How To Make Polyester Fabric

Knowing how to make polyester fabric involves using polymers and chemistry. If you didn't do well in chemistry or blew the class off totally, the basics for making polyester include going to the store and buying something with a polyester label. If you're interested in how oil is transformed into polyester, read on. If you plan to make some fabric at home, you'll need some basic equipment including;

  • industrial chemistry lab
  • industrial gas-capturing system
  • professional polymer-making suit and protection equipment
  • ethylene glycol (the amount depends on the amount of fabric you want to make)
  • dimethyl terephthalate (match the amount to the glycol mixture)
  • extruder
  • fabric mill 
  1. Put on your polyester-making garb. If you're interested in how to make polyester fabric, you'll need some serious clothing, respiratory protection and eye covers. Gassing polymers involves serious gasses, so buy professional protection equipment. At this point, ask yourself if you can't make the fabric in the local store work for you. If not, pick up some used plastic milk bottles, if you're into recycling, or purchase some fresh ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate from the neighborhood ethylene glycol store. 
  2. Whip up some polyester. Melt your milk bottles, then separate them into the ingredients and clean the impurities from the mixture. If you knew where to buy the polymer-making suit and knew where to rent a professional chemistry lab, melting and separating the milk plastic shouldn't be a major problem. If you prefer to go with the fresh plastic then, mix up your fresh ingredients. Ethylene glycol and dimethyl terephthalate when mixed create biterephthalate. Mix up a batch that matches with the amount needed for your fabric. 
  3. Heat your mix. Turn on the chemical stove and heat the mix to approximately 270 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 132 degrees for chefs cooking on the Celsius system. Stir the mixture to make polyethylene trephthalate, also known as PET. This is the basic product needed to make your fabric.
  4. Next up, use your extruder to make PET threads. Again, people with an extruder know how to use it. If you have a lab, but don't have an extruder, ask a friend to hook you up with one or ask for a favor to have your PET material made into threads by a friend of a friend. After all, if you have access to a chemical lab, that should be a good trade for making your fibers.
  5. Weave your threads into fiber. How to make polyester fabric in this step requires some thought. Do you want a blend of natural and polyester or just straight polyester fabric? Do you want a light or heavy fabric? Think about the purpose of the fabric and decide accordingly. Take the fibers and type of weave and make up your fabric. Most commercial fabric weaving companies require a minimum order of thousands of yards, so plan to use your polyester fabric on everything you and your friends own. If you own an extruder, you might even own a commercial fabric weaving machine or know where to borrow one.
  6. Pick up your fabric bolts and get sewing. Polyester thread is best for use with polyester fabric. 



If you're looking up how to make polyester fabric, just remember that it takes thousands of years for the plastic used in fabric to biodegrade. Make sure the fabric is something you'll want to wear for years, thousands of them. 



Kadolph, Sara and Anna Langford. "Textile." 1998.

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