Category Archives: Blog

Facts You Should Know About Dyeing Leather

Leather furniture and bags are more than just a piece in your home or a staple in your wardrobe — they are investments. Quality leather goods can stand the test of time and be handed down to future generations, but their longevity often exceeds the stability of their color.

Fading or color loss is inevitable. It happens after frequent use, exposure to the sun, and even from the oils that rub off of people. Fact is, leather goods are prone to showing their age. At some point, they will need a new coat of dye.


Dyeing Leather: An Art

Dyeing leather is a form of art, not science. Variations in conditions, materials, and an artist’s touch will have a direct effect on the outcome. Whether you’re a hobbyist or a professional leather artisan, dyeing leather may be something new. Although it can be an intricate process, it’s nothing a bit of practice and patience can’t achieve.

Here is a list of facts that will help you understand the do’s and don’ts of dyeing leather.

Fact #1: Choosing the wrong color can ruin the material

Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and there’s nothing more frustrating than distasteful dye results. Exert effort into testing different dye colors before deciding on the right one. There are many great sources for leather dye, but be sure to use a professional and reputable source. Being unhappy with the initial results and reapplying color after color may end up destroying the leather material.



Fact #2: Using high-grade, quality dye will achieve satisfactory results

Again, leather goods are investments. Cheap dyes will not adhere to the fabric and will only waste time, money, and effort. Choosing the right kind of leather dye is as easy as consulting experts and checking color charts available from vendors and suppliers.



Fact #3: Cleaning the leather will make the process easier

It’s vital to clean and wipe leather with a damp cloth before starting the dye process to avoid accenting imperfections and defects. If there are traces of hair or specks of dust on the leather good, they might cling to the material and create uneven patches.



Fact #4: Applying thin coats will speed up the drying process

Dyeing leather is a process that requires patience so never go crazy with the dye. Start with one thin layer and use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process before adding another layer. Just be sure that all areas are dry before applying another coat. Continue until vibrancy and evenness become apparent. Usually, two to four thin applications will provide satisfactory results.



Fact #5: After dyeing the leather, leaving it alone for a few days will avoid blotchy outcomes

Let the leather sit for at least two days since it can be difficult to tell if the dye has effectively adhered to the material. Do not rush the process because the last thing anyone wants is to have a blotchy outcome with hand and fingerprints.

Dyeing leather seems like a daunting task, but it’s not impossible. With the right colorant and techniques, dyeing leather will be as easy as coloring any fabric.

 

velvet

The Luxurious Velvet

Velvet’s rich texture exudes luxury. It is used widely in fashion and interior design industries and has long been a go-to fabric for adding exquisite touches of sophistication and elegance. Although its extravagant feel may come off a little intimidating, velvet is, in fact, a practical option for any home, business, or apparel. It has remained a staple in the world of textiles for over a thousand years.

Historical Origins

Many have formed speculations and questions about velvet’s background, but it is commonly believed to have originated from the Far East. Fragments of velvet featuring low, untrimmed piles have been found in China dating back to several old dynasties. Traditional velvets made from fine silk were first woven meticulously by hand. It was widely associated with nobility because of its softness and glamorous appearance. Trade routes eventually brought the lush fabric to Venice and became a statement in Europe’s wealthiest and most fashionable homes.

velvetVelvet is taking the world of fashion and interior design by storm, but there are hearsays about the fabric being too high-maintenance. Here’s a list dispelling rumors and stating facts:

1. It’s Incredibly Versatile

Velvet exudes glamour on its own unlike most textiles that need to be sewn or designed to obtain a high-class appearance. Despite what others think, it’s not limited to clothing and is perfectly adaptable in houses and offices. Velvet is available in an extensive array of shapes and forms — from large, intricate pieces like upholstered sofas and beds to smaller pieces such as throw pillows and placemats. It transcends interior designs beautifully with its luminous sheen and can transform any room dramatically. It also works just as well in a palette-cleansing, masculine space.

With velvet, consumers have the options to go all-out or keep it sweet and simple.

2. It Can Be Dyed

Contrary to popular belief, velvet is one of the easiest fabrics to dye because of its fast liquid-absorbing properties that easily soak up colorants. Since the surface of velvet is extremely thick, any velvet-upholstered couch can subsume dye without having to remove the fabric. Dye, warm water, and a sponge combined with a gentle touch are the key necessities to transform velvet furniture within 24 hours.

3. The Queen Loves It

Before the emergence of modern industrial looms, velvet was incredibly costly to produce, which is why sole access to the upscale accent was limited to the wealthy and the church. Nobles, in particular, loved how the fabric was capable of absorbing richly hued dyes. Up to this day, it a staple in Queen Elizabeth II wardrobe as she continues to wear dyed velvet robes and regalia during formal ceremonies.

