NOTE: This is obviously up for interpretation. What I say is not validated anywhere, as far as I have seen. If you feel that a certain fabric is connected to a different element than what I say, you are in no way wrong. For all we know, I may be wrong as well.
Now back to your regularly scheduled program!
As a Sewing Witch, I handle fabrics on an almost daily basis. In fact we all do. We sleep with fabrics, we wash and dry ourselves with fabrics, and we clothe ourselves in fabrics. And many times, for Witches, we correspond the colors of our outfits to work certain types of magick. But have you ever considered what effect the actual fiber of fabric might have?
Fabrics are connected to the elements as well, more so the natural fabrics than the man-made ones. We wear cotton most often in the summer, and wool in the winter. Linen is most often worn with uniforms, and when you slip into something made of silk, you feel absolutely divine. Why? Well, one, it feels great. Two, fabrics do effect us. But to classify the fabrics, let’s first remove the argument of plants, because then everything is going to be Earth. (although this is valid, and most fabrics do have a bit of earth in them, simply because they are sturdy, but!)
Let’s start in the North, with Earth. Wool is a strong example of an Earth fabric. It is nice and warm, and before it was shaved off the animal to be spun into yarn that eventually was woven into a fabric that was then cut up and sewn together to make that sweater you are now wearing, it was that animal’s shield against the elements. (don’t feel too bad, they grow them back quickly). As well, wool is about the most stubborn of fabrics you will ever find. This is because wool actually has these sort of scales on its surface. When you wash wool, these scales interlink, and once they’re locked, they’re locked forever. Always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS dry clean wool. You will regret it if you don’t.
Moving to the East, and Water, we find silk. But wait. Why is silk water? Silk is the fabric of passion, right? Yes, but it is also highly flammable, and is actually damaged by heat. (even laying it in the sun for too long will weaken the fibers and yellow the fabric) In fact, silk hates heat all together. If you ever have worn silk, and have started to sweat, it doesn’t do a good job of wicking away the moisture. This creates a clammy feeling. Silk is associated with water because to extract silk, you must boil the cocoons in water. As well, delicate silks get stronger each time they are put through the wash, as the fibers begin to bond together. It is also a good water fabric because of how well it resembles water.
Going South, and onto Fire, this is the only time I let a fabric’s plant dictate it’s element. Hemp is a good fire fabric because, yes, it is made from the marijuana plant. No, it is not made from the ‘fun time’ part of the plant. (those are the leaves) Hemp comes from the stem of the plant. It is also considered an eco-friendly fabric. It is similar to cotton in its make-up, but it’s a little bit more brittle, and it’s not a huge fan of creases. In fact, unless treated, this is not a good fabric for places where there’s going to be a lot of bending, as they will fray quickly. On the other hand, it handles heat very well, and is a nice, cooling fabric.
Out last cardinal direction is West, which leaves us with Air, and finally, cotton. If you look at a cotton seed, you really get an understanding of it’s connection to Air. The seed itself is surrounded by a ball of puff essentially. Get enough of them together, and it looks like snow. As well, cotton is a nice, airy fabric. It breathes very well, is flame resistant (it will catch flame if you hold it in a fire, so don’t be silly) and can be both warm and cool.