What Is Terylene Cotton Material? (Uses, Mixture, and Tips)

It may be old but Terylene fibers are still useful. By old we mean that the fabric has been around since World War 2 and has been marketed under a different name. Dacron is what this material used to be called and it was one of the original wash and wear or drip dry fabrics.

What is Terylene Cotton material? Terylene Cotton is actually a blend of two different types of fibers. The Terylene portion is synthetic while the cotton fibers are all-natural. Together they make Terylene Cotton fabric which is supposed to be a long lasting material with the best that cotton has to offer.

To learn more about this fabric just continue to read our article. It has the information you want to know about so you can add this material into your sewing fabric supply and use it accordingly. The fabric still has its uses even though it may only be for shower curtains.

Is Terylene Cotton?


No, terylene is not cotton. In fact, it is not even made with a hint of natural ingredients. The material is purely synthetic and its origins come from the chemistry lab and not a plant or animal.

Since it was one of the original drip and dry or wash and wear set of fabrics, this material has become known as a vintage fabric. You may or may not have heard about it. How well it is known today is not known as its use has been downshifted to a very few applications.

When blended with cotton a wider variety of clothes can be designed and introduced to the fashion world. It is also blended with wool and helps both fabrics be easier to clean and last longer.

Generally, this material is used to create a variety of hoses, plastics, shower curtains, nets, raincoats, and more.

What is Terylene Cotton?

Terylene cotton is a blend of synthetic fiber with natural fiber. It's generally blended with cotton to make some nice clothing. But at no time should you think that this is a natural fabric.

Combining Terylene with cotton is like combining polyester and cotton together. The two fabrics work well together and the strengths of the synthetic content help the weaknesses of the natural one.

You should get easier care, longer-lasting clothing as well as the color and design that cotton is known for. The only problem you may have with this material is when it comes to drying it. High heat tends to disfigure the Terylene fibers and you could ruin your clothing by improperly drying them.

One thing is for sure, the synthetic blend should lower the cost of clothing and last longer so you do not have to replace clothes any time soon. That is if they are worn under normal conditions.

What is Terylene Fabric Made Of?


This material is completely synthetic and it is made in the chemistry lab. The top ingredients are ethylene glycol and terephthalic acid which are petroleum products. It is said that this was the first polyester material; ever made and initially, it was a state secret.

Created in 1941 in England, the material was originally used for World War 2 supplies. After the war, the inventors, John Rex Whinfield and James Dickson, showed the material to the Imperial Chemical Industries corporation in 1946.

The company eventually bought the rights to the formula and began marketing the first polyester lace curtains in 1948. if you want anyone to blame for the polyester invasion into the fashion world, these British scientists are the ones to blame.

The way most people will know this fabric is by its American name- Dacron. That was the title given to it when this material was first sold in that nation. The good aspect of this material is that it needs little ironing and should not crease on you unless you expose the material to high temperatures.

Another positive aspect is its ability to dry quickly. The fabric doesn't absorb moisture so the drying time is shorter than natural fibers.

How is Terylene Different From Cotton?

Instead of writing a long paragraph to tell you about the differences between these two fabrics, we have decided to create a quick comparison chart. That way you can see those differences quickly and when you are short of time.

Category Cotton Terylene
Origin the cotton plant petroleum products
Years in use over 5,000 almost 80 years
Nature all natural all synthetic
Texture or feel soft, silky at times and smooth can be rough, plastic like and artificial
Washing easy to care for and can use hot water, can be put in the dryer avoid hot water, high dryer temperatures,
Ironing will need ironing to smooth out those wrinkles resists wrinkles and creases and needs little ironing
Shrinkage this fabric will shrink on you resists shrinking but may melt on you if exposed to high temperatures
Application a wide array of applications in a variety of industries usually reserved for plastic containers, shower curtains, hoses and some clothing items, especially raincoats
Drying time the quickest of the natural fibers and dries very fast may dry faster than cotton and is used in raincoats and shower curtains because of that characteristic
Durability will last for a while but not as long as synthetic materials will very durable and long lasting
Biodegradable yes and it doesn’t take long to disappear in the landfill eventually it will disappear but will last up to 200 years in the landfill
Price depending on quality from cheap to expensive cheap

What is Terylene Used For?


One of the places the makers of this material have found use is the medical supply industry. It may not make great bandages but it does have a strong place in this industry for plastic bottles and other similar applications.

Then because of its quick-dry nature, this fabric is often made into raincoats, shower curtains, and jackets that can withstand the wet weather. The fibers are very strong and since those fibers do not absorb moisture they tend to dry faster than cotton will.

Next, this material is found on different ropes, hoses, and nets where a strong fiber is needed. The fabric does not degrade as quickly as natural materials can making it an ideal material to use when strength is needed for along time.

Also, you should be able to find this material when you go out and buy polyester thread. Its strong nature makes it a great product to use when you need a strong thread to hold together thick or heavyweight fabrics.

Finally, this material is used to make hard wear clothing. By hard wear we mean clothing that needs to endure a lot of rough treatment throughout the day. Plus, it can be made into regular clothing and is often blended with natural fibers like cotton and wool.

That blend makes the cotton and wool materials last longer as well as make them easier to get clean. There may be other uses for this material since it is a polyester fiber.

Terylene Polyester Fabric

This is not actually a blend since Terylene is the original polyester fiber. If you are buying polyester you may get this material or you may get one of the many alternate fabrics wholly made from petroleum products.

