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How to Care For Your Woolens

How to Care For Your Woolens

When it comes to garment fibers, wool and cashmere are always on the delicate end of the spectrum. Especially for fibers come from sheep, goats, alpaca, and llama,great care must be taken to ensure that the cleaning process doesn't damage them. 

Taking care of your woolens can be a challenge, but there are some important steps you can follow to keep them looking their best. In this blog post, we’ll highlight some tips and tricks for keeping your woolens clean and fresh-smelling so you always look good and feel great!

Why Wool is good?

Wool is a natural fiber that comes from sheep. Wool is good for the environment because it creates less pollution than other fabrics. It also insulates better than most fabrics, so it's great for winter wear. Some people are allergic to wool, but there are ways to keep your woolens looking and feeling great even if you're an allergic person.

How to wash wool clothes?

Wool and cashmere garments should ideally be hand-washed, but they can be machine-washed on the delicate cycle with garment-specific shampoo. Avoid using chlorine bleach, as even dilute solutions will cause permanent yellowing, color loss, stiffening, and weakening of wool. Furthermore, never dry any wool or cashmere garment in an automatic dryer—you will end up with a shrunken garment that is frequently impossible to restore.

Wool is a natural fiber, so it needs to be washed differently than synthetics. Fill your machine with cold or lukewarm water and use a gentle detergent. It should be washed in small batches and turn the clothes inside out, and use the gentle cycle.

Remember to put the garment in a mesh bag to protect it from harsh agitation.Following the product label's directions, add wool and cashmere shampoo to the machine. 

What to do with sweat stains?

Woolens are often susceptible to sweat stains, especially if worn for activities like sports. It is important to start this process as soon as possible. As soon as the stain is noticed, it should be gently blotched with a wet cloth. If that doesn't work, then the item may need to be soaked in cold water or detergent. Finally, once it is clean it should be laid flat to dry.

Storing Wool and Cashmere Clothes

Wool and cashmere garments should be stored in a cool, dry place. Heat and humidity, such as those found in an attic or basement, can harm the fabric. The items should be folded carefully and placed in a breathable cotton garment bag for the most part. Wrap the pieces in acid-free tissue paper and add silica gel sachets for extra protection. Plastic storage bags, which trap moisture and increase the risk of mildew and discoloration, should be avoided.

Wool and cashmere clothing should not be hung in storage
because it will lose its shape. Jackets and suits, on the other hand, can be hung with a solid, structured hanger.

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Viscose fabric – the textile made from cellulose

Viscose fabric – the textile made from cellulose

Viscose fabric is made from cellulosic fibers which might make you wonder, what is a cellulose fiber?

To get a better understanding of what is a cellulose fiber, we will look at what cellulosic fibers are used for and how is viscose made. We will also explore the types of natural cellulosic fibers and man-made cellulose fibers like viscose and rayon, as well as the difference between rayon and viscose.

So what is a Cellulose Fiber?Cellulose Fiber

Cellulose or cellulosic fibers are structured from a starch-like carbohydrate, called cellulose. Cellulose is a fibrous material of plant origin which can be obtained from bark, wood, the leaves of plants or other plant based materials.The main application of cellulosic fibers are in the textile industry, but they are also used as chemical filters, fiber reinforcement composites and in the medical field.

Categories of Cellulosic Fibers

There are two main categories of cellulosic fibers – those that are processed using only natural materials and those that are man-made, chemically produced.

  1. Natural cellulosic fibers – include linen, cotton, hemp, sisal and ramie cellulosic fibers(more about them below)

  2. Man-made cellulose fibers – viscose and rayon are the main man-made cellulose fibers (more about them below). The cellulose comes from plants that are processed into pulp. It is created by dissolving natural materials, such as wood pulp and cellulose and then regenerated by extrusion and precipitation. The fibers are extruded in the same way that synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester are made, but the cellulosic fibers are produced by regenerating dissolved forms of cellulose.

1. Classification of Natural Cellulosic Fibers

Plant or vegetable fibers are classified according to their source within plants. So natural cellulosic fibers can be divided into these three groups according to the origin in the plant.

1.Seed Fibers. Seed fibers are the most important plant fiber and is the source of cotton. There are more than 250,00 species of plants that produce seed or hair fibers, but less than one percent are used for commercial purposes and these are the main ones.cellulosic fibers from cotton

  • is the most commonly used natural cellulose fiber. The fibers grow from the seeds in the seedpod and each seedpod contains seven or eight seeds. Each seed could have up to 20,000 fibers growing from it.

  • Coir: is a stiff fiber that comes from the husks of coconuts. The fibrous mass sits between the outer shell and husk of the coconuts. It is normally used to make highly durable indoor and outdoor mats, rugs, ropes and tiles.

