Aside from looking good in your swimsuit or bikini on the beach, it is also a priority to feel good. This means that choosing the right fabric should also be a primary concern for the swimwear you choose for a day at the beach or pool. Choosing the right fabric will make your day comfortable and light. Terry cloth is one fabric that makes this comfort possible. Although terry cloth is a common fabric used in towel making, over time it evolved, and the fabric was then used for different clothing such as swimsuits, bikinis, bathrobes, and coverups.
What is Terry Cloth?
A terry cloth is a fabric with upstretched uncut loops of thread forming strips, checks, or other patterns (with end hems or fringes and side hems or selvages) used especially for towels. Cotton is the most preferred base to make a terry towel since cotton is specifically chosen to create softness in the material. But there are other raw materials used for Terry cloth, such as silk, linen, polyester, and other man-made fibers, or blends.
The origin of the word “terry” comes from the French word “tirer,” which means to pull out: specifically referring to the pile loops that were pulled out by hand to make absorbent traditional Turkish toweling. Some references say that the original terry cloth was likely the result of defective weaving occurring in a traditional textile center in Turkey, specifically Bursa City. Terry weaving construction is considered a later expansion in the development of woven fabrics. To this day, terry toweling is still referred to as “Turkish Terry,” “Turk Fabric,” or “Turkish Toweling.”
Terry Cloth as Swimwear
Terry cloth is the perfect type of towel to bring in the beach since they are absorbent and come in a longer size perfect as a coverup or simply to cover your wet body; and a smaller size that can be used to dry your face or a small number of wet parts in the body.
As mentioned, terry cloth is not only popular on the beach as a towel. It is also a popular fabric used in swimsuits or bikinis. One-piece or two-piece swimsuits, swim dresses, coverups, wraps, tops, and even ponchos –name it! Terry cloth clothing is widely produced in those types of swimwear.
Why Choose To Wear Terry Cloth at the beach?
- The texture gives a “summery” and relaxing vibe that is perfect for swimming or chilling under the sun. Opt for a one-piece swimsuit or two-piece swimsuit in this fabric since they are lightweight and give volume to the skin when worn.
- The fabric does not get soggy compared to other textures. Terry cloth is a type of fabric known for its ability to absorb large amounts of water.
- It absorbs water from the skin. Since it is mentioned that terry cloth absorbs a large amount of water, it is a good cloth or coverup to use when going to the beach as it will absorb water from the skin and does not need you to bring a towel to the beach in case you need to go back to the water again.
- Perfect for those who would lounge around than go for a dip. If ever you do not want to get wet, terry cloth is still a good type of clothing if you want to stay dry because of its smooth and comfortable texture.
- For those parents who wanted to bring their babies to the beach, terry cloth is a good choice of wrap for babies because of its soft fabric.
- The fabric is easy to dye or print with patterns or customized designs. You can easily find the type of design you want or personalize the design according to what you want.
- The fabric is also ideal for embroidered design because of its thick nature, which is an option if you want your name to be embroidered on the fabric for aesthetic effect.
Parts of a Traditional Terry
There are five main parts to a woven terry towel. These are:
The beginning and end part: the beginning and end sections prevent the pile from unraveling. It is the tightly woven areas of a towel that come before or after the pile fabric part in a flat weave construction.
The pile area: refers to the absorbent part of the towel.
Fringes: tied or untied tasseled part that is left unwoven at the beginning and end edges of the towel.
Selvage & border: reinforce the towel sides and contain fewer warped ends than the pile area.
Types of Terry Cloth
Towel Terry: the most common type of terrycloth available in the market. Longer loops that absorb more water compared to other types characterize this type.
French Terry: characterized by longer loops on one side and a smooth and flat texture on the other side. This type is usually used in garments like sweatpants, sweatshirts, and other similar clothing.
Terry Velour: the least popular among the three and has the same texture as a French Terry: long loops on one side, and a velvety feel on the other side.
Other Uses of a Terry Cloth
Bathrobes: Given the thick and dense nature of terry cloth, they make an excellent bathrobe to keep you warm after a cold day’s bath or make you feel warmer on a chilly evening.
Baby Apparel: Babies need fabrics that are soft, cozy, and safe at the same time. Terry cloth is a perfect fabric for baby apparel such as bibs, socks, towelettes, and blankets.
Kitchen Accessories: Terry cloth is also a helpful material in the kitchen. It is used as a potholder, kitchen glove, and kitchen hand towel.
Cold Weather Apparel: Terry cloth is a preferable cloth to fight the cold, especially in cold seasons, as the fabric will make you warm.
Footwear: Terry fabric makes fluffy slippers commonly used in hotels. They are soft and comfortable yet highly durable quality.
How to take care of Terry Cloth
Minimize the use of skin care products on the skin: Since the fabric easily spots and bleaches, avoid contact or minimize the use of skin care products that might cause the cloth to change color.
Add a dash of vinegar when washing them. Adding a dash of vinegar improves absorbency and combats a musty smell.
Avoid fabric softeners: Although fabric softeners aim to soften the texture of a fabric, it only leaves a residue and waxy build-up to a terry cloth. You can dry the cloth with wool dryer balls.
Use a laundry detergent particularly made for fine linen: Choose a pH-neutral formula that holds a powerful blend of cleaning enzymes that is also gentle on a luxury fabric.
Wash the cloth before using it. Terry cloth shrinks the first time it is washed. It created a lot of residues from the cut loops that might be attached to your skin if you do not wash it first.
Terry cloth is not only popular as a go-to fabric for a towel. It is also a fabric that is can be an option for swimwear because of its smooth and soft texture. There are other uses of terry cloth like a bathrobe, kitchen apparel, baby apparel, and so on. It only goes to show that terry cloth is a versatile type of fabric that can be used by anyone and for any purpose.