Acrylic Clothing Material: What Is Acrylic Fabric Made Of?

All fabrics have a source. It is just that all sources are not the same nor are they all good for you. The man-made synthetic fibers may lower the cost of your clothing but they come with a price. Natural fibers are the best fabrics to wear even if they are higher in cost.

What is acrylic fabric made of? Acrylic fabric is made using a polymer specially designed to create acrylic fabrics. That polymer is called, polyacrylonitrile, and to be considered acrylic it must contain 85% acrylonitrile monomer. That is a far cry from sheep, alpaca, or plants.

To learn more about acrylic, where it comes from, and how it is made, just continue to read our article. The article gives you all the facts about this material so you know what you and your family are wearing each day.

What is Acrylic Fabric?


We are going to tell you and you may not be happy with what you read. Acrylic is called a synthetic material because it is 100% man-made. The processing and ingredients include both oil and coal products which are not always good for your skin or health.

One of the main building blocks for this material is acrylonitrile which has no natural source. While one may call oil and coal natural that would be avoiding the point that acrylic is made by men and doesn't have its own animal or plant creating the fiber directly.

Once it is spun into fibers it is then knitted or woven into yarn and used to create different fabrics or blends that help lower your clothing costs. When making acrylic, the ingredients are all chemicals and these chemicals can be harsh and dangerous to your health.

This process helps keep the cost of acrylic lower than real natural fabrics which many people take advantage of.

Is Acrylic a Natural Fiber?

Some people may claim that oil and coal are natural products thus acrylic should be considered natural but that would be stretching the definition of the word natural to extremes.

No animal or plant produces acrylic fiber and acrylic fibers in their current state are not found anywhere in the world. That means that acrylic is not natural but man-made fibers.

This fabric belongs to the synthetic category that divides fabrics and while it is a cheaper material nothing about it is natural. In fact, it is a plastic material and everyone knows that plastic is not natural.

The problem with having plastic in your clothing is that extreme heat may deform the clothing item you want to wear. Plastic and heat do not get along and you may find yourself overheating because plastic does not breathe.

One thing you must do before you buy this fabric is to make sure you are not allergic to any of the chemicals or other ingredients used to create this material.

What is Acrylic Fabric Made Of?


This material is made of different plastic-like fibers that are washed, dried, cut, and spun into threads that are then woven into the fabric you see in your favorite fabric store.

The texture is designed to mimic wool making the fabric ideal for winter wear or cold days. It is soft and may even feel like wool. But it lacks the natural attributes wool comes with and is seen as a cheaper alternative instead of a replacement for wool.

What makes acrylic special is that its synthetic fibers cannot be digested or eaten by those moths that feed off of natural fibers. Your clothes may last longer and need less repair if made from this plastic-like material.

Then the color is put into the polymers before it is turned into a fabric. That is one reason it is very difficult to dye this fabric when you want to change its color. To reshape it you need heat and heat will also shrink this material so you have to be careful when using that element to change the size of your acrylic item.

What Does 100 Acrylic Mean?

The numeral 100 when used with the term acrylic simply means 100% acrylic or pure acrylic fibers were used to make the garment you are interested in buying. When you get 100% acrylic clothing or outerwear you are wearing nothing but synthetic fibers that are basically plastic.

Also, the numeral 100 tells you that the clothing item may not breathe very well and that it is prone to pilling when washed. When it is blended you may not see those characteristics take place.

Acrylic is not prone to wrinkle on you but if you wash in hot water or dry on high heat levels then you may see more than wrinkles. Those deformities usually ruin your clothing so that it cannot be worn again.

Also, 100 means you have to be careful when you iron acrylic as you may kill the fabric, and even a tiny spot will ruin the look, the feel, and its wearability. You need to launder this material carefully which means its care is not the easiest of all the fabrics. it is not the hardest either.

Is Acrylic Good Material?


This depends on your perspective. To some all synthetic fabrics are bad and their opinion comes from their knowledge of the harsh chemicals and petroleum products used to create this material.

In terms of durability, acrylic is best for winter or colder days after the summer has gone and before spring arrives. The fabric should hold up well under normal treatment and it should last you a long time. It does not degrade like natural materials do and is seen as a bit stronger than those clothing options from time to time.

Then you have to consider flammability when discussing how good a fabric is. While this material is cheaper than wool, it catches fire a lot faster than wool will. First, it will melt, then it will burn.