  • Kapok: Kapok fiber is soft, lightweight and hollow and comes from the seed of the Indian or Java kapok tree. As the fiber breaks down easily, it makes it difficult to spin into yarns. It is used as stuffing in pillows and fiberfill in other bedding products. Kapok is very buoyant and used to be used as a stuffing for life jackets and the mattresses on cruise ships.

  • Milkweed:the properties of milkweed are very similar to those of kapok.

2.Bast or Stem Fibers: Bast or stem fibers form the fibrous bundles in the inner bark or bast of the stems of the plant. These are soft fibers that are suitable for use in textiles.

  • Flax: Flax is one of the oldest textile fibers and linen fabric is made from the flax fiber.

  • Bamboo: Bamboo fibers come from the stem of the bamboo plant. Plants require very little water and no insecticides or pesticides are needed during the cultivation. This makes bamboo a sustainable and eco friendly fiber.

  • Hemp: Hemp is very similar to flax and the fibers range in length from ninety centimeters to over four meters (three to fifteen feet). The growing of hemp has a low environmental impact as it does not require pesticides. It produces 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax on the same amount of land. Hemp plants can be used to extract pollutants like zinc and mercury from the soil. Hemp fibers are used to make clothing, ropes, household linens and paper, while the seeds have medicinal and culinary uses.

  • Ramie: Ramie fibers are whiter and softer than flax and are ten to fifteen centimeters (four to 6 six inches) long. Although ramie is strong for a natural fiber, it lacks elasticity, resiliency and elongation potential. It does not retain colour and dyes well, unless it is dry-cleaned. It is resistant to mildew, insects and shrinkage. Ramie is used for clothing, table and bed linens, paper, ropes and window treatments.

  • Jute: Jute is one of the cheapest textile fibers, but also one of the weakest cellulosic fibers. Jute has poor elongation and elasticity, it has low resistance to sunlight and mildew and is not colourfast. It is used to produce bags for sugar and coffee, carpet backing, wall coverings and rope. Burlap is made from jute.

Leaf Fibers: Leaf fibers run lengthwise through the leaves of monocotyledonous plants (plants that have a single or mono embryonic leaf) and are also referred to as hard fibers.

2. Man-made Cellulosic Fibers

The main source of man-made cellulosic fibers is wood pulp, which usually comes from pine, spruce, or hemlock trees and also cotton linters. Cotton linters are the fine, silky, curly fibers that adhere to the cotton seeds after ginning and is used for cellulose.

Viscose fabric and rayon fabric are both manufactured from cellulose fibers that come from wood pulp. Viscose and rayon are produced in a number of ways, but regardless of the manufacturing process, the basic raw material is cellulose.

The difference between Rayon and Viscose

There is not a substantial difference between rayon and viscose and the two terms are often used interchangeably. Viscose is a type of rayon which is made from viscose, but it is also an alternative name for rayon. 

Rayon fabric

It is the terminology which makes it all very confusing.

The term viscose comes from the word viscous, which is the liquid state of the spinning solution. The viscose process is the most common way in which rayon is produced these days.

Properties of Viscose Fabric

  • Viscose fabric can be produced at a relatively low cost and is commonly Viscose / linen fabric

  • used as a substitute for cotton because it is often cheaper to produce.

  • It is breathable and highly absorbent, making it comfortable to wear.

  • Viscose fabric drapes well because of the lightness.

  • It is easy to dye and retains colour well.

  • Viscose can be blended with other cellulosic fibers or synthetic fibers to make different textiles.

Some of the disadvantages are that viscose doesn’t age well, with yellowing of the fabric and pilling in areas of heavy wearing. Viscose is not as strong as natural cotton or flax, specially when it is wet, so gentle washing is required.

Other types of viscose fabric or rayon are modal and lyocell.

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The article is written by Liné Cowley at ecoworldline.com

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Linen Fabric and Flax Cultivation

Linen Fabric and Flax Cultivation

Linen fabric is a textile that is made from the fibers of the flax plant. Linen is a natural cellulose fiber and comes from the inside of the stalks of the flax plant. Flax is an annual herb and is grown as a food and also a fiber crop. It is grown in warm moist climates around the world and has been cultivated for more than 6,000 years.

So Where Does Linen Fabric Come From?

Flax that is used for textile production is known as linen in Western countries. The stalks are used making linen fabric, while the seeds are used as a food source and the oil is known as linseed oil.

Flax fiber is extracted from the bast beneath the surface of the stem of the plant. Linen fibers are lustrous, strong and flexible and absorbent. They are stronger and driers quicker than cotton, but are less elastic. To make linen fabric is a laborious process but it produces a textile that is cool and fresh to wear in hot and humid climates.

Linen Striped Dress

Flax Cultivation

Flax is grown like a grain crop with many plants growing close together. Farming flax requires few pesticides and fertilizers. Plants can grow 10 to 15 centimeters in height after 8 weeks of sowing. It grows several centimeters per day and can reach 70 to 80 centimeters within 50 days.

