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How does a towel work?

1. A towel's construction is made up of loops within the weave. These loops in the surface of the fabric absorb moisture. The number of loops determines the drying ability. The greater the loop number, the higher the absorbency.
2. Drying ability is also measured by a towel's thickness. Towels constructed with loops of thick yarns are more absorbent. How the loop is twisted also affects absorbency. "Zero twist" towels makes for a soft hand and unique feel. "Soft twist" gives the towel softness and hand of a "zero twist," but gives the towel more durability than a "zero twist."


What makes a color?

Towels can be piece dyed or yarn dyed

1. Yarn dyed is usually used for striped or patterned towels where each yarn is dyed separately before it is put on the loom.
2. Piece dyeing follows the weaving of the goods and provides a single color for the entire fabric.


What determines quality and price?

The weight, size and type of cotton affect both the quality and price of a towel. Fiber content determines the price and value depending on the grade of cotton used. The hand (feel) of the towel is important because the softer and thicker it is, the higher perceived value to the consumer.


Cotton Overview

Does cotton matter in a towel?

1. High grade cotton fibers have extra long staple lengths which result in towels that offer maximum absorbency, durability and soft hand.
2. Staple length is an important feature because the longer the fiber, the finer the yarns may be spun and the softer the material produced.
3. Cotton is grown to specifically produce different types of grades of fibers.


What are all the different types of cotton?
  • America Cotton: standard fiber grown in USA; 1-1/8 inches in length and used to produce 100% combed cotton towels
  • Egyptian Cotton: high grade cotton; 1-1/8 to 1-1/2 inches in length. Grown exclusively in the Nile River Valley in Egypt.
  • Micro Cotton: Extra long staple length cotton. The cotton yarns are woven with PVA yarns to withstand the stress and strain of weaving and strengthen the zero twist yarns. Produces zero twist with better durability and less lint. A zero twist towel is loftier and more absorbent.
  • Pima Cotton: Name originated from the native Pima Indian of Arizona, where the fiber was first grown. Long staple cotton averaging 1-3/8 to 1-5/8 in length.
  • Supima Cotton: Scientifically developed and grown in the southwest by certified member of the Supima Association of America. Supima stands for Superior Pima. Produces very soft towel using the 1-3/8 extra long fibers uniform in length.


Alternative fabrications
  • Bamboo: A fiber made from bamboo pulp. It is extremely soft, absorbs water well and takes color well. Usually mixed with cotton
  • Soy: Soft, smooth, supple fiber. Reflects light similar to silk. Soy has the same moisture absorption as cotton but with better moisture transmission. Stronger tensile strength than wool. Soy is advantageous to skin tone & texture, and has anti-bacterial, antioxidant, and moisturizing properties.
  • Silk: Natural protein fiber. Lightweight, absorbent and extremely soft to touch. Naturally hypoallergenic and absorbs moisture.


What are the types of woven cottons
  • Carded Towels: The most inexpensive level of processing cotton. Includes many short staple uneven fibers and impurities, which when woven into towels creates a coarse, rough feeling. The towels have a dull, fuzzy appearance.
  • Combed Towels: Cotton that has had the short fibers and impurities removed from it by a combing machine. The machine combs the cotton and leaves a uniform, long length pure fiber. This makes for a very high quality towel.


Towel borders

Dobby: Most common border treatment. A border woven by a special loom attachment during the weaving process. It is a simple narrow pattern usually woven about two inches or more from the top and bottom edge of the towel.

Self Fringed: A border created when the yarn is cut form the loom and then stitched above the border to keep from fraying. Most commonly found on hand and finger tip towels.

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