Wool resists flames and sparks and the same cannot be said about acrylic. If you like a soft, comfortable garment to wear, acrylic is good for that and it does come in some nice colors and designs. Overall acrylic is like every other synthetic material and its goodness only goes so far.

Acrylic Clothing Pros and Cons

All fabrics have their strengths and weaknesses, even synthetic ones. Acrylic is no exception and what follows are just some of those positives and negatives you will find when you use this material in your sewing project or wear it to your next destination.


  • Resists stains
  • Resists wrinkles
  • Should repel mold and mildew
  • Inexpensive to buy
  • Can be washed and dried in those appliances
  • Won’t be eaten by moths
  • Should not shrink
  • Comes in different colors and designs
  • Comes in different fabric weights
  • Durable
  • Blends well with other fibers


  • Made from petroleum products
  • Is a form of plastic
  • Lacks that natural feel and look
  • Can catch fire very easily
  • Can only be washed in cold or warm water
  • Can only be dried on low or not heat or hung to dry
  • Prone to pilling
  • Prone to melting
  • Made with harsh and possibly toxic chemicals
  • Does not degrade very fast

Is Acrylic Clothing Bad for You?


While a large part of this depends on your point of view, there are elements in the acrylic fabric that would label it bad for you over it being a good fabric to wear. One of the problems of wearing acrylic is that you may be allergic to some of the chemicals used to create the fabric and you may not know it.

Also, because of the polymers used to make this material, you may experience headaches, nausea, dizziness, difficulty breathing, limb weakness, and more issues. The acrylonitrile polymer is known to be both a carcinogen and a mutagen.

The reason for that is because of the myriad of harsh chemicals used in creating the fabric. Also, if the material is labeled as colorfast, permanent press, waterproof, and other items, the chemicals used to make the fabric that way are harmful to your health.

These chemicals can all be absorbed easily through your skin and start their destructive work without letting you know it is taking place. You be the judge of the final verdict if acrylic is bad for you or not. We think it is but you need to make up your own mind on this issue.

Miyabi Fabric Meaning

In its traditional definition, Miyabi means elegance, grace, refinement, and courtliness. All rough edges have been smoothed over and only the highest grace of manners, diction, expression, feelings, and atmosphere have replaced those rough edges.

When applied to acrylic materials then when someone uses the term Miyabi to describe that material they are saying it is an ideal fabric that is full of elegance and so on. The fabric has reached the ideal stage of the culture.

In other words, when acrylic is described in this manner, it is a fabric that is worthy to be worn by the most elite people found in upper-class societies. The fabric is aesthetically perfect and cannot be improved upon.

The cultural practice of Miyabi is not as popular as Wabi shabi but it still reflects the character and personality of the person wearing the fabric designated as Miyabi. This term also reflects the older Japanese era that existed between 794 to 1185 A.D.otherwise known as the Heian period.

This term helps separate the Japanese classes in a time when class society was important.

Micro Denier Acrylic


The first two words provide the meaning of this fabric. First, denier is a term used to describe the thickness of a given fabric. It is hard to explain as there is some technical detail surrounding the use of this word.

If you have one gram of mass per 9,000 meters of length of fabric, you basically have a denier. In other words, the weight would equal the denier of the fabric. We are sure that is clear as mud.

Then the word denier is written in the lower case thus a 50 denier thread would be shown as 50d. To help clarify matters here, the definition of denier is based on the weight and thickness of silk. A single strand of silk is one denier and 9,000 meters of that silk thread weighs one gram.

Next, the term micro is self-explanatory as micro means tiny or really small. Thus micro denier acrylic means very thin acrylic material or thread. A Micro denier of acrylic would mean that the fabric or thread is less than one denier and that makes those materials very fine in texture and quality.

To give you a comparison standard weight fabrics are usually 40d to 80d while heavyweight fabrics are listed as 100d to 600d. Thus micro denier acrylic would be similar to microfiber material.

Is Acrylic Biodegradable?

This material is about as biodegradable as all synthetic fabrics are. In other words, it is very slow to degrade and can take between 20 and 200 years to disappear from the earth when thrown into a landfill.

The time frame for degrading will depend on the thickness of the material, its final shape before being thrown away, and so on. It would be best to send the worn-out garments made from this material to a clothing recycler and spare the oceans and landfills of waiting for it to degrade.

Not only are the chemicals in the fabric are harmful, but the chemical waste dumped from the different manufacturing plants does also damage the environment. That waste is as destructive to the earth as the chemicals in the clothing is to the human body.