4. It’s Easy to Clean

Many modern engineering techniques enable the production of velvet textiles to be dirt-resistant, easy-to-clean, and adaptable to high-traffic use. But in case of accidents, the simplest way to maintain velvet is to take the necessary time to clean it daily. Using a vacuum’s hand-held nozzle on velvet pieces can get rid of unwanted dirt caught inside the pile.

When it comes to spillage, juices and sodas are typically easy to clean. Velvet is often treated with stain repellents, so gentle dabs with a damp cloth can quickly solve the problem. It’s important to take immediate action since it’s trickier to remove spills on velvet once it dries and become a stain.

 5 .It’s Made Up of Multiple Yarns

Nowadays, velvet is produced by using different types of yarn comprised of cotton, linen, wool, or a combination of synthetic fibers instead of fine silk.

Unlike the majority of fabrics, velvet requires an abundance of yarn to materialize. It’s made up of one set of filing thread and two sets of wrap threads that are woven on two pieces of cloth with the help of special looms. Blades are used to cut into the two pieces of cloth, creating two uniform pieces called velvet piles that give the fabric its soft and amplified texture.

6. It’s Not Just About Looks

From ravishing plum sofas to navy accent chairs, it’s easy to associate velvet furnishings with vivid colors pleasing to the eye. While its sheen in darker and softer shades are equally alluring, the tactile nature of velvet fabrics is an important part of why people rave about it. The plush pleasure of velvet is unlike any other. With its texture and extravagant feel, velvet is a satisfying upgrade from silk’s soft, flat surface.

7. It Stands the Test of Time

It’s easy to believe that velvet is hard to maintain because it tends to ruffle up or becomes, what experts call “bruised.” In truth, the fabric isn’t as delicate or as high-maintenance as people presume. It can last for decades if administered with proper care and maintenance. Velvet sectional is also a practical option for a family room that gets a lot of action since it will hold up beautifully after years of wear.

Gently steaming or brushing back a bruised pile of velvet can quickly smooth it back out. Some heavier imprints may become permanent, but think of them as patinas that will give the piece character and a sense of antiquity. Velvet is a lot like fine wine in a sense that it gets better with age.

Velvet After the Industrial Revolution

Velvet production has become mechanized after the Industrial Revolution, making it so much easier and faster to manufacture. A wider selection of fibers has become available, and velvet became more accessible to home décor aficionados with more colors, patterns, weights, and applications. Although the rich and famous still prefer traditional velvet, the textile, initially associated with ultimate luxury, has become inexpensive and more vastly available in the modern era.

Comparisons

Velvet is comparable to clothing, furnishings, and upholsteries made of satin or sheer silk because of its overall smooth feel and richness. However, velvet is often preferred over the latter on the basis that velvet is now available in more cost-effective varieties.

All About Bleeding, Crocking, and Fading

Color bleeding occurs when fabrics get submerged in water, causing the dye in them to leach out. Crocking, another variant of running dye, is the color transfer that occurs when fabric rubs against other textiles, furniture, shoes, or skin. When it comes to color fading, it pertains to the loss of vibrancy and depth of fabric. These are typical problems that occur when the dye has not properly adhered to the fabric.

Running Dye That Can Be Controlled

There are many reasons as to why colors crock, fade, or bleed. The following are avoidable through monitoring:

  • Overcrowding the washer and using harsh detergents can take a toll on fabrics. It causes micro-breakages in the fibers that force dyes to bleed out.
  • Overusing bleaching products and excessive exposure to the sun cause fabrics to fade and release dyes.
  • Subsequent submersion of fabrics in hot water allows dyes to wash out in the long run.

Running Dye That Can’t Be Controlled

However, if the loss of color is due to the following reasons, it is usually beyond control:

  • Continuous bleeding of excess dye due to insufficient washing and rinsing after the dyeing process.
  • Use of poor quality or incorrect dye for the material, as well as incorporating inaccurate dyeing techniques.
  • Failure to use fixatives or mordants to bind the dye to the fabric.

What Is A Mordant?

A mordant, also known as a dye fixative, is a substance used to set dyes on fabrics. Mordants form a coordinating complex with dyes as part of its mechanism, making colorants adhere to the fabric.

Natural dyes will not stick to natural fibers without the use of a mordant or fixative. While achieving beautiful, vivid results from natural dyes are possible; it will soon wash out and fade without the use of fixatives to lock the color in place.

Fabrics treated with mordants must be washed in cold water since hot temperatures can wash it out. If the mordant washes out, it will no longer bind the dye to the fabric.