Each plant makes one or more erect, slender stems with small blue and white flowers near the top of the stems. The plant flowers for three to four weeks, but each flower lasts for less than a day.

Flax Plants

For fiber production flax is harvested after about 100 days when the stems are about meter high. This is approximately a month after flowering and two weeks after the seeds form. It is best to harvest when the base of the plants start turning yellow, as the fiber will be underdeveloped and the seeds not useful if the plant is still green. Once the plant turns brown, the fiber will degrade.

Harvesting Of Flax For Linen Fabric

Harvesting can be either mechanical or manual.

1.Mechanical: A combine harvester is used to cut either the whole plant or just the heads to then extract the seeds. When harvesting flax for linen fabric, a specialized flax harvester is used to harvest the plants. It looks a bit like a combine harvester, but it has a flax puller rather than a cutting head. So the plants are pulled out of the ground instead of cutting them.

Flax Harvest

To avoid getting grass and weeds in the flax, the plants are turned and gripped by belts about 20 to 25 centimeters off the ground. The belts then pull the entire plant out the ground so that the roots can also be used and therefore have longer fibers. The plants are passed over the harvester and left in the field for retting.

2. Manual: instead of cutting the flax plants, they are pulled up by hand with the roots to increase the length of the fibers. Depending on climatic conditions, the plants are left to ret for between two weeks and two months.

Processing Of Flax 

In order to retrieve the fibers, the woody stem and inner pith (called pectin), which hold the fibers together in a clump, must be rotted away. Flax that is harvested for seeds go through a process of threshing to remove the seeds from the plants. Here we will be looking at the processes for linen fabric production.

Flax seeds

Retting is the process of rotting away the inner stalk while leaving the outer parts intact, so the straw or course outer stem is remaining. There are different methods of retting with pond retting being the fastest but generally believed to produce a low quality. Field retting is considered to provide the highest quality fiber and with the least amount of pollution.

The flax fibers are bound to the straw by pectin. Because of alternating rain and sun during the retting process, an enzymatic action takes place which degrades the pectin and enables the flax fibers to be extracted. The flax fibers must be separated from the stalk before they can be spun into linen.

“Dressing” the flax requires three processes to remove the straw from the fibers.

Heckle for Linen

  1. Breaking: The usable flax fibers are separated from the stems by pulling the stems through a hackle and / or breaking the plants by beating them. This way the flax is “broken”, breaking the straw into small short bits to remove the straw without harming the long flax fibers.
  2. Scutching: The process of scraping the outer straw from the fiber is called scutching. The stems are then pulled through hackles.
  3. Heckling: Hackles are like combs that remove the straw and shorter fibers from the long fibers. A heckle is a bed of nails through which the fibers are passed.

The fibers can then be spun and woven into linen fabric.

Benefits Of Linen Fabric

– Linen is highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat.

– Linen fabric will remove perspiration from the skin quickly, thereby allowing the skin to breathe and air to circulate around the body. This makes it hypoallergenic and suitable for allergy sufferers to use.

– It is naturally antiseptic and kills bacteria and naturally insect repellent.

  •  Clothes made from linen fabric provide coolness during hot weather making the wearer more comfortable. When it is cold, pure linen fabric will save natural body heat.
  • – Flax fiber is the strongest natural fiber, making linen fabric durable and long-lasting.
  • – Linen fabric is biodegradable and recyclable so doesn’t need to go into landfill sites, thus reducing the carbon footprint.
  • – Flax plants are resilient and can grow in poor soil requiring very little water.
  • – Cultivation of the flax plant is far more sustainable than cotton, putting linen fabric inherently under the label of sustainable fashion.
  • – Caring for linen fabric is easy as it can be hand or machine washed. Line dry your linen and ironing it is optional. Linen fabric will become softer with each wash. Linen fabric is renowned for it’s fashionable crumpled look.

Alternative Uses Of Flax:

Linen fabric is widely used for clothing, bed linen, tablecloths, napkins and other household items, but flax also has additional uses:

  • As a raw material in high quality paper such as banknotes.
  • Laboratory paper like blotting paper and filter papers.
  • Paper for rolling cigarettes
  • Teabags

Flax straw that has a poor quality and is not good enough for flax fibers for the production of linen fabric, is baled. These can then be sold as bio fuel or used to build shelters for farm animals.

Almost all of the flax plant can be used. With the increased demand in the health food sector for flax seeds and linseed oil, there is even less that goes to waste.

Check out AROLORA Dairy Linen Collection made by 100% Linen.

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The article is written by  at ecoworldline

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What is Ramie Fabric?

What is Ramie Fabric?

Have you ever wondered what material is ramie? Or what is ramie made of?
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