Armour Fabric Choices was: Linen fencing armour
- Linen is a fabulous fabric for heat because it wicks moisture, because
it is from cellulose. Cotton on the other hand is from the flower and
adsorbs moisture then tries to hold on to it. So linen draws moisture
away and allows it to evaporate, where cotton sucks up moisture and
let's it sit against you still. This also means that linen is more
likely to let air through after you sweat in it, where cotton will not
because there is enough moisture in it to block the flow of air.
Polyester and silk neither tend to wick moisture or adsorb moisture,
it just leaves sweat on your skin, leaving you uncomfortable and hot
(remember we perspire to allow evaporating sweat to cool us down).
That all said, if there are too many layers of linen and the moisture
can't get to the surface, you lose the advantage of linen as far as
evaporating sweat. So you are more likely better off with fewer
thinner layers than many heavier layers, no matter what the fabric is.
As far as making safe armour, the most important factor to how well a
fabric passes is the complexity of weave in the fabric. So a complex
Jacquard does better than a twill weave which does better than a tabby
weave. The second most important factor is the weight of the fabric,
then the content of the fabric. So if you can find say a light
cotton/poly, complex jacquard for your shell it may pass the drop test
with a medium weight twill linen lining, and the heat issue would be
fairly good (this is my own experience here). Of course what would be
best is linen jacquard, but good luck finding it, linen usually only
comes in tabby weave, and so in my experience does very poor on the
drop test compared to any jacquard weave. One of the worst for the
drop test in my experience though is cotton canvas (usually tabby
weave) and cotton duck as well. They may feel heavy but they do very
poorly on the drop test. The magic combo I find is cotton/poly
"tabling" (light weight jacquard) and a mid weight cotton twill. Then
I usually line it with linen for comfort...
~Wilhelm, tailor and marshal...