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Article 44 - May 23, 2011
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How Fabric is Made - PLANT BASED FABRICS

How Fabric is Made: Plant based fabrics, Here's a photo of a cotton plant.

By Jessica Lynn Harris

Here's a photo of a cotton plant before it is harvested and then turned into fibers & fabric.


     Silk, satin, brocade, and chiffon...cotton, homespun, and wool...there are so many fabric types that itís hard to know exactly what distinguishes one from the next. This article discusses how is fabric made, what are the different types of fabric, and what are various fabrics can be used for. Understanding fabric types will prove to be useful not only for garment construction, but purchases clothing as well. Knowing what fabric drapes well, is of good quality, and works in certain weather will help you to be a more choosey, fashion savvy buyer.

     For simplicityís sake, I have covered only widely used fabrics and divided fabric types into three different categories based on the materials they are made from. This week will cover plant-based fabrics, followed by animal-based fabrics and synthetic fabrics in our upcoming issues.


1.     Cotton. Cotton is a fluffy fiber grown from a seed in warm regions that is cultivated then picked to make any types of fabric. These textiles include corduroy (cotton woven in a cord like pattern), flannel, terrycloth (used for towels and robes), denim (to make jeans), seersucker (lightweight striped or checked cotton), and muslin. Most cotton is great for warmer weather and is the fabric most used for quilting. Recently there has been cotton shortages all over the world which has caused an increase in price per yard.

2.     Flax. Flax is again a seed based plant, which must first be threshed, which means to remove the seed from the fiber. Flax is used to make delicate, and often expensive fabrics, such lace, cambric, damask, and linen. I live in the north east coast of the United States, and flax is easy to grow in this climate. Check out upcoming articles on Love to Sewís greater website to learn how to grow your own flax and turn it into fabric.

3.     Bamboo. Bamboo is becoming an increasingly popular fiber for clothing in the Western world, as a new version of bamboo fabric created at Beijing University is lauded for itís breathability, hypoallergenic qualities, antibacterial properties due to a substance known as kun, eco-friendliness, and versatility. Its softness has been compared to that of cashmere. However, bamboo can be used to make rayon--a partially synthetic fabric that uses many chemicals in the production process--and this is not eco-friendly. Beware promising labels and check the small print for fabric types. If the product lists rayon and other synthetic fabrics, youíre not getting the eco-friendly, higher quality product that the label claims.  



Chic Weekly: on-line Fashion & Sewing Magazine
Founder & Publisher: Judi Harris
Editor in Chief: Jessica Lynn Harris
Art & Photo Editor: Andrew DiMaio
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copyright 2010-2011 Love To Sew
Article 44 May 23, 2011




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