Cheat sheets

Material: blends

Material blends have the objective of associating their properties to obtain a more efficient material. The most frequent blends : cotton/polyester, cotton/elastane and wool / polyamide.

Various processes exist to blend materials:

  • Intimate blend of fibres;

  • Thread assembly blend;

  • Structure composed of different types of thread.


​Recyclability of blends

Materials composed of blends can be difficult to recycle. In effect during recycling preparation, materials are separated and sorted. To ensure good material sorting, the product composition must be easy to read (label). 

Consequently, products composed of lots of materials should be avoided; single-component materials should be preferred.

In addition, the quantity of elastane in a product must not exceed 5% in order to not disrupt recycling ; ideally it should be limited to 2%.

Intimate blend process

An intimate blend consists in mixing fibres prior to the spinning phase (passage from fibre to thread). The different types of fibre clumps are carded (disentangled and aligned in parallel) to form a sliver. The sliver, composed of several materials, is firstly transformed into a ribbon, then a strand and lastly a thread. The blend is characterised as intimate as it occurs at the fibre stage.

Thread assembly blend process

A thread assembly blend consists in combining two threads of different composition to form a single thread. This blend therefore occurs after the spinning stage (passage from fibre to thread.

Threads can be assembled in various ways: plied thread, cabled thread or covered thread.

Plied threads consist in two threads twisted together (1), cabled threads are composed of at least two plied threads re-twisted together (2) and covered threads are composed of a cored yarn around which a covering thread is wound (3).

Blending process in thread structure

To achieve a material blend within the structure of a fabric (1) or knitwear (2) it is necessary to use several threads of different compositions to produce the fabric.


Polycotton is the abbreviation for a polyester/cotton blend. It's the blend which is the most frequently encountered. This blend can be blended as an intimate blend, by thread assembly or within the fabric structure. By combining cotton and polyester, this blend enables a material with numerous properties to be obtained:

Resistance - Crease resistance - Dimensional stability - Absorption capacity - Ease of care - Comfort

It is obviously possible to blend recycled polyester with recycled cotton to reduce the material's environmental impact.

Cotton / elastane

Blends with elastane are also very frequent given that this material provides product elasticity.

To blend cotton and elastane it is necessary to use the covered thread method with the elastane serving as the core thread and the cotton as the covering thread. This enables the elastane to conserve its elasticity.

The cotton / elastane blend is namely used in the jeans industry to give jeans their "stretch" properties. .

Wool / polyamide

The wool / polyamide blend is often used to give resistance to wool and make it easier to care for (reduce felting) whilst conserving its thermal insulation and comfort properties.

This blend is therefore frequently used in coats and pullovers. In addition, numerous brands already propose products in recycled wool and polyamide.

What did you think of the cheat-sheet?

Would you like to give us more details? Click here.

What is Eco design?

Eco design is a platform whose purpose is to provide information and assist textile and footwear brands to rise to the eco-design challenge. This platform is a Refashion initiative (formerly Eco TLC), a public authority-approved eco-organisation for the CHF industry (Clothing, Household linen and Footwear).

Our vision: a 100% circular textile and footwear industry.

Your Cookie Settings

Refashion uses trackers to customise its Site’s content according to your browser in order to enable you to share content on social networks as well as to measure the Site’s audiences and performance. For further information please see our Cookie Policy.

accept all
refuse all
Customise my choices

You may modify your preferences at any time by going to the “Cookie Policy” section at the bottom of the page.

Cookies: customise your choices

When browsing on our site, Cookies are created in your browser. Some of them require your consent. Click on each Cookie category in order to enable or disable their use. In order to benefit from all of our Site’s functionalities it is advised that the different Cookie categories are enabled. Refer to our Cookie Policy.

These Cookies are necessary to ensure that the Site functions in an optimal way. Therefore they are permanently enabled. They include Cookies allowing your site visit to be remembered during the sessions or, of you so wish, from session to session. If you refuse or uninstall these Cookies you will not be able to browse our site.
These Cookies allow us to improve the Site’s user-friendliness through the analysis of visitor use. In some case, these Cookies improve the speed at which requests are processed by allowing us to save your site preferences. Disabling these Cookies can slow the site down and limit the relevancy of recommendations.
Statistical cookies allow visits to be counted anonymously in order to know which pages are the least popular and to see how visitors browse the site without having to create a user account.
Cookies linked to social networks allow you to connect up to social networks and share the Site’s content on the internet. In some cases these cookies require the use of Personal Data. To obtain more information on the processing of your Personal Data please refer to our Confidentiality Policy.