Wrinkle resistant/non-iron clothing

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What makes clothes wrinkle-resistant/non-iron? Why wouldn’t all clothing be made this way? This seems like a relatively modern thing — why is that?

In: Engineering

It depends on the material. Natural fibers like cotton and linen wrinkle easily, though wool does not. Basically, cotton fibers (for example) have little elasticity – check a shirt or jeans, if you can find some with 100% cotton and see how well they stretch compared to other fabrics. They do have a little, but not much. Cotton more than linen, for example. That is why they don’t bounce back as easily to their original shape – winkle free.

Most microfibers (like polyester) are the opposite – like sports clothing. It doesn’t wrinkle, and has a “memory” of it’s original shape; as it’s really stretchy, it can bounce back to the memory position of the fibers – unwrinkled.

That’s why it seems “modern” – we haven’t been able to produce microfibers for all that long.

Edit: Not all cloths are made that way because natural fibers have other benefits (e.g lack of smell development for cotton, lightness of the fabric for hot climates for linen) and many people feel more comfortable with them than with synthetic fibers.