What do you think about the Biblical rule of no mixed fabrics?

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    I often hear people use this as an example of why the Bible is outdated/not to be taken as a whole, but honestly I kind of get it? Like even before I heard that this was part of the Bible I actually found myself drawn most to clothes with a 100% ____ tag. I think part of that is my longstanding aversion to plastic of any kind, and right now most blends I see are like cotton and something plastic.

    I’ve heard that the reason for this in the Bible was not that mixed fabrics were wicked, but that they were actually too Godly for common people to wear, and were reserved for the priestly class. Maybe it’s whatever draws me to minimalism, some sort of worldly asceticism if you will, that makes me really like this Biblical command.


    Edit: I know this is a really dumb question, it’s just something that fascinates me for some reason and I wanted to hear people’s takes on it.



    Textile history coming through!

    First of all, fabrics at the time were all woven. There were knitting-like systems, but they were always used to make complete shaped garments. Woven fabrics are made from warp threads, which are put on the loom before weaving begins, and weft/woof threads, which are the “over-under-over-under” threads.

    Before the modern era, the only way people could make blended fabrics is if they used one fiber for the warp and another for the weft/woof. These fibers are going to react very differently to essentially any kind of physical or chemical stimulus. Laundering such a fabric could completely ruin it because what’s good for wool is not good for linen. Wool’s water-resistant properties are destroyed when they’re mixed with linen. While blends existed before blended yarns, they were typically used sparingly for specific purposes.

    So the no-blend rule actually had some sense behind it at the time. Maybe not now, since most people think it looks completely arbitrary, but people weren’t being wholly ridiculous by doing that.



    I think we need to remember that they were discussing the mixing of linen and wool, not artificial fibres. I too tend to avoid polyester blends, but that is because I don’t like polyester. The Bible is not discouraging corrupting a ‘good’ fibre with a ‘bad’, but stipulating that in combination they are bad.

    This fits within a collection of rules about avoiding mixing things, like planting multiple crops in the same field. From my reading, it was part of the avoidance of idolatry. I gather that they may have been trying to avoid practices of other communities around them which were seen as superstitious. Maybe an identity thing too? I don’t know how that fits into with the head priests being allowed to combine; maybe he is meant to be above idolatry?

    It is discussed in the document below, a translation of the medieval Jewish philosopher, Maimonides. However, it’s very long!




    Obviously it’s fine as a rule for yourself, the outdated-ness is the idea of it being a universal rule that should apply to anyone else.



    Orthodox Jew here!

    So, first, the rule only applies to combinations of wool and linen, not to any other blends. Second, I do follow it, as do other Orthodox Jews.

    It’s mostly not a big deal. I usually want wool to be warm and linen to help me cool down, so a mix of the two doesn’t make that much sense to me. And they’re rarely used together.

    The only time I find it annoying is when I’m knitting. Bulky wool yarn is pleasant to work with, but rather too warm for many purposes, so a linen blend sounds really nice for that.



    I think there’s a time and place for 100% fabrics but adding other fabrics sometimes adds heft where heft is needed, or a drapiness where drapiness is needed or a hardier fabric when that is needed.

    I know some anthropologists believe that a lot of the rules about food and crops etc. come from having done those things and experienced disasters that may have been caused by/correlated with those things (for example some disease in x animal caused lots of folks to die/get very sick and they were like ‘okay we just shouldn’t eat x animal’). I buy this to some extent, though I’m not sure what disastrous thing would occur were you to mix linen and wool together other than having a fabric that might not be as hardy as wool but also might be really awful to clean/sweat in unlike linen. Idk tho.

    I was raised in a family/cultural context that makes me deeply skeptical of all rules, fashion or otherwise. I mean, I get where they come from, but I grew up learning to appreciate the grey area too much to put much stock into this or any other sweeping command about clothes or food or interpersonal interaction.



    100% is missing out some potencially great combinations.

    I love cotton and silk blends for summer tops. I love silk and wool/cashmere scarfs and jerseys. I got a linen and silk scarf which is very comfortable. Cotton and cashmere is a fantastic material for middle-season sweaters.

    some synthetics can add a lot to wearibility.

    Socks, for example, blends are usually a lot better than non blends.



    Mixed fabrics can be really great if you want to add certain other properties to a fabric. E.g. a blend of linen and rayon (or viscose/cupro/bemberg silk) adds a fluidity and drape that linen by itself does not have. It also creases far less than linen by itself. Source: am sewist.

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