Preventive Measures

A common misconception circulating the internet is that washing fabrics with vinegar or salt prevent dyes from running. Unfortunately, there is no truth to this myth. A few solutions that guarantee the prevention of color running are as follows:

1. Use Dye Fixatives: Treat fabrics with color mordants or fixatives such as Retayne or Rit Dye Fixative. Dye fixatives reduce colorants from bleeding out of fabrics where the dye has not been properly washed out.

2. Be gentle: The friction that occurs during washing causes micro-breakages that allow dyes to detach from fibers, urging them to leach out. Rough washing is one of the reasons why there’s an apparent fading in fabrics over time.

3. Wash fabrics of the same color together:  Colorants bleeding, crocking, or fading are not limited to newly dyed textiles. The mordants used to bind the dye to the fiber can weaken after repeated washing. It’s important to wash similar colors together to prevent them from staining fabrics of other colors.

Regardless of the type of material and how many times it has been washed, the possibility of bleeding, crocking, and fading can’t be ruled out unless preventive measures are taken.

All You Need To Know About Synthetic Fabrics

Natural fibers are defined as matters produced by plants and animals that can be spun into thread, filament or rope and further be knitted, woven, matted or bound. As garments, they are typically found more comfortable as they allow the skin to breathe better, especially during warm weathers.

What Are Synthetic Fibers

Synthetic fibers are made from chemicals consisting of superior properties to natural fibers such as cotton or silk. Synthetic textiles are made from either inorganic products or a mixture of organic ones and chemicals. Some are found to be profoundly strong and durable, while some dry much quicker than others, or may be more absorbent and easy to dye.

The most common natural fibers in clothing are silk, wool, cotton, and linen. Their often luxurious and soft texture are now easily duplicated and synthesized to a point where a number of consumers have switched to man-made fibers instead of going au naturel. These days, they are substituted for nylon, rayon, polyester, spandex, acrylic, and acetate.

The Versatile Nylon

DuPont introduced nylon in 1935, and its establishment quickly replaced silk, especially when it became scarce during World War II. Shortly after that, synthetic fabrics were preferred by the garment industry since it was also easier to get a hold of.

Nylon clothes and similar products are made from strands of plastic yarn. They are made by melting nylon chips that once liquify, are forced through the fine holes of a nozzle called a spinneret. As the liquid emerges from the holes, it is cooled down so that it solidifies to form tiny threads. These threads are woven together to make fabric.

Nylon is extremely sensitive to heat and should be washed and dried on cool settings. The fabric can also be hung dry, and it is favored by many because of its versatility, flexibility, and rapid drying properties. It is commonly used to make luggage, toothbrushes, carpeting materials and hosieries, just to name a few.

The Peculiar Rayon

Rayon is one of the most peculiar fabrics in commercial use to date. It is not 100% artificial because it is extracted from naturally occurring cellulose. It is not, however, a natural fabric, because cellulose requires extensive processing to become rayon. It is usually classified as a manufactured fiber and considered a regenerated type of cellulose.

Rayon has been in production since the 1880s when it was originally developed as a cheap alternative to silk. DuPont acquired the rights to the process in the 1920s and quickly turned rayon into a household name, churning out yards of the inexpensive, versatile fabric. High tenacity rayon is durable and used mainly in industry, while regular rayon is used to create synthetic clothing.

Rayon drapes just as well as natural silk, is easy to dye, and is highly absorbent. The only downside to this synthetic alternative is that it tends to age poorly. Many rayon products have tendencies to change in color with age and acquire rough textures where the fabric is most heavily worn.

The Mighty Polyester

polyester

There are many variations of polyesters, but the most popular is polyethylene terephthalate or PET. Just like nylon and rayon, polyester was discovered in DuPont’s lab in the late 1930s.

To turn polyester into fibers, the plastic is heated and forced through spinnerets. The fibers are stretched to five times their length, typically combined into yarn, and then knitted or weaved into polyester fabrics.

Polyester is one of the most popular types of synthetic fabrics because of its profound durability. It retains its shape, is resistant to most chemicals, rarely suffers from stretching, shrinking and wrinkling, and is mildew and abrasion resistant. It is also hydrophobic in nature which makes it easy to wash and dry.

The Elastic Spandex

Spandex is a lightweight, synthetic fabric with unique properties that make it suitable for sports apparel. The fabric can expand up to 600% and spring back without losing its integrity. Over time, the fibers do tend to become exhausted due to heavy wear and tear. Unlike many other synthetic fabrics, spandex is a polyurethane, which is responsible for its peculiarly elastic qualities.

A variety of raw materials is used to produce elastic spandex fibers. This includes prepolymers which produce the backbone of the fiber, stabilizers which protect the integrity of the polymer, and colorants.

