Bamboo Fabric

Discussion in 'Poaceae' started by colin matheson, Jul 19, 2007.

  1. colin matheson

    colin matheson Member

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    Bamboo fabric is gaining in popularity. There are many articles on the web regarding it. It is novel to myself and I was surprised to learn it could be used as a fabric. A little reseach told me it was produced much like rayon, which is a wood fiber, turned into pulp and spun like cotton.
    However, finding out exactly how it is made has been difficult. Do they grind it up in big machines? Boil it in water? Dry it and then spin it? I found out that there is only one commercial source in China producing it. But it is growing ten fold a year.
    Another perplexing question arose in my mind. How come it has taken so long to learn how to make clothing out of bamboo? You would think with the prevalence of bamboo, the ancient Egyptians would of discovered it.
    If any one can help me with my inquiries it would be greatly appreciated...

    It was offered in replys that one artisian group in quilt weaving is using bamboo yarn. And I learned that there is a 'bamboo soaking test,' on YouTube; unfortunately or maybe fortunately, my video function is down, however, from the picture I surmised that it was comparing the drying capabilities of bamboo. Also, someone suggested that the reason the ancient Egyptians didn't come up with the idea of bamboo clothing is because there was no bamboo in Egypt. I did Google 'bamboo in ancient Egypt,' and there are many references of its utility in those days.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    The ancient Egyptians didn't have access to any bamboo - though they did of course use a different species of grass-relative Cyperus papyrus for making their paper.
     
  3. Liz

    Liz Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    There is a weaving group that I have seen speak about bamboo as a yarn. It also suprised me at the time. I'm not sure if this is how you get to it but it appears on the bottom of the mails I have kept.

    Weaving mailing list
    Weaving@quilt.net
    Liz
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Rayon fabric was not developed until the 19th century and not introduced to market until the begining of the 20th. The process of retting and softening the fibers of such woody plants took a while to perfect.

    I can't find much on the internet about the process for bamboo (that isn't published in Chinese.) Some strong chemicals are used to soften the fibers, but from what I can tell they are mostly recycled and used again, so it is considered a "green" fabric choice. Also growing bamboo requires little or no irrigation and does not require the fertilizer and pesticide use that is typical of cotton farming.

    I would be interested to know what the process is that makes the woody bamboo fibers soften to fabric quality. If anyone is knowledgeable on the production or can interpret some of the publications written about it, please post.
     
  5. everlasting

    everlasting Active Member

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    We have so many bamboo here in the Philippines and this is the first time I've heard of bamboo fabric. Maybe because we have many softer fibers to weave as fabrics. Or maybe we have so many products made of bamboo that we draw the line in wearing a bamboo fabric. There is a bamboo palace here in the Manila where everything in that museum is made of bamboo, the flooring, walls, plates, jewelries etc; but not fabrics.
     
  6. colin matheson

    colin matheson Member

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    Thank you everlasting. I have been searching bamboo fabric on the Web and it is being marketed as a 'eco-fibre,' environmentally friendly to make, does not need pesticides and is anti-bacterial; soft as silk or casmere. It sounds wonderful. Also, dries twice as fast as cotton so it wicks away moisture from the skin very quickly. I think it is going to be a big seller! Maybe the Philipines should be getting into the market with bamboo being so abundant there.
     
  7. everlasting

    everlasting Active Member

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    Wow! Since my government do not give subsidy nor do give support to this types of endeavor, other countries will get the chance to produce this fabric. It could be again the case of us buying the finished products while the raw materials came from our country. Sad but true.
     
  8. colin matheson

    colin matheson Member

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    Maybe you could write a letter to your government, the agricultural ministry, suggesting that they get into bamboo fabric. Send them some information via the internet how fast the bamboo industry is growing (pun). Who knows? Maybe they will look into it and start looking at bamboo as a possible money maker for the government. Here are a couple urls you could forward to them:

    http://www.bamboo-t-shirt.com/InbarNews.html

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/289256/new_bamboo_fabric_hits_market.html

    Lots more info on the Web you could send them.
     
  9. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    In light of what's been said about the processing I wonder if this is accurate... anywhere, here is one Canadian place you can get bamboo clothing.

    http://www.htnaturals.com/page220.htm
     
  10. colin matheson

    colin matheson Member

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    Thank you for your reply regarding bamboo fabric. I am still researching how it is produced. With China being the only producer and it having a very poor record for environmental concern; with so many rivers being polluted with factory run off and the use of "multi-phase bleaching," in the production of bamboo fabric, I would like to be reasured this process is non-polluting. All the sites I have visited on the web do mention it is an eco-fabric but I am not convinced... more research is needed on my part to satisfy my mind.
     
  11. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Ditto - we are getting awfully prone to accepting facile assurances. Appreciate your curiosity, and hope you'll share info.
     
  12. colin matheson

    colin matheson Member

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    Lately I have a bamboo fascination... bamboo, I love saying that word, bamboo!
    To my delight I found a Web site and seller of bamboo baby clothing in my home town, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I have no interest in babies but I learned
    some interesting facts about bamboo... specifically, phyllostachys pubescen, or the moso bamboo.

    http://www.bamboobino.com/
     
  13. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Bamboo paper making is an ancient industry which has been around for hundreds of years in rural China. Believe it or not, a lot of those paper was "straw paper" (i.e., toilet paper!). Is it environmentally friendly? Bamboo as a plant is a completely renewable resource that grows well without much fuss and increases it's biomass