each type of fiber offers different characteristics and uses. For example, synthetic fibers offer more durability and strength while natural fibers like wool provide softness and warmth.
Other factors affecting the final product include dyeing methods, finishing treatments, and the use of adhesives.
Faux fur fabric is produced by compressing acrylic polymer fibers into a textile form. Polymer fibers are obtained by heating raw material such as petrochemicals and natural products.
Synthetic fibers are manufactured by mixing different types of polymers and adding additives to improve the properties of the final product.
Acrylic polymers are manufactured by reacting acrylonitrile with other monomers to produce long chain molecules called macromolecules.
Different monomers react differently with each other during the manufacturing process. This produces a variety of acrylic polymers with varying physical properties.
Natural materials are obtained from plants, animals, minerals, and other sources.
Coal, petroleum, limestone, water, and many other substances are commonly used to manufacture acrylic polymers.
Some manufacturers use natural materials because they are environmentally friendly; others do it to save money.
Secondary monomers are added to acrylic polymers to improve the absorption of dyes. They are usually derived from vegetable oils, fatty acids, or petroleum derivatives.
Modacrylic polymers combine the benefits of acrylic and modacrylic polymers. They are often used in clothing because they are easy to dye.
However, they lack the strength of acrylic polymers. In addition, they tend to wear out faster than acrylic polymers.
Animal dyes are pigments extracted from insects, reptiles, fish, birds, amphibians, and mammals.
There are over 2,500 species of animals worldwide. Many of these creatures contain melanin, which gives them color.
Melanins are found in hair, feathers, skin, and scales. Animals are killed to extract the pigment. Once dead, they must be preserved.
As we’ve seen, a variety of different synthetic materials are used to make faux furs.
They include polyester, acrylic/polyurethane, nylon, rayon, acetate, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
Each type of fabric offers specific benefits and disadvantages. For example, PET is inexpensive, durable, and easy to dye; however, it does not feel like real fur.
Rayon feels soft and luxurious, but tends to pill easily. Acrylic/polyurethane is strong and resilient, but doesn’t hold up well to washing. Nylon feels similar to wool, but is much lighter and cheaper.
The conversion process varies depending on what type of fiber you want to make into a fake fur fabric.
Manufacturers usually start off with raw materials such as cotton, wool, man-made fibers, recycled plastic bottles, and other natural resources.
Then, they go through a number of steps to transform those raw materials into finished goods.
These include chemical treatments, dyeing processes, weaving, knitting, braiding, cutting, sewing, dying, finishing, drying, and packaging.
Faux fur is one of the most popular materials used in clothing. However, as we’ve seen its production requires multiple steps.
As well as cutting and sewing it also needs dying, tigging, electrofying, coating, finishing, printing and packaging.
Each step affects the quality of the final product. In fact, some faux furs undergo 20 different processes just to produce a single piece of clothing.
The treatment of faux fur fabrics begins with cutting the material into pieces. Cutting involves separating the material into individual strands, which are later sewn together.
During this process, the raw material must remain stable and maintain its shape. Otherwise, the fabric might break during the subsequent stages.
Next, the fabric is dyed. Dyeing helps color the material and makes it easier to see the outline of the cut pattern.
There are many types of dyes, including acid dyes, mordants, disperse dyes, reactive dyes, and reactive pigments.
Acid dyes are commonly used because they work well on wool and silk.
Mordant dyes are often used in synthetic materials such as nylon and polyester. Disperse dyes are usually preferred for acrylics and natural fibers.
Reactive dyes are suitable for both natural and synthetic materials. Finally, reactive pigments are used in leather products.
They are typically mixed with a solvent to help penetrate the surface of the leather. Pigment colors range from light tan to dark brown.
After the fabric is dyed, it is tigged. Tigging removes loose fibers and stabilizes the edges of the fabric. This ensures that the fabric does not unravel.
A tigger consists of a rotating cylinder covered with thousands of tiny teeth. As the cylinder moves over the fabric, the teeth pierce the fiber bundles and pull out the loose fibers.
Electrofying is the next step. This process uses heat and electricity to strengthen the fabric. When applied correctly, electrofying prevents the fabric from stretching and shrinking while maintaining its original shape.
To ensure uniformity, the fabric is combed. Combing smooths out the irregularities and creates a consistent texture.
Manufacturers use either metal combs or plastic combs. Metal combs consist of rows of sharp teeth that are attached to a steel rod.
Plastic combs are composed of hundreds of small needles that are attached to a plastic bar.
Finally, the fabric is coated. Coating adds additional strength and durability to the fabric. Some coatings contain latex, resin, vinyl acetate or silicone. Others are water based.
Faux fur is an extremely versatile material. It can be found in everything from coats to pillows. The versatility of faux fur allows manufacturers to create unique designs and patterns.
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