Also, the term Terylene may be used to describe or label a whole class of different synthetic materials. Since they all come from the same source, there is relatively little difference between these products.

Like other polyester fabrics, this version also resists shrinking, wrinkles, creases as well as rejects water. Its low absorption of moisture makes it as fast drying as the other versions you find under the polyester category.

The big drawback, like all other polyester materials, is that it is not really that biodegradable. If you are lucky it will disappear within your lifetime but usually, you can count on 80 to 200 years before the material vanishes entirely.

It is as cheap as other polyester fabrics and blends well with natural fibers. That makes this material very versatile when it comes to having clothing last a long time.

Terylene Clothes


As a vintage cloth, you should find Terylene fabric in a wide range of clothing. It is the first polyester material ever created and originally it was used for curtains for your home. A nice lace curtain made from this fabric was marketed in the late 1940s.

As time went on, this material was used in a lot of different clothing items including vintage Hawaiian shirts. Also, you will find this material in the original wash and wear fabrics that became popular back in the 50s and 60s of the past century.

The ease of use made it ideal for those women getting tired of ironing cotton. The best part was that this material resisted shrinking, wrinkles and did not lose its shape that easily. This fabric helped make the original housewife tasks a lot simpler and less strenuous.

Plus, you may find this material used in different rugs and bedding. It is an all-purpose fabric that is found almost everywhere in one form or another. Because it is a polyester material it is still made and used today.

This fabric may have started the polyester invasion into everyday life and it may be around till that invasion eventually stops. It is a strong material.

Is Terylene Stretchy?

There may be some stretch to the fabric but not a lot. In fact, nylon is said to be about twice as stretchy as this material or regular polyester. That means that if you get a piece of clothing that is too small, you may have to send it back.

It is very hard to stretch the material to a new size and basically impossible to get the material to stretch 2 sizes. Polyester is not known to be a stretchy fabric unless you get it in a knit weave. That would apply to Terylene fabric as well. The material should be stretchier when it is made into a knit rather than a regular weave.

Overall, nylon will have better stretch to it than Terylene materials. That is par for the course for this type of polyester fabric. Most polyester materials do not stretch very well. The greatest benefit you get from Terylene fabric is that it does not shrink, lose its shape, or pill that much.

Plus, it is long-lasting which is a lot better than being a stretchy fabric. The durability of this material makes it a great fabric to buy when you are on a strict budget.

Is Terylene Breathable?


The simple answer is no it is not. This material is a petroleum-based fabric that has some great properties which we just mentioned. But one of those properties is not breathing very well.

The reason for that is that it is basically plastic and plastic never breathes. It does melt but keeping you cool or regulating your body temperature is not something plastic can do. It is possible that the material will breathe better once it is blended with natural fibers.

But that upgrade will depend on the blend percentages and which fabric is the dominant fiber. If the Terylene is the dominant fiber, then do not expect the blend to breathe that well.

Then if the reverse is true, you can expect your body to be cooler than if you were wearing 100% polyester. The lack of breathing makes this fabric ideal for cooler temperatures. You should stay warmer in the Fall or Winter seasons.

Plus, it helps the material to resist absorbing moisture and keeps the cold away from your body. This is why this material is so good for raincoats and shower curtains. the water stays where it is supposed to and does not allow your bathroom or you very wet.

How do You Clean Terylene Fabric?


Your laundry effort will depend on if the material is 100% polyester or part of a blend. If it is the latter, you should clean the fabric according to the natural fibers blended in with the Terylene. Especially if it is not the dominant fiber in the blend.

If it is 100% then you should clean the fabric like you would 100% polyester. The two materials are the same and have the same properties as well as the same weaknesses. Then if you really want to be sure since this material is used in a wide range of clothing and other household items, check the label.

Read what instructions the manufacturer has provided to help you when it is time to clean these items. Just be careful of high heat. This material is still plastic and it can melt on you or deform if not dried under the right amount of heat.

You shouldn’t have to iron this material that often as it resists wrinkles. Plus, it does not pill as easily as nylon will so you save on time there. Also, since the material resists both shrinking and stretching, you should not have to worry about it being the wrong size or out of shape when you are done cleaning it.

Pros & Cons of Terylene Fabric

Every fabric has its set of positives and negatives about them. This is a fact of life. Knowing both helps you decide if it is a good material to use in your next sewing project. Here are those pros and cons:


  • Longer lasting than natural fabrics
  • Easy to clean and take care of
  • Resists pilling, shrinking, stretching and wrinkles
  • Blends well with other fibers
  • A very strong material that does not lose its strength when wet
  • It is not an expensive material
  • It has a wide array of applications and used in the medical industry as well
  • Comes in different colors and designs
  • Does not absorb moisture making it quick drying


  • Is a synthetic material
  • Made from petroleum products and other chemicals
  • Is not very breathable nor does it stretch very well
  • It is not biodegradable, can last in landfills for up to 200 years
  • May trigger allergies or asthma attacks
  • Not for every skin type
  • Has a plastic and artificial feel and texture
  • Cannot endure high temperatures

Some Final Words

Even though Terylene is often used next to the word cotton or wool, it is not a natural fabric. When those words appear together you know it is a blend of synthetic fibers and natural ones.

Basically, Terylene is the original polyester that all polyesters derive their origins. Due to technical upgrades, the modern versions of this material are far better than the original version. It has many applications that you may find useful and be a better material to use than natural ones.

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