Spandex is a popular choice for sports apparel and is used to create dri fit tops and cycling pants. It is also commonly used to make bathing suits, wetsuits, and surgical compression garments because of its ability to wick moisture. It is a great alternative to natural fibers, which tend to be bulkier.

The Woolly Acrylic

Wool is a type of natural fiber resourced from sheep shearings. However, as time progresses, many have been less keen on wearing an animal behind their backs to keep warm. Acrylic, on the other hand, is purely synthetic and closely resembles the characteristics of wool.

Acrylic fiber consists of acrylonitrile and a comonomer. The comonomer is added to improve its dyeability and textile processability. Wet spinning and dry spinning are two ways the fabric is materialized.

Acrylic fabric is widely used in knitting to create sweaters and socks, or woven to make rugs. It is an excellent substitute for wool, and certain forms of it are exceptionally soft while remaining lightweight. Certain cashmere substitutes are also made with acrylic fabric and are considered equally as good or even better than cashmere in softness and appearance.

The Luxurious Acetate

Acetate is often a replacement for shiny, soft, and luxurious fabrics. It is commonly used to make drapes, curtains, and other home decor items, along with being used for clothing and furniture linings.

Acetate fabrics are made with spun filaments of cellulose taken from wood pulp. It is often mixed with silk, cotton, or wool to make it stronger. Initially, certain fumes and pollutants caused the fabric to fade or discolor. While chemists solved the issues so the fabric could be easily dyed, some acetates still discolor when exposed to pollutants.

This popular fabric is favored for its high luster, elegant feel, and ability to hang effortlessly. It is also quick drying and shrink resistant, mildew resistant, generates little to no static, does not pill, and is available in multiple sheens and colors.

chiffon curtains

Chiffon: An Overview

Taken from the French word for rag or cloth, chiffon is a balanced, lightweight, sheer, plain-woven fabric woven in alternate Z and S high twist crepe yarns. The fabric is slightly puckered by the twist in the crepe yarns, puckering in both directions after the weave. This gives it a rough feel and some stretch.

Chiffon in the early days was created out of pure silk. However, in 1938, a nylon chiffon version was invented and later; a polyester chiffon was created in 1958. This went through tremendous popularity because it was low in cost and very resilient. Chiffon resembles a mesh or a fine net, giving it greater transparency.

It is in eveningwear that you will see the most chiffon, particularly as an overlay. This gives a floating, elegant appearance to gowns. This fabric is also popularly used in lingerie, scarves, ribbons and blouses. Just like other fabrics made of crepe, chiffon is not exactly the easiest to work with due to its slippery, light texture. Chiffon is gently hand-washed, due to its delicate nature. Since it frays easily and is very light weight, French seams, which are bound need to be used for stopping the fray of the fabric. Chiffon is more lustrous and smoother than georgette, a similar fabric.

Reasons People Love Chiffon

Chiffon has always been popular, and always will be. There are many reasons that people love this fabric. For one thing, there is a broad range in price so you will find both expensive and inexpensive chiffon. If you can’t afford the one hundred dollar silk chiffon, you can opt for the polyester version, which is thirty dollars. You may even graze the discount rack and find one that is five dollars. At times, compared to silk, polyester can even be sturdier. No matter what the content of fiber is, you will definitely be able to reap the fabric’s benefits. There is hardly any difference. For instance, polyester is manmade and synthetic and nothing is silkier than silk. When polyester chiffon was created, this was the best shot made by man to emulate the natural silk chiffon variety. However, aside from the fact that polyester melts like wax when lit, there is hardly any difference to the naked eye.

There was really no season in which absolutely no chiffon was used from the line of one designer or another. There is always a romantic feel full of whimsy and lace that is paired with chiffon. The style of using jewel-toned chiffon has been used countless times, very successfully.

Chiffon has fluidity built into the fabric. There is nothing as bad as wearing something that is hard to move in. You may look great in a tight-fitting garment, but how do you breathe? With chiffon, there are unfitted, loose silhouettes that you can move very easily in. In fact, even with almost no elasticity, it is sheer-enough to be sexy and yet comfortable as can be.

All About Georgette Fabric

 

This crepe fabric is dull-finished, lightweight, sheer and also known as crepe Georgette. It is named after the twenty-ninth dressmaker from France named Georgette de la Plante. Silk was the original composition of Georgette. It is created with yarns that are twisted highly. Its crinkly surface is its main characteristic, alternating the Z and S twist yarns in both weft and warp.  Georgette is created in both prints and solids and is used for trimmings, saris, evening gowns, dresses, and blouses. It is less lustrous and springier than chiffon, its close relative.

