Fabric 101

In the world of everything polyester, exploring new and unique fabrics may sound scary and daunting to you.  However, there are so many new innovations in textiles these days that it’s so exciting to see and learn about!  At least for me…but I’m like a kid in a candy store when it comes to fabric. Oh the possibilities!

Tru’s first collection is all made out of modal and I realised that many people hadn’t heard of it, so I wanted to give you all a brief intro to some great sustainable fabrics to look out for and to know that there is more out there than just polyester.  There are many harmful chemicals used in the production of polyester, including carcinogens, and if emitted to water and air untreated, can cause significant environmental damage. Even within polyester there are sustainable options like polyester made from recycled plastic bottles!  Who would have thought?

Modal:

Modal is an extremely soft fabric that is made out of sustainable beechwood trees.  It’s produced from renewable cellulosic plants  and the fibre is biodegradable.The pulp is extracted from the tree and processed into a fibre. It is incredibly luxurious and silky smooth. Some of its very appealing properties is that it’s shrink resistant and unlikely to fade, so colours stay sharp and bright and graying does not occur as with 100% cotton textiles. It’s also moisture wicking and is 50 % more absorbent than cotton. Micromodal is a very fine fabric and is even lighter weight than regular modal.  It is used a lot in underwears so next time you’re hunting for undergarments check the fabric tags because micromodal feels like heaven!  Tru Modal Tunic/Dress

Trhee-Girls-1800-x-1000

Tencel/lyocell:

This is what you would call a superfabric! The next generation of cellulosic fibres. It is made from sustainably farmed Eucalyptus trees. The generic name is Lyocell and Tencel is a brand name of this fibre that belongs to an Austrian company called Lenzing.  One of the biggest benefits of lyocell is its ability to absorb excess liquid (perspiration) and quickly release it into the air. It does this while being resistant to developing odors. Tencel controls and regularly absorbs moisture, 50% more than cotton and even more than wool. By contrast synthetics do not absorb moisture. It’s a particularly environmentally friendly fabric due to the closed-loop chemical process.  The ground pulp used for Tencel is treated in what is known as a closed loop process in which these solvents are recycled with a recovery rate of 99.5%. The tiny amount of remaining emissions is decomposed in biological purification plants.  Tencel is very soft and smooth and is a great fabric all year round, but especially in the summer or in warmer climates, as it will keep you cool! You will notice it being used in denim a lot these days.  Tencel top I purchased from Cloth & Stone.

tencel2

Organic Cotton:

I dedicated a whole blog post previously just to this one fabric as there is a lot to say about it. You can read about it here: Organic Cotton vs Conventional Cotton…what’s the diff?  The gist, crops aren’t treated with pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and Genetically Modified Organisms, also uses less water than conventional cotton, so better for the environment, safer for farmers to farm and for people to wear…is it worth the extra expense? Absolutely yes!

Recycled Materials:

The creativity and innovation seen in recycled materials is so incredible and is only just getting started.  With the onset of limited natural resources, textile innovation has reached new heights.  Years ago, would you have ever thought that after finishing a bottle of evian, you could be wearing it also?  Well, now it is reality and gives you more reason to always recycle those bottles rather than throw them in the trash.  Just to give you an idea of what recycled PET fabric looks like, here’s a pair of recycled polyester yoga leggings I purchased that I love by Threads for Thought:

yoga-pants2.jpg

Although it is wonderful that our recycled plastic bottles are being recycled into textiles that can be used as garments, we still have to be aware that millions of these water bottles are polluting our overcrowded landfills, forests, lakes/oceans and don’t make it into the recycling bin..  So, the best course of action is to always use a reusable water bottle!

There are are also recycled cotton and recycled nylon fabrics as well. So, next time you have worn out that old chocolate milk stained shirt, or socks with holes in them, think twice before putting them in the garbage!  Charities like Goodwill, work with aftermarket textile recyclers who use old textiles for things like wiping and polishing cloths. They also turn many unusable pieces into fibres for things like upholstery, insulation and furniture stuffing.  As you can see, there are many uses for unwanted textiles so let’s keep them out of the landfills!

What has your experience been with sustainable textiles and which ones are you drawn to?

 

 

 

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