Modal Fabric Defined
There are lots of fabrics and materials available so you can easily pick the right one. Modal fabric is a common and popular semi-synthetic material. It’s made of cellulose fibers that have been mixed with cotton, wool, silk or spandex to add more features to the fabric.
These cellulose fibers are usually obtained from the beech tree. Modal is considered a rayon fabric, like lots of materials that are made using the pulp of any tree. It’s not a natural-based fabric although the fibers are obtained from trees because they’re heavily processed and treated using different chemicals to change their features and make them suitable for tailoring various clothing apparel. As a result, it’s safe to consider modal as bio-based material.
Modal fabric is an affordable material that can be used to make loungewear as well as comfortable outfits for everyday use. You can find several versions of modal material used in tops, dresses, skirts, as well as pajamas, and undergarments. This material was first developed in Japan but is currently produced by several companies all over the world.
Why is Modal Fabric so Popular?
There’s a lot to like about modal fabric. First of all, it’s not as expensive as cotton, silk, and other natural materials. The fabric is stretchy and very comfortable to wear so it’s a good choice for activewear that fits well and allows your body to move freely. Here are some benefits of using modal fabric to make your outfits.
- It’s breathable. When you work out or spend time at home, you want to wear a breathable material that allows for good airflow so you don’t feel hot.
- Modal fabric is very smooth. Some people think that it has the same texture of silk, although it’s available at a fraction of the price.
- This fabric drapes well and has lots of movement. It can be used instead of silk to make more affordable clothing apparel.
- The lustrous finish of modal makes it a popular choice for dresses and skirts. It resembles the look of silk or satin but is more affordable.
- This material absorbs colors and dyes fast. This is a big plus for manufacturers who want to produce high-quality pieces. Moreover, the colors are always bright and rich. The dye doesn’t bleed even you wash it in warm water.
- It feels cool to touch. It’s a great choice for summer clothes.
Does Modal Fabric Shrink?
Compared to cotton, modal is subject to 50% less shrinkage than cotton and wool. This is why modal is often mixed with cotton to make comfortable undergarments because cotton pieces are hard to maintain.
Undies made of cotton will shrink a size or two after washing them in the washing machine so they will become uncomfortable to wear. Modal resists uneven shrinking which can mess up with the shape of your piece and change its fit.
Modal fabric holds its shape well. It doesn’t rip easily and looks good after repeated use. It’s one of the most popular materials to use in pieces that can be worn every day.
It’s recommended to care for modal pieces the same way you would do with cotton. Wash it in cold or warm water and tumble dry. Using bleach can affect the durability of the fabric as it messes up with the fibers.
How Does Modal Fabric Affect the Environment?
Fashion designers, as well as buyers, are currently concerned with the effect of different materials on the environment. Some fabrics are produced using dangerous chemicals and will have a negative impact on the environment. So how safe is modal? This question arises whenever a synthetic fabric is used to make a clothing item.
Modal is made of pulp, but this pulp is heavily treated and processed using chemicals that change the characteristics of the wood fibers to change it into the woven or knit fabric. Nevertheless, the most popular manufacturer of modal fabric, Lenzing Modal, states their fabric has a neutral carbon footprint. This means that it has a better impact on the environment than cotton fabric for example.
To make modal fabric, fewer trees and less land per ton are needed than what companies use to make cotton fabric. The chemicals used to treat the fibers aren’t toxic; otherwise, they would harm the person wearing a piece made of modal. Although this is not a 100% natural fabric, it’s environmentally friendly.
Taking Care of your Modal Clothes
Although you might not know it, you already probably own several pieces made of modal fabric. This is why you should understand how to care for it and wash it so your clothing items look and feel good after several washes.
- Always read the label before washing any clothing item. The manufacturer usually recommends the best cleaning method so your piece looks and feels good.
- If your clothing item is made of modal fabric that hasn’t been mixed with any other fabric, then you should treat it the same way you would treat cotton.
- Modal fabric can be washed at any temperature. But if it’s mixed with cotton or spandex, for example, you should avoid very high temperatures that can damage the fibers of the material.
- Dealing with stains can be a bit tricky because it’s not recommended to use chlorine to clean the fabric. You can dilute the bleach to tackle tough stains.
- Use oxygen-based bleaching solutions instead of chlorine-based ones. These will be gentler and will not affect the quality of your fabric.
- You can let the modal fabric air dry. But if you decide to use the dryer, you should set it to low or medium temperature. Using high temperatures will damage your clothing item.
- Knit fabrics shouldn’t be ironed. You can iron woven modal fabrics where the fibers are mixed with silk or wool. Don’t use very high temperatures that can burn the material. Use a pressing cloth to prevent burning of the fabric. Always iron on the interior side of the fabric.
Modal fibers are blended with other natural and synthetic fibers to give fashion designers and consumers several options to choose from. This fabric comes in all patterns and colors so you can find it in clothing items that you’ll likely to wear every day. Follow the right technique while taking care of your clothing item to make sure that it will last for long.