Guide to material - fiber quality

Natural fibers

Fibers Uses Appearance Pros Cons Care and washing instructions Wrinkle factor  Shrinking factor 
Cotton All types of clothing. Soft and comfortable, absorbs moisture with ease. Very durable and tolerates being washed often on high temperatures. Tolerates considerable sun exposure. Can be very color fast. Can shrink 10-15%. Must be washed in warm water. Spots and stains will not come out with temperatures lower than 60 degrees. Must be ironed on high heat setting. High. Can be chemically treated to minimize wrinkles. Untreated cotton can shrink up to 10-15%. Anti-wrinkle treated garnments can shrink up to 3%.
Linen Shirts, shorts, pants, blazers/suits, knitwear, outerwear. Soft and comfortable, easily absorbs moisture. Durable and stays clean longer than other fiber types. Wrinkle easily, no stretch, and can be stiff. Gets quickly clean at 60 degrees. Tolerates high iron temperatures. Loses its shape in the dryer. Extremely high. High.
Wool Almost all types of clothing: suits, knitwear, pants, underwear, socks etc. Comfortable stretchy, moisture absorbant. Insulates extremely well against cold and heat, even when damp. Does not wrinkle easily. Very high shrinking factor if washed incorrectly. White wool often turns yellow after exposure to sunlight. Stays clean for a long period of time. Musr be handled with care, and many wool products must be washed by hand or in the wool program in the machine. Cannot be washed with detergents that contain chlorine. Low. Can shrink in warm/hot water.
Silk   Nice sheen, comfortable to wear next to the skin. Does not wrinkle easily, has a nice drape. Expensive, often difficult to clean, can lose shape after washing.  Should be washed with delicates, or preferably by hand. Should be ironed on low heat while the garment is still damp. Larger garments should be drycleaned only. Low. Low.
Hair fibers (from, cashmere) Knitwear, outerwear. Can be matt, or have a sheen, often visible "hairs", depending on the garment. Breathable, yet insulating. Generally very expensive. Follow washing instructions for fine wool. Low. Can shrink if washed incorrectly.

Artificial fiber

Fibers Uses Appearance Pros Cons Care and washing instructions Wrinkle factor Shrinking factor
Acrylic Knitwear Often looks like wool, but is not absorbant or breathable, and can feel clammy and uncomfortable. Doesn`t shrink, doesn`t wrinkle, can be machine washed, and can tolerate exposure to sunlight. Easily becomes static. Attracts dust and lint. Scents can set into the fibers and be difficult to remove. Is highly flammable, melts, and can cause dangerous burns. Must be washed frequently, but get quickly clean. Tumble dry low, avoid ironing, can be ruined with heat from iron.  Low. None.
Nylon Underwear, stockings and similar garments, can be blended with other fibers to give increased strength. Can be cold and clammy, does not absorb moisture. Strong, elastic, does not shrink or wrinkle easily. Can become static, attracts dust and lint. Smell can set in and is hard to remove. Can be structurally weakened by sunlight. Easy to wash, but should be washed frequently. White Nylon should not be washed together with colored garments. Cannot tolerate detergents containing chlorine. Dries quickly. Low. Low.
Polyester Pants, suits, scarfes, shirts, sweat/college, fleece. Can seem cold and clammy, does not absorb moisture. Almost wrinkle-free. Pressing holds well over time. Very little shrinking, tolerates exposure to sunlight. Easily becomes electric - attracts dust and lint. Can give burns due to melting. Easy to wash, but must be washed often. Dries quickly. Low. Low.
Rayon Often used for lining fabrics, especially for suits. Can also be used in women`s wear for blouses/dresses, or in lightweight knitwear. Can be combined with other fibers in all types of clothing. Is often treated before use. Soft and comfortable, absorbs moisture with ease. Affordable, color fast. Can imitate appearance of natural fibers. Can shrink with washing, and is easily wrinkled. Weak when wet.  Cleans easily, but must be handled with care. Hard washing/intense centrifuging can damage the garment. High, but can be treated to reduce wrinkles. High, but can be treated to reduce shrinking.
Rayon/Cotton T-shirts, sweaters, underwear. Soft and comfotable. absorbs moisture with ease. Very durable, and tolerates being washed often on high temperatures. Where the Rayon content is low - tolerates hard washing (like pure Cotton). Where the Rayon content is high - tolerates washing poorly, and can have a high rate of shrinkage. Should be washed similarly to Cotton or Rayon, depending on the fiber content. High. High.
Polyester/Cotton Shirts, pants, shorts, sportswear. Comfortable. Low wrinkle factor, holds its shape well. Almost wrinkle-free.   Wash with few items in the machine to reduce wrinkles. Almost wrinkle-free. Low.
Polyester/Wool Suits, trousers. Attractive and comfortable. Does not wrinkle easily, holds a press well.   Can usually be washed. Low. Low.
Wool/Acrylic Knitwear. Warm and comfortable. More durable than pure Wool, maintains a nice finish over time. Easy to care for. Not as warm as pure Wool. Can be washed in the machine. Low. Can shrink if washed incorrectly.