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Many fabric types, such as cotton and denim, can be ringspun fabrics. The term simply means that the fiber that makes up the fabric is sent through a process where it is spun before it is knitted or fabricated into the final product. Spinning the fibers creates a fabric that is generally more durable and softer, making it ideal for many clothing and linen fabrics.
As a modern choice, ringspun fabric is still desirable for its softer texture. Durability also makes it a great choice for the production of casual clothing that is easily dressed up, such as khaki slacks and linen-like, washable jackets for men. Along with these options, ringspun fabric is often used in the production of simple school uniforms for both boys and girls. The durable nature of the material makes it much easier to care for, and will help the uniform to keep its shape throughout the school year.
When it comes to casual wear, ringspun fabric is often used for tank tops, T-shirts, and a number of the bright and colorful short sleeved button-down shirts that many people favor in warm weather. To go along with the tops, this fabric is often used to make denim pants and shorts, which is usually preferred because ringspun fabric can last longer than most other denim fabrics.
Around the house, ringspun fabric may be used for such items as duvet covers, tablecloths, linen napkins, and pillow covers. Some of the casual blankets and throws used often in decorating the home today are made of ringspun fabric, combining a desired look with a soft feel. Bath and hand towels are also commonly made from the fabric due to its durable and soft nature.
Ringspun fabric originated in the Middle Ages as a means of taking the rougher feel of raw cotton and making it smoother to the touch. Essentially, the process for producing this fabric involved using a spinning method, such as on a spinning wheel, to create a slightly finer thread, which is then woven into fabric. The spun cotton was softer to the touch, which was certainly more pleasing to the skin, and the fibers were actually more compacted and provided a greater measure of strength. In a time when material made for garments often had to endure for an extended period of time, spun fabric was definitely an advantage.
As the manufacturing age of the early 19th century dawned, the ability to mass-produce ringspun thread came into being. Beginning with spinning frames that were at first ran using foot pedals, then steam power and finally electricity, it was possible for even a small textile plant to produce more ringspun fabric in one day than 50 people could produce by hand in one week.
As manufacturing technology continued to advance, and synthetic fibers were developed, the ringspun method of producing fabrics grew right along with the innovations. Today the fabric is mass-produced in large factories using machines called ring-spinning frames that do most of the work. This type of fabric is still one of the most commonly produced of all textile products.