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Conversational Threads

Emerging Fabrics

nora330 | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I am Nora330 (there are so many of us) who sews in Houston. I recently sewed with a new fabric, a bamboo cotton blend that is wonderful to work with. I was extolling this to a designer and he said that he is working with some emerging fabrics that are made with corn and recycled polyester! He also said that it takes about five years for this currently high end stuff to get to the retail market. Have any of you worked or seen these new fabricsr? Where can they be purchased?


  1. msewing1 | | #1

    Hi! I think that is soo cool that fabirics can be made with those materials! I would also like to know where they can be purchased and how easy they are to sew. Thanks! TTYL

  2. fiberfan | | #2

    Ingeo (from corn) and ecospun (recycled pop bottles) have been available to spinners for at least a few years.  I haven't spun either.  I have spun bamboo and soy protein fiber (aka soy silk).  I don't like to spin either. I do have 2 cones of bamboo weaving yarn, I just don't like spinning bamboo.


    1. BernaWeaves | | #4


      I'm also a spinner and weaver, and I'm less than impressed with corn fiber, recycled pop bottles fiber, soy silk, and bamboo.  I'm underwhelmed.  I've also bought readymade garments from these fibers and I was not impressed.  I returned them all, because they did not wash or wear well.   So far, the only "new" fiber I love is Tencel (aka Lyocell).


      1. fiberfan | | #7

        I hope I like bamboo since I have 2 cones of yarn in 2 different blues - I was thinking about shadow weave when I bought the yarn.  Contributing factors to buying the bamboo were comments from others on one of the weaving lists and the softness of a bamboo jersey swatch I ordered last year.  The knit was too lightweight for a t-shirt but so very soft.

        I have only woven a sample with tencel but have lots of plans.  One of the members of my weaving guild wove a tencel/wool scarf with a multi-color tencel and a solid wool.  The scarf had the incredible drape of tencel and the warmth of wool.  After feeling her scarf, a tencel/wool shawl was added to my WIMs (works in mind).

        An "old" yarn I like is rayon chenille.  Beaming it is a pain but I love the results.  I wove 2 scarves and 2 shawls last year and have another shawl on the loom.  I love how soft it is after wet finishing.  A guild member has a jacket she made from rayon chenille.  That is another WIM.

        What are your favorite fibers for spinning and weaving?


    2. Gloriasews | | #6

      What didn't you like about the bamboo & soy fibers?  Was it the feel of them?  Did they break often?  Please tell us.


      1. fiberfan | | #8

        The fibers feel sticky and don't move smoothly as my fingers prepare the fiber for the twist.  I feel like I am fighting the fiber.  With a new fiber, I expected a learning curve but this didn't get better as I continued to spin.  Spinning is usually so relaxing - I don't like spinning fibers that are frustrating.


        1. Gloriasews | | #10

          Very interesting - thanks for the explanation.  Does is feel kind of coarse like the old, multi-fibrous Phentex?  (Does it roughen your hands like that)?  I wonder what causes the stickiness - have you been able to find out more about it?


          1. fiberfan | | #11

            I don't know what Phentex felt like.  Both fibers felt very smooth to my touch but didn't draft smoothly.  The stickiness was the best way I could describe how it felt like the fibers were fighting my attempts to draft them. 


            Edited 1/18/2008 7:47 pm ET by fiberfan

          2. Gloriasews | | #12

            The old Phentex (I still use it for mixing with other yarns for soles in crocheted slippers) is coarse with many fibers (not twisted) & it catches on every little bit of roughness you may have on your hands.  It's NOT soft & cuddly.


  3. Teaf5 | | #3

    Please let us know how your garments made of bamboo work out; some RTW things I purchased recently were soft and comfortable, but wore holes after the first day--not good!

  4. Gloriasews | | #5

    Well, I received bamboo socks for Christmas and, so far, so good.  They are very soft, but not thick, they are warm & they washed beautifully.  Now we'll see how they wear.  That's interesting what the other posters said about bamboo fabrics, as you can now get sheets, towels, bath mats, etc., as well as clothing.  Guess time (& wear) will tell.


    1. Teaf5 | | #13

      My first test of bamboo socks were that they were incredibly soft and warm, but I wore through them in a single wearing.  I darned a couple pairs, but gave up after the whole front part was more cotton/poly handstitching than soft bamboo!

      1. starzoe | | #14

        I recently read an article about bamboo yarn and fabric. Apparently, although they are organic, they have to go through multiple processes and turn out to be not at all ecologically sound and contribute to greenhouse gases and global warming.

        Edited 1/20/2008 9:13 pm ET by starzoe

      2. Gloriasews | | #15

        I'll keep an eye on my bamboo socks, then, as I tend to wear out my right heel first.  So far, I've worn the socks 7 times and, so far, so good.  But you're right - they are really warm & soft, so I hope mine will wear longer.  My wook mix socks don't wear that long, either - same heel wearing out all the time.  I must walk funny :)


  5. MaryinColorado | | #9

    http://www.equilter.com has some of the new fabrics.  They are advertised in Threads and other sewing/quilting magazines and are in Boulder, Colorado.  I have ordered from them and they have excellent customer service and quality goods.  I love thier rayon bali batiks but haven't tried the bamboo fabrics yet.  I know they have them as I get thier enewsletter regarding thier sales and they have a forum too, but it is a very strict one.  Mary

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