Not Your Father’s Leisure Suit: Oh How Polyester Has Changed
Polyester plastic was discovered in a DuPont lab in 1930’s by scientist W.H. Caruthers. Based on Caruther’s findings, many variations of polyester were created such as Terylene, Dacon, and Kodel. Polyester fabrics were made by melting the resin then forcing it through spinnerets – a spinneret is similar to a spider’s silk spinning organs.
These fibers are pulled to five times their length creating very thin strings of polyester no thicker than a single human hair unlike the double knit thick fibers used to make the 1970’s leisure suit.
Today poly manufacturing plants have become as guarded as Willy Wonka’s candy factory. Polyester fabric manufacturers have developed their own recipe secrets as to how they manipulate the resin formulas. They each have created their own spinnerets to control the shape and feel of the fibers. Some stretch the fibers beyond the typical five times. And with the creation of microfiber- the finest poly fibers pulled to 1/100 the diameter of human hair, poly fabrics can be extremely light and soft!
In fact poly fabrics of today are strong, resistant to shrinking and permanent stretching. They are easy to clean, quick drying, wrinkle resistant and anti-microbial. poly fabrics provide protection from the sun. Many include additives that can provide sheen in varying degrees, improve colorfastness and fabric drape. Some have the feel of silk while others feel like cotton. When loosely woven poly fabrics are compared to cotton, people touching them cannot tell them apart. All wonderful properties for clothing especially performance wear.
You will find the use of the new poly fabrics from high fashion haute couture to high endurance performance wear and everything in between. So say goodbye to the disco era double knit leisure suit and hello to the poly of today.