Is Acrylic BPA Free?


It is supposed to be because this product is made from a different polymer than the one that produces BPA. BPA is called Bisphenol A and it is the monomer used to make polycarbonate.

What acrylic can be made into is similar to polycarbonate but it is not the same. Acrylic is polymethyl methacrylate. Generally, acrylic fabrics and other items will be BPA free.

You will find BPA in good storage containers, including canned foods, water bottles, baby bottles, children’s toys, thermal paper, medical and dental devices, electronics, and sports equipment.

If the item is listed as #3 or #7 in recycling codes then the item contains BPA. This chemical can be hazardous to your health and can also be absorbed through your skin. When something is BPA free it simply means that no BPA ingredients have been used to create that product item.

Is Acrylic Better Than Plastic?

The best answer would be that acrylic is a better form of plastic that is more durable and transparent than regular plastic materials. There are a wide variety of plastics made today and acrylic is just an upgrade over earlier versions of plastic products.

But that upgrade does not necessarily mean acrylic is totally BPA-free or that it is not harmful; to you and your family. Different plastics have different harmful chemicals used in their construction. They are not safe by any stretch of the imagination.

Also, some BPA free products have been tested and they still give off low levels of BPA. BPS is used as a replacement for BPA and it is not that much better of a substitute. It is as much a health hazard as BPA is.

So acrylic may be more durable than regular plastic, it may last longer, look better but it is not better than plastic.

Is Acrylic Cheap?


Yes, acrylic is cheap and it was made with the purpose to help reduce the amount of money spent on wool products. Acrylic is supposed to mimic wool in all categories except the price. Wool is good but it can also be expensive which means you may only be able to afford the lower qualities of wool materials.

When you buy acrylic you should still get the warmth factor you are used to feeling with wool. One characteristic found in wool that did not make it into acrylic is the breathing ability.

Wool breathes far better than acrylic will and if you are not careful, you can hover heat on a warm day wearing acrylic. But you will save money and your clothing budget will go a lot further than it used to when you only bought natural fabrics.

Acrylic is like polyester, inexpensive, and easy to wear.

Is Acrylic Flammable?

Yes, it is very flammable and you should be careful when wearing this material around open flames and items that send off sparks. When you go out camping, to the beach, or just having a nice fire in your fireplace or a bonfire in your fire pit, do not wear acrylic.

Your injuries will be more severe than they would be if you wore cotton, hemp, linen, or wool. The reason for that is that acrylic will melt first then burn. The extent of your injuries will be very severe and far worse than if you wore natural materials.

Also, while acrylic can be difficult to ignite, it is the worst of all synthetic materials when comes to being on fire. It will burn aggressively, plus the melting fabric will drip onto other parts of your body or onto more flammable material making your predicament worse than it already is.

Polyacrylic Clothes


This is another synthetic blend that is supposed to work and look like wool. It is often used as fill material because of its softness and ability to keep you warm. Unfortunately, it is made from the same material as acrylic is made from so you are not getting a better, safer, or healthier fabric, you are just getting a different version of the same thing.

Then if the material is wrinkle-resistant, colorfast, waterproof and so on, it is not a great fabric to have next to your skin. Those chemicals are quite toxic and can be absorbed into your skin, beginning those health issues that are very serious.

Plus, it should still take the fabric about 200 years to disappear from the landfills around the world. That is not good for the environment nor future generations. It is up to your personal preference if you are going to use or wear this material.

Acrylic Sweaters Quality

This aspect of the acrylic clothing line will depend on the manufacturer of the fabric or clothing items they make. There are not a lot of them but there are enough unethical fabric makers that skrimp on quality to fatten their bottom line.

The cost will give you your first clue as to the type of quality to expect from a certain bolt of acrylic fabric. The lower the price generally the lower the quality. That applies to both natural and all synthetic fabrics.

If the material frays quite easily on you then you know the quality is not there. What this means is that you have to be picky when looking at acrylic sweaters. You do not have to break the bank to get top quality but you do have to resist the urge to buy cheap and save more money.

To get top quality acrylic sweaters, go with the brands you know and trust.

Some Final Words

Acrylic can be seen as a good alternative to wool. It is not as good as that fabric but it does help you save money and still stay warm and comfortable throughout the winter.

Like all fabrics, there will be those materials that are better than others so you have to learn the difference between the top quality acrylic fabrics and the lower ones. If you do not mind all those chemicals next to your skin, it is a good material to wear.

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