So you want to know "What is Tencel"? Tencel is a trademarked brand of fabric made from environmentally friendly wood products. It can be found in the products of prominent designers and manufacturers in both the clothing and home furnishing industries. Tencel is considered a fiber with lower environmental impacts making it a popular modern fabric.
What is Tencel?
Tencel is the brand name of a fiber created with wood pulp. The name is owned by an Austrian company called Lenzing AG. The generic name of this fiber is called lyocell.
What is Tencel? Tencel is a brand name for a fiber called lyocell.
Tencel fibers can be combined with other textiles such as cotton, wool, silk or polyester and other man-made fibers. This enhances their softness in particular as well as the strength and moisture absorption.
Is Tencel Natural?
Tencel is considered natural as it is made from wood but the actual fiber is created using a man-made process. It's technical term is "regenerated cellulose" as the wood pulp is combined with a chemical solvent in order to form the fibers. In reality, Tencel is considered somewhere in between natural and man-made.
Common trees used to create the fibers include beech, birch and spruce, all of which can be sustainably grown and harvested to minimize environmental impacts.
Tencel is similarly produced to Rayon or Viscose in that wood pulp is used but it is considered to be more energy-efficient. Tencel uses chemicals that are less harmful than rayon.
What is Tencel - Features
The greatest benefit to sewing or wearing tencel is its softness. It feels great on the skin and breathes and wicks moisture away from the body. Many years ago I had a pair of tencel jeans and they were so unbelieveably soft and floaty.
Tencel has a beautiful drape which means it is flattering on the body and does not add bulk. Another amazing feature is that it is wrinkle-resistant and considered breathable and biodegradable. Considering a reported 73% of clothing ends up as landfill, biodegradability is becoming increasingly important today.
Tencel takes dyes easiely making items made with it rich in color.
Features of Tencel
- Softness - Tencel is extremely soft and gentle on the skin
- Moisture absorbent - Tencel's manufacturer claims that it is more absorbent than cotton.
- Drape is important in order for clothing to be flattering.
- Wrinkle resistant
What is Tencel - Costs
So now you've read about all these wonderful properties of Tencel you have probably guessed that it is a little more expensive than some other more basic fibers such as cotton or rayon. This increased cost is offset by some of its wonderful attributes such as wrinkle resistant and breathability. I think I would pay a little extra for less ironing! Perhaps buy something small with Tencel in it and see if you think it is worth the extra cost.
What is Tencel - Products
Popular products that use Tencel include
- Lingerie, Sleepwear and Loungewear - Pajamas made from Tencel are unbelievably soft and comfortable. The fiber can be added to knit fabrics for added comfort.
- Activewear benefits from Tencel due to its breathability and moisture absorption. High-performance activewear and sportswear need to keep your body dry and cool and Tencel does just that.
- Denim can be a little stiff so the addition of Tencel softens it and adds much-needed drape. Jeans made using Tencel are much more comfortable and wrinkle resistant.
- Bedding including bed linens and mattresses. Due to the silky and soft feel, Tencel is popular for all bedding products. It feels luxurious and is comfortable on sensitive skins. When used in duvets, it can absorb more moisture than cotton and thus help you get a drier and more comfortable night's sleep. The best thing about sheets or duvet covers with Tencel is that no or minimal ironing is required.
- Towels need to be extremely absorbent and the addition of Tencel increases the absorbency. This means towels will absorb more and dry quicker. Even after repeated washing and drying, towels with Tencel will stay soft.
- Footwear can be enhanced using Tencel as it can be used for the upper and lining adding much needed softness for many styles.
- Travel garments with Tencel are wrinkle resistant making them a popular choice. They also dry quickly which is important when you are on the move and need something to dry overnight.
What is Tencel - Care Instructions
In general Tencel is a strong fiber that is easy to wash and care for. Always check the laundry label for specific instructions and you may need to tailor your washing to any additional fibers that have been added.
- WASHING - Wash Tencel with cold water and a gentle hand wash. Cold water is recommended since the fiber may shrink slightly in the first wash if it has not been pre-shrunk. Always do up any zippers and if it is a delicate item, wash separately.
- DETERGENTS - Use a gentle detergent and avoid bleach and harsh chemicals.
- DRYING - Drip drying or air drying will always be best to maintant Tencel but some items may be able to be tumble dried on a low heat. Make sure you check the label carefully before applying heat.
- PRESSING - Tencel is best ironed on a low heat with a pressing cloth in between so the iron doesn't directly touch the fabric. Better than ironing, is to leave your Tencel garment overnight or to put it in the bathroom when you are having a shower. Steam and gravity will take care of most of the wrinkles for you.
- DRY CLEANING - If the laundry label specifies dry clean only then do not attempt to wash it yourself. This label is common when the Tencel is combined with other delicate fibers such as silk.
What is Tencel - In Conclusion
What is Tencel is a great question! Tencel is a soft, durable, moisture absorbing fabric that can be used by itself or inconjuction with many other fibers. Although it is a little more expensive, its unique properties make it a favorite with upmarket designers.
Now you know all about what is tencel, check out these other fabrics listed alphabetically.
- CHIFFON – Sewing Chiffon
- BATIK – What is Batik
- CANVAS – Sewing Canvas
- COTTON – Sewing Cotton
- DENIM – Sewing Denim
- FELT – Sewing Felt
- FUR – Sewing Fur
- KNITS – How to Sew Stretch Fabric
- INTERFACING – Types of Interfacing
- LACE – How to Sew Lace
- LEATHER – Sewing Leather
- RAYON – Sewing Rayon
- SHEER – Sewing Sheer Fabrics
- SILK – How to Sew Silk
- THICK – Sewing Thick Fabrics
- VELVET Sewing Velvet
- WOOL – Sewing Wool