 

Hallwyl Museum / Jens Mohr / CC BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Silk, Traditionally

Traditionally created out of silk, Georgette Fabric these days are also created out of polyester. These fibers’ threads are woven tightly though their appearance is somewhat sheer since very thin threads are used. When relaxed, the material crackles. The reason for this is that the threads are very twisted. Thus, there is a somewhat rough feeling when you touch it. In fact, the fabric has a flowing, bouncy look because of this. The fabric’s crepe-like texture creates a very spring-like characteristic. In fact, when it comes to Georgette, it is almost as if the fabric has movement all on its own.

Easy To Dye

In women’s’ fashion, this fabric has enjoyed immense popularity. The material is the preferred one for flowing or clingy dresses. As the fabric of Georgette is created from highly-absorbent silk, it can be dyed in various colors.  For this fabric, you will find various colors and prints available in the market. This fabric is light and thin and very slightly weighted. You can use it as large layers of fabric and it will still not create a bulky dress.  In fact, the more layers you use, the more flowing effect you get from Georgette. Bridal wear is a great arena in which Georgette fabric is used. Also, formal gowns created from this material create a flawless, flowing effect.

There is no need to decorate Georgette fabric, although you can, of course, if you want to. However, the various color selection and the gorgeous fabric quality is in itself beautiful. Plus, trying to put decoration on Georgette spoils the beauty and takes the focus away from the fabric itself. The slightly slippery material does not make it easy for tailors to sew this. However, it will help if you sandwich the fabric between two layers of tissue paper as you work, as this helps create grip on such a slippery fabric.

Quite Delicate

Since Georgette fabric is very delicate, there needs to be care when handling the fabric. For instance, when you use pins on the Georgette you are working on, you will need to handle these with care or else the pinholes will be apparent. Plus, you need to use only mild detergent and hand-wash the fabric before hanging them up to dry. Do not dry the fabric directly under the sun since this will cause the colors to fade and some of its beauty will be lost.

When you work with this type of fabric, it is a good idea to become familiar with the way the fabric drapes. You can add tremendous benefits to your wardrobe when you know how to use Georgette in creating clothing. It is a good idea to check out what the more popular designers are doing when it comes to Georgette. This way, you can see if there are styles you want to incorporate in your own private collection. You can also see what patterns are used to maximize the drape of Georgette. After all, style and class means knowing exactly what the right kind of finish is for which fabrics.

sareeA Word On Sarees

Ever heard of a saree? More and more Bollywood stars have made the saree a popular global attire for theme parties or for everyday cool wear. What is a saree? A saree is the traditional Indian draped dress that women wear. No matter how many centuries have gone by, it still remains to be one of India’s most wanted attires. This six-yard ensemble varies in wearing styles. There are modern ways of wearing the saree and more traditional ways. It emphasizes sensuality and grace. This attire is gorgeous and brings an ageless elegance to the wearer. There is a large variety of fabric and colors that sarees are made of.  With the new demands that people are making on saree-wearing, more and more designers are coming up with a broad range of styles and designs to create a very appealing overall look.

Compared to any other fabric, Georgette gives the saree an extremely playful appeal. Georgette made of polyester and nylon is one of the lightest fabrics you can possibly wear. The fact that the saree is six meters long, means that heavier fabrics would be more of a burden to wear compared to the lightweight Georgette. No matter what season it is, you can wear a Georgette saree in autumn, winter, spring and summer. The soft texture makes it delightful to wear and drape, particularly during the season of summer when everything else feels too hot.

These days, there are plain Georgette fabric sarees and ones that are dyed or printed-on digitally. No matter which kind you prefer, you can be sure that the saree will flow beautifully the moment you give it a test-run. For light events such as work and home, the digitally printed sarees work well. On the other hand, designer and printed sarees are most suitable for more formal occasions such as get-togethers, parties, festivals and weddings. Remember that even with something as traditional as a saree, it is important to find the right fit and to be aware of all the new trends that are popular today. That way, you can play around with the saree that you have purchased for yourself. On the other hand, you can also go to a fabric store and find yourself six full meters of Georgette for a Do-it-Yourself version.

Georgette Image c/o Hallwyl Museum / Jens Mohr / CC BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chambray: Keeping us Cool in the Summer

In the months of summer, the fabric of our lives is, without a doubt, cotton. It simply cannot be denied that no other type of fabric wear as well in the heat as denim, and in so many kinds. In fact, one of the most common construction of cotton is in the form of denim, a staple in the summer in the form of cutoffs and in any kind of pattern, especially in the more recent seasons. The only trouble is that denim tends to be very heavy and can make you feel even hotter in the summer, rather than cooler.

chambray

By Edward G. FitzGerald (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Enter: Chambray

You may or may not have heard of the lightweight twin of denim, which is chambray. Where denim is heavy and rugged due to its diagonally-done weave, chambray is the opposite. Just like other types of fabric, chambray is woven in the method that is crisscross and is woven plainly, making it lighter and more breathable. Both chambray and denim are created with a white yard in the weft and a colored yarn in the warm/ Due to the diagonal weave of denim, it exposes twice the amount of the yarn which is colored as compared to chambray. This is the reason there is usually a white back on denim, as its weft is the white yarn unexposed. On the other hand, the evenly-woven chambray blends white and colored yarn equally, hence its overall light and even shade.

