What Is A Natural Fiber?
Gazelle Natural Fiber Clothing store specializes in eco friendly clothing. Located in Portland Oregon, we are the place to buy natural fiber clothing.
Spun from the fibers of the flax plant, linen is cool and lightweight, although it can be made in a winter weight as well. It is durable, gets softer the more you wash it, and doesn’t create lint. However linen does wrinkle very easily.
Spun from the cocoons of the silk worm, silk is a thin soft fabric that can be dyed in many beautiful patterns. Although it is the thinnest natural fiber, silk is actually quite warm. This is because the fibers are very close together and do not allow much air through. Silk fibers are strong, but the patterns and dyes are often delicate and need to be handled with care.
Spun from the coats of several different kinds of animals, wool can be warmer than cotton, or softer and more luxurious than silk. The most common type of wool comes from sheep. This wool is durable, and has been used for centuries in coats, gloves, socks, and hats. It is a great insulator, and the fibers are semi water resistant. This wool can also be boiled, which tightens the fibers and greatly increases its water repelling ability. More exotic types of wool come from a variety of animals. Cashmere comes from a specific type of goat, angora comes from angora rabbits. We can also get specialty wools from alpaca, muskoxen, llamas, and even camels. Many of these exotic wools are famous for their softness and warmth, but require more care than standard wool.
Spun from the fibers of the cannabis plant, hemp has been a controversial fabric in the US. However it has been used around the world since well before the start of recorded history, and is one of the most durable natural fabrics. Hemp is naturally mold and mildew resistant, and retains its shape better than most fabrics. For these reasons it makes wonderful bags, and jackets. It is also more durable and more breathable than cotton, and can be used for all kinds of clothing.
Spun from a plant in the nettle family, ramie is durable and naturally stain resistant. It is stronger than cotton, and the fibers are very absorbent, making it a good choice for summer clothing. This fabric has been used since ancient Egypt, but the production can be costly, so it is not well known in the US.
Leather is made from the hide of many different animals, usually cattle and deer. It is strong, flexible, and weather resistant, which makes it good for items that take a lot of wear and tear like purses and gloves.
Many people don’t think that rayon is a natural fiber because it is more processed than other natural fibers. However rayon is spun from wood pulp, which is natural, as opposed to polyester which is spun from plastic. Because wood pulp fibers are so short, they must be spun mechanically. There are many different types of rayon, some of which we will explain below.
Also called bemberg rayon, cupro is a very soft slik-like type of rayon. It dyes as beautifully as silk, but is more durable, and less expensive.
Like viscose, modal is a very soft rayon that can resemble either cotton or silk. It is made specifically from the pulp of the beech tree. It is comfortable, water absorbent, and doesn’t shrink, but it is prone to pilling, so it should be washed with care.
Rayon from Bamboo
Bamboo is the newest in the rayon family. It is also the softest most luxurious of the rayons. It is also the most environmentally friendly because bamboo is so easy to grow.
Tencel is a very smooth flat type of rayon, which is processed organically. It is usually much thicker and warmer than other types, and doesn’t drape like other rayons. It is more comfortable, breathable, and durable than cotton, but also more expensive.