Polyester Yarn – Guide To This Yarn Material & Best Uses

By Jodie Morgan

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Looking for a durable, easy care yarn? Polyester fibers might be the perfect choice for you. I explore what polyester yarn is, and ways to use it for knitting.

Polyester Yarn in green close up

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I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 14, 2023.

Table Of Contents

What Is Polyester Yarn?

Polyester yarn is a synthetic fiber sold at moderate prices. This fiber is popular because it’s durable, easy to care for, soft, and cuddly. They’re lightweight and great for clothing. It’s often used for making novelty yarn.

Where It Comes From

Polyester is a polymer-based fiber made from petroleum, often compared with acrylic yarn. This means that it’s not a natural fiber, but it’s recyclable. This fiber is also used to make other yarn types, like chenille.

How It’s Made Into Yarn

The polyester yarn manufacturing process begins by creating long chain synthetic polymers. These are melted and drawn through small holes to create thin fibers. These fibers are twisted together to create yarn.

How To Wash Polyester Yarn

Here are the care instructions for polyester fibers.

  • Machine wash on the delicate cycle in cool water
  • Use a mild detergent
  • Don’t use bleach or fabric softener
  • Tumble dry on low or lay flat to dry

Always check the yarn label for instructions specific to the yarn you’re using.

Does It Shrink When Washed?

Polyester is a synthetic fiber, so it’s less likely to shrink than natural fibers like wool. That being said, I recommend doing a swatch and washing it before you start your project. Don’t expose it to heat.

How To Soften Polyester Yarn

Washing it after you’ve finished knitting always helps!

Pin For Later

Polyester Yarn Pin

What Do You Use It For?

Wondering whether you should use it to make a project? Here’s why this fiber is used to make yarn. It’s often used for projects and things like: baby clothes, toys, blankets, pillows, hats, scarves, and clothing. It’s great for baby blankets too. To see which specific fiber to use, see my guide.

It’s great for things that need frequent washing and drying, like kid’s items and things you’re going to donate. Also, it doesn’t absorb moisture, so it’s a good choice for making hats and mittens.

They’re wrinkle-resistant and hold their shape well, so they’re a popular material for athletic wear and everyday use. Polyester novelty yarns are a little tricky to knit with. Use bamboo knitting needles. The super bulky yarns you can get make excellent crochet or knitted fabrics for chunky a sweater or blanket.

Common Blends Using This Fiber

Here is a list of common blends using this yarn, and why they’re created. 

  • Polyester/Cotton – The cotton adds softness, while the polyester adds durability to this composition
  • Polyester/Wool or Merino Wool – The wool adds warmth to this popular blend, while the polyester is durable and easy to care for. It’s also elastic and nice on the skin
  • Polyester/Acrylic – The acrylic adds softness, while the polyester adds durability to this yarn blend

You rarely see it blended with mohair, silk, or alpaca.

Where To Find It

Here’s where to find this yarn. Many places sell them, like at a yarn store or craft stores in your area, at big box stores like Michaels, Walmart and Joann, and online brand shops. Here are brands or manufacturers of polyester yarns to try: Paintbox Yarns, Bernat, Lion Brand, and King Cole.

What’s The Price Like?

Prices for this fiber vary depending on where you buy it. It’s usually moderately priced.

FAQS About Polyester Yarn

Is Polyester Yarn Safe For Babies?

Yes, it’s safe for babies because it’s hypoallergenic. I recommend OEKO-TEX certified yarns.

Is Polyester Yarn Ethical & Eco-Friendly?

It’s made from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource. However, it’s recyclable.

What Can I Make With Leftover Polyester Yarn?

You can make smaller projects like hats, scarves, pillows, and toys.

Is Polyester Yarn Itchy?

No, it’s not itchy because it’s a smooth fiber.

Is Polyester Yarn Good For Clothes?

Yes, it’s good for clothes because it doesn’t shrink and it’s easy to care for.

Is Polyester Yarn Good For Winter? 

Yes, it’s good for winter because it’s warm.

Is Polyester Yarn Good For Summer?

No, it’s not good for summer because it’s not breathable.

Do Polyester Yarns Pill?

No, they don’t pill.

Polyester Yarn Vs Cotton Yarn

If you want a natural fiber, go with cotton. If you want something that’s easy to care for, go with polyester.

Polyester Yarn Types

  • Filament Yarn – Made from long continuous strands of fiber. It’s strong and used in sewing
  • Textured Yarn – This has a nubby surface. It’s often used for sweaters and hats
  • Spun Yarn – Made from shorter strands of fiber twisted together. It’s often used for garments and accessories

Is Polyester Yarn Good?

Yes, it has a lot of benefits. It’s strong, doesn’t shrink, and is easy to care for.

Does Polyester Yarn Stretch?

Yes, it does.

Is Polyester Yarn Breathable?

No, it doesn’t have great breathability.

Is Polyester Yarn Warm?

Yes, it is. The threads are a fine example of warmth.

What’s Recycled Polyester Yarn?

The main differences are it’s made from recycled plastic bottles, and is more sustainable to manufacture. It has the same benefits as regular polyester yarn.

Is Polyester Yarn Biodegradable?

No, it’s not.

Is Polyester Yarn Vegan?

Yes, it is.

Does Polyester Yarn Melt?

Yes, it does, when exposed to high heat. (1)

What’s The Difference Between Acrylic And Polyester Yarn?

Acrylic yarns are cheaper and not as durable. Polyester is more expensive and more durable

Conclusion

Happy crocheting or knitting! Hope you enjoyed this article. Do you have questions? Please leave them below!

References

  1. Nylon vs Polyester: Resistance to Water, Fire, Sun (UV) and Mildew, Accessed 31 October 2022. https://www.jasonmills.com/blog/nylon-vs-polyester/

About The Author

Jodie Morgan From Knit Like Granny

Jodie Morgan (Author & Founder)

jodie@knitlikegranny.com | Lives In: Regional Australia

Author: Jodie Morgan is a passionate knitter and blogger with 40+ years of experience currently living in regional Australia. Taught by her mother and wonderful grandmother “Mama”, she fell in love with crafting from a young age. When she’s not knitting, you’ll find her enjoying a cup of coffee with cream, or sharing helpful resources and tips with the online knitting community. Get to know Jodie and the team on our meet the team page.

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