Embellishments

Aside from the various chambray shapes in summer and spring, you will also find keyhole backs, frilly ruffles, frayed edges and even embroidery as well as other playful embellishments on chambray. For the menswear version, you will find check and herringbone prints on the chambray to help in dressing up what would otherwise look like work shirts that are rugged. Remember that shorts plus a white light jacket evokes summers on the sailboat. The fabric is practical yet undeniably preppy. For everyday wear, pair jeans and chambray to look chic and casual at the same time. You can find various shades and washes of chambray. Add contrast with a belt or a scarf. One thing you can be sure of is that chambray is here to stay for many seasons to come.

More Than Ever

More and more designers are in love with the durable yet soft chambray fabric. They have found many ways of re-inventing chambray and bringing this to life into the world of fashion. Other than the button-up basic, chambray is beginning to show up in sneakers, pants, jumpsuits and dresses. The light shaded denim is neutral, letting it effortlessly mix in a range of outfits. Even if this is considered to be material for casual-wear, chambray can still be dressed up when paired with separates suiting. For example, a sport coat over a chambray undershirt means instant casual business-wear. Dresses made with chambray plus heels equal an afternoon party or date-night. Even with tiny wrinkles in the fabric, chambray still looks cool and crisp throughout the day.

 

Img c/o By Edward G. FitzGerald (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

flannel

All You Need to Know about Flannel

Ever heard of flannel? Particularly during Christmas time, you will see items made of flannel make an appearance in the colder months more than at any other time of the year. The reason is that flannel keeps the body warm while looking stylish at the same time. Flannel is a woven, soft fabric in various thickness. Originally, flannel was created out of worsted yarn or carded wool. Currently, it is made from either synthetic fiber, cotton or wool. Vegetable flannel is created from pine fiber.

This type of fabric can wither be unbrushed or brushed to create extra softness. The mechanical process of brushing involves a fine metal brush rubbing the fabric for the fibers to be raised from the yarns, which are spun loosely to form a nap. For the most part, flannel has napping on either both or one side. If there is no nap on the flannel, it gets its softness through the yarn loosely spun in its woven version.

Commonly, flannel is used for making sleepwear, bed sheets, blankets and tartan clothes. People usually use the term for flannel shirt incorrectly, as they mean any shirt with a tartan or a plaid pattern.

Flannel History

There is no certainty where the word flannel originally came from. However, some suggest an origin which is Welsh, as there are fabrics not unlike flannel that can be traced back to sixteenth century Wales. The term “flanelle” from France was utilized in the late seventeenth century and in the eighteenth century, the term “Flanell,” which is German, was utilized.

Since the seventeenth century, flannel was created and gradually became the replacement of the older plains of Welsh fabric, some of which were finished as “friezes” or “cottons,” the local fabric product. In the nineteenth century, flannel was manufactured in towns such as Llanidloes, Hay on Wye, Montogmeryshire and Newtown. The production expansion is associated closely with carding mills spreading out, which prepared spinning wool.

Preparing the wool for getting spun is the first production aspect of woolen cloth to be made mechanical, aside from fulling. These Welsh woolen clothes were marketed by the Drapers Company of Shrewsbury.

There was a point in which Lancashire, Yorkshire, Welsh and Irish flannels slightly differed in character largely due to the raw wool grade utilized in many different locales. Some were finer and others were softer than the others. These days, flannel colors are determined by dyeing. This was originally achieved through mixing black, brown, blue and white wool in varied measurements. Sulphur dioxide bleach was used for achieving lighter shades in varying proportions.

The first batch of flannels was created out of staple, short and fine wool. However, by the time that the twentieth century came around the corner, mixes of cotton and silk had become commonplace. It was during this period in which trousers made of flannel gained in popularity as a sporting outfit, particularly cricket, in which it was extensively used ‘til the late seventies.

Using plaid shirts made of flannel made its peak in the nineties when grunge made an appearance through bands such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana using this fabric as their trademark, along with an unkempt look. On the other hand, few plaid shirts mass produced were actually made of real flannel, at the time. The relationship between plaid and flannel led to the wrong use of flannel as synonymous to plaid.

flannel

Not Just For Lumberjacks

Flannel shirts have undoubtedly gained in popularity through the years. Even if these tops are related often with the apparel for lumberjacks, these have now become more popular with more people. There are more than a few reasons why flannel shirts are popular with the mainstream.

