Tuesday, May 1, 2012

All About Fabrics Series: Arcylic

Acrylic fabric that I have in my stash.


Introduced in 1950 as a wool substitute. Today it can mimic cotton or wool in appearance and feel.
First made by Dupont.
It can be knit or woven
It holds dye really well
It is resistant to fading.
It is an excellent choice for outdoor fabrics.
It is flammable.
Resistant to household bleaching agents.
Excellent choice for plush fabrics

It is wrinkle and stain resistant

It is warm and soft fabric

It does pill (see laundering tips below)
Acrylic fabric is strong and durable but not as durable as polyester.

There is a chemical applied that can reduce piling. Look for acrylic labeled "Pil-tec".

It is an alternative to those with sensitivities to wool

Acrylic socks hold their elasticity and shape. (Many organized sports teams require them for this reason).

Hikers prefer acrylic socks because they do not produce the blisters common with cotton-blend socks.

Acrylic initially was thought to be a cheap fabric and many complained of its itchiness. Today, new manufacturing methods have all but eliminated the itchiness.

Dry clean or use cold water to reduce piling.

Use a gentle laundry detergent. (If you want to make your own, here's a recipe)
Some acrylics can shrink up to 10 %. Other acrylics do not shrink.
Acrylic fleece should be washed and allowed to air-dry to prevent piling.
If you must put it in the dryer, put it on "Air-Fluff" or the equivalent setting.
Turn acrylics inside-out for the washer and dryer to prevent piling.
Easily damaged by hot irons, steam, spinning in the washing machine, and hot dryers
Static electricity can build up on acrylic clothing. (Try hairspray if you are already wearing the item. Find other tips here.)
Acrylic can absorb and hold dust, smoke, pet hair and thus require frequent washing
Acrylic can absorb and hold perspiration indefinitely.
This is going to be used for my winter coat next year. It is a wool-acrylic blend.
Sewing Tips:
Acrylic quickly dulls needles, pins and scissors. So replace as needed.
Sewing machine needles recommended are sizes 70/10-80/12 universals, sharps and stretch needles depending on the fabric weight
Synthetics and blended fabrics (blends of natural and synthetic fibers) tend to fray easily. To combat this, you should cut these fabrics with pinking shears and leave a generous seam allowance.
Common complaints are the missed stitches and puckering when sewing with acrylic. Adjust speed and tension (and needles) as necessary.
Stay seams at shoulders to strengthen and minimize stretch on the garment.
Thread recommended is all-purpose polyester, cotton/polyester blend and for top stitching all-purpose, machine embroidery and top stitching thread
Knit acrylics should have a nap layout and woven acrylics should have a single layer layout when matching fabrics
Use any marking tool except wax (wax will stain)
Acrylics hold pleats and tucks very well.


  1. This is a good reference.

  2. Acrylic is something I avoid. I just don't like the feel of it.



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