About the Fibers
We want to know where our fibres come from, how they are made and be able to choose the most natural and sustainable materials we can.
Heres the low down on how our favourite materials are made.
Cotton fabric is one of the most commonly used fabrics in the world. Cotton is chemically organic, which means that it does not contain any synthetic compounds. Cotton fabric is derived from the fluffy fibers surrounding the seeds of cotton plants.
De-seeded cotton is cleaned, carded (fibers aligned), spun, and woven into a fabric that is also referred to as cotton. Cotton is easily spun into yarn as the cotton fibers flatten, twist, and naturally interlock for spinning.
Cotton fabric alone accounts for fully half of the fiber worn in the world.
Hemp is made in much the same way linen is made. The fibres from the inner bark of the hemp plant are harvested and undergo the process called retting. Retting is a process that separates the fibres of the plant from the bark. Those fibres are then spun together to create a continuous string that can be woven on a loom to create a textile.
Fabrics that are made from the inner bark of plants are among the strongest and most durable fabrics!
Linen is a sustainable fabric made from flax fibers that are found in the stalk of the flax plant. The flax plant has been used to make fiber for over 6,000 years, making it one of the oldest cultivated plants in human history. To extract the fibers from the inner bark of the plant, the plants are either cut or pulled by hand from the ground. Pulling up the plant by the root increases the length and quality of the fiber produced.
Creating linen textile is a laborious, many stepped process. The more time and care taken in the preparatory steps, the higher quality the linen is.
One very important step is called retting. The process of retting can be achieved in a variety of ways, but it typically involves prolonged exposure of the stalk to moisture. The best linens are those that are retted in natural rivers and streams.
Silk is a fabric that has been used for thousands of years and little has changed during that time in how it's made. Silk is made from the cocoons of silk worms. After 6 - 8 weeks of munching on mulberry leaves, a silk worm is ready to make a cocoon. A silk worm creates its cocoon by rotating its body in a figure-8 movement around 300,000 times – a process which takes around 3 to 8 days. Each silkworm produces just one single strand of silk, which measures about 100 metres long.
The cocoons are placed into boiling water in order to soften and dissolve the gum that is holding the cocoon together. This ensures that there is no damage to the continuity of each thread. Each thread is then carefully reeled from the cocoon in individual long threads, which are then wound on a reel.
The production of wool begins with the shearing of wool-bearing animals. To make wool, producers spin the sheared wool and spin the strands into yarn. They then weave this yarn into garments or other forms of textiles. Wool is known for its durability and thermally insulating properties; depending on the type of hair that producers use to make wool, this fabric may benefit from the natural insulative effects that keep the animal that produced the hair warm throughout the winter.
Throughout history, wool and cotton have been the most used textiles in the world!