Flannel shirts last long as this fabric is quite durable. For this reason, you can be assured that flannel is a great investment, particularly since these are not that expensive. No matter where or when you decide to buy flannel, you will find that the price range remains somewhat stable and very affordable. This makes it a practical purchase. Plus the fact that plaid is simply never out of style, you can be assured that this is one purchase you can enjoy for years to come.

Flannel is the most practical item of clothing to wear during the harsh winter months due to the warmth it gives your skin. Staying warm is a matter of survival and if flannel can give you an added touch of style, than that is another perk. More than anything else, it gives you insulation and will help you feel comfortable as you tackle each day in the winter time.

Flannel shirts have the ability to be wearable by every member of the population, both by those who don’t want to get out of bed in the morning to the most up and coming fashionista. It is quite forgiving to wear flannel shirts, as well, as these cover most of your upper body. Thus, it cannot just protect your skin through its coverage but feel comfortable and loose throughout the day. In other words, you can simply throw on a flannel shirt and get yourself through the day, or you could wear it on purpose and look great. Either way, you will look somewhat stylish.

Thus you can enjoy both style and comfort with flannel fabric. Whether you are talking about flannel sheets, trousers, shorts, shirts or even mini-skirts, you can be assured that you will exude style while feeling comfortable all day long. As a matter of fact, if your closet does not have one item of clothing made of flannel, you are missing out! Go ahead and buy yourself a shirt or two made of flannel and you will be delightfully surprised at how many ways you can mix and match this with the rest of your wardrobe.

Why Is Everyone Talking About Hemp Fiber

Why Is Everyone Talking About Hemp Fiber? Read On to Find Out!

Typically available in the north hemisphere, the easily-dyed Hemp fiber is a variety of the plant species cannabis sativa specifically grown for the industrial use of the products derived from it. Hemp happens to be a quickly-growing plant and ten thousand years ago was one of the world’s first plants that were spun into wearable fiber. Hemp can also be developed into various items of commerce including animal feed, food, bio fuel, insulation, paint, biodegradable plastics, clothing, textiles and paper.

Even if hemp and the drug cannabis are both species members of cannabis sativa and contain the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) psychoactive component, each has unique bio-chemistry and are distinct strains. Each has a different use. There are lower THC concentrations on hemp and in cannabidiol (CBD), higher concentrations which eliminate or decrease the psycho-active results. Between countries, the legality of hemp for industrial use widely varies. Some countries only allow hemp bread with a low THC content while others allow all strains to be produced for industrial use.

Hemp Fabric

Throughout history, the fiber of hemp has been used extensively particularly after being introduced to the industrial world. Items that range from fabrics to rope to industrial materials were made from fibrous hemp. Usually, these were made into canvas for sailing. As a matter of fact, the word ‘cannabis’ is where the word ‘canvas’ comes from. These days, there is a modest industry for hemp fabric in existence. Clothing can also be made from hemp fibers. The texture of pure hemp fibers is not unlike the texture of linen.

Hemp fabric was processed by taking the stalks of hemp and getting these retted in water, at first. Each fiber was then beaten by hand out of the inner hurd. Scutching is the name of this process. With the evolution of mechanical technology, getting the core and the fiber separated was done by brush rollers and crushing rollers producing a clean fiber that was almost clean. After the 1938 Tax Act of Marijuana, the technique for getting the core separated from the hemp fibers remained untouched by time and un-evolved. It was only beginning in Ireland in 1997, and then the rest of the countries of the Commonwealth, industrial hemp growing started again.

Hemp Fiber Uses

Various industrial and commercial products are made with hemp fiber. These products include plastics, textiles, paper, food, clothes, rope, bio fuel and insulation. Bast fibers of hemp can be used to make one hundred percent hemp textiles. However, these are normally blended with other fibers such as silk, cotton or flax in order to create woven fabrics for furnishings and apparel. The two inner plant fibers typically have industrial applications as they are woodier. These include litter, animal bedding and mulch. When hemp oil oxidizes from the seeds and solidifies, this is used in manufacturing moisturizing agents, creams and paints, creating plastics and for cooking. Seeds of hemp have also been used in creating bird food mixtures. A 2003 survey features over ninety-five percent hemp seeds sold in the EU for use as bird and animal feed.

Bring It Up a Notch with Dyed Leather Fabric

Bring It Up a Notch with Dyed Leather Fabric

Leather is a flexible, durable material that is produced by tanning the skin and rawhide of animals, usually cattle. Leather can be dyed and is created at various scales of manufacturing ranging from heavy industry to cottage industry. Various goods are made with leather including clothing such as belts, trousers, skirts, jackets, hats and shoes. Other goods include furniture upholstery, leather wallpaper and bookbinding. Leather is created in different styles and types and decorated using a broad array of techniques.

