Blue Lingerie and the Miracle of Spandex

click photo for link to a great post about 1950’s girdles

The Miracle of Lycra Spandex- Fairy Godmother to Women Everywhere.  Invented in 1959 it wasn’t until  1962 until  the full scale manufacturer of Lycra went on the market , expanding possibilities for women everywhere.  Girdles were no longer only peach, ivory, and black instead bright pastels and patterns became the rage. (L) Vintage ad 1962 Hollywood Vassarette Girdle and Bra (R) Fairy Godmother Cinderella Walt Disney

The synthetic fabric used to make stretchy clothing is commonly referred to as spandex and as Lycra. DuPont created the term Lycra as a brand name for its spandex, and now the terms have become interchangeable.

Dupont textiles scientist Joseph C. Shivers was determined to find a fiber to replace rubber in garments. He made a breakthrough in the early 1950s when he used an intermediate substance to modify Dacron polyester. This modification produced a stretchy fiber that could withstand high temperatures. After nearly a decade of research, the fiber was perfected in 1959. Originally called Fiber K, DuPont chose the trade name Lycra to distinguish its brand of spandex fiber.

Polyurethane Fibers (micro photo 100X)

Spandex fibers are produced in four ways: melt extrusion, reaction spinning, solution dry spinning, and solution wet spinning. All of these methods include the initial step of reacting monomers to produce a prepolymer. Once the prepolymer is formed, it is reacted further in various ways and drawn out to make the fibers.

A blessing and curse:

The comfort offered by using fabrics with Spandex comes with an environmental concern.

Today most clothes containing spandex end up as non-recyclable waste once they have been worn out, as fabric blends containing spandex are difficult to recycle. This contributes to the pollution of the environment.

When clothes are washed, hundreds of thousands of microfibres are released into the wastewater, ending up in the oceans, and if clothes contain plastic then they will cause microplastic pollution.


4 Comments on “Blue Lingerie and the Miracle of Spandex”

  1. It can certainly work a miracle in a lot of ways…. you’re right tho…. blessing or curse. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person


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