NATURAL FIBERS

Cotton
Advantages. Stable and durable; myriad weights, textures, and patterns.
Disadvantages. Fades and rots in direct sun; mildews; shrinks with washing; burns unless treated.

Linen
Advantages. Strong and durable; resists sun rot.
Disadvantages. Fades in direct sun; wrinkles unless blended with a more stable fiber, such as cotton or polyester; can stretch or shrink in humid climates unless blended with a nonabsorbent synthetic fiber, most commonly polyester; burns unless treated.

Silk
Advantages. Long-lasting if lined and kept out of direct sun; versatile (can be made into fabrics as different as chiffon and velvet).
Disadvantages. Fades and rots in direct sun; wrinkles; mildews; shrinks with washing or in humid climates; picks up static electricity; burns unless treated.

Wool
Advantages. Durable; more stable if blended with a synthetic fiber.
Disadvantages. Fades and rots in direct sun; reacts to humidity and temperature changes; picks up static electricity; burns unless treated.

SYNTHETIC FIBERS

Acetate
Advantages. Stable; colorfast when solution-dyed; resists sun rot; melts rather than burns.
Disadvantages. Wrinkles; picks up static electricity.

Nylon
Advantages. Stable and durable; washable; wrinkleproof; melts rather than burns.
Disadvantages. Fades and rots in direct sun; picks up static electricity; has a synthetic appearance unless blended with other fibers.

Polyester
Advantages. Stable and durable; colorfast and resistant to sun rot; washable; wrinkleproof; often made into fabrics that look like silk; blends well with other fibers.
Disadvantages. Picks up static electricity.

Rayon
Advantages. Drapes well; dyes well, making it available in beautiful, sophisticated colors; blends well with other fibers.
Disadvantages. Rots in direct sun; mildews; shrinks when washed; wrinkles unless blended with a more stable fabric; burns unless treated.

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