Dyed Leather From Unusual Animals

These days, cattle skin is what most leather is made from. However, exceptions such as deerskin and lamb are used for more expensive apparel and softer leather. Elk skin and deer are used widely for creating indoor shoes and working gloves. In apparel and on saddle seats, pigskin is used. For leather, yak, ox, kangaroo, ostrich, snake, alligator, goat and buffalo skins can also be used. Flexible, strong items are made from kangaroo leather. Commonly, this is the leather used in bullwhips. Due to its abrasion resistance and light weight, most motorcyclists prefer kangaroo leather. It is also used for boxing speed bags, soccer footwear and falconry jesses. At different points in time, it had been considered desirable to possess leather made from exotic skins. This is why crocodile and snakes had been hunted. Originally raised just for their feathers, ostrich is now popular for both leather and meat. Varied methods produce various applications’ finishes such as car products, footwear and upholstery. This also includes clothing and accessories. Leather derived from ostriches is now used currently by many world-renowned houses of fashion including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hermes. Leather from ostriches has a goose-bump characteristic due to the large feather’s follicles which they had grown out of.

Stingray leather in Thailand is used in belts and wallets. Leather from sting-rays is durable and tough. Often, leather is covered with tiny round bumps and dyed black. This is the natural pattern of the animal’s back ridges. To highlight the decoration, the bumps are then dyed bright white. Rawhide from stingrays is also utilized as Chinese sword grips, Japan katanas and Scotland basket hilt swords. Leather from stingrays is used also for high areas of abrasion in motorcycles leather gloves for racing where its high resistance to abrasion helps in the prevention of wear and tear in the event of a mishap.

The Process of Producing Leather

The process of leather production involves three basic sub-methods including the stages of preparing, tanning and crusting. These processes are something that all leathers go through. There is also surface coating that happens as a further sub process which can be added to the sequence of processing leather. Not every type of leather goes through surface treatments, however. Since there are a ton of different kinds of leather in existence, it is not really easy to create an operations list that every type of leather goes through.
When the skin or hide is prepared for tanning, this is the preparatory stage. These stages can include depickling, pickling, bleaching, frizing, degreasing, bating, deliming, reliming, splitting, fleshing, unhairing, liming, soaking and preservation. The process for getting the raw skin or hide protein stabilized is called tanning. This is done so the skin is preserved, making it suited for various end uses. The main difference between tanned and raw hides is that the raw version become dried out, forming an inflexible, hard material that putrefy when rewetted. On the other side of the coin, leather material that has been tanned dries out to a form that is flexible and when wetted back does not become putrid.

Leather Tanning Methods

There are many materials and tanning methods in existence. Ultimately, the choice depends on the leather’s end applications. Chromium is the most common material for tanning. This leaves the tanned hide in a color of pale blue, since this is the color of chromium. At times, ‘wet blue’ is the term used for this. When finished pickling, the hides are usually between 3.2 and 2.8. Again, these products are called wet blue. While the drums rotate slowly on an axis, the hides get soaked. Slowly, the tanning liquor then soaks through the hides’ full thickness, penetrating its entirety. Periodically, workers cut a hide’s cross section to observe how much the liquor has been soaked through into the hide. Once even penetration is achieved, the float’s pH is raised by the workers. This process is called basification. Basically, what it does is fix the material for tanning to the leather. The leather’s shrinkage-resistant temperature and hydrothermal stability depends on how much the tanning material has penetrated through. The pH of leather that is chrome-tanned is usually between 4.2 and 3.8.

The process that lubricates, re-tans and thins leather out is called crusting. This usually involves the operation of color. During crusting, chemicals added need to be fixed in place. The end of crusting is a softening and drying method the can involve whitening, dyeing, filling, re-tanning, shaving, splitting, fixating, setting or drying, among others.

In the process of finishing, a surface coating is applied for some leathers. Operations of finishing include glazing, ironing, embossing, plating, polishing, spraying, buffing, padding, brushing and oiling.

The Passage of Time

With the passage of time, there tends to be a break down in the natural leather fibers. Leathers that are acidic are especially vulnerable to red rot which causes surface powdering and a consistency-change. Red rot damage is aggravated by humidity and high temperature. Even if it is irreversible chemically, treatments can be done to prevent red-rot leather from disintegrating and can add handling strength.
Dyeing leather is a great way to boost the way your interiors look, not to mention your outfit. Leather interiors and leather apparel can be dyed in a million different hues; all you need to do is to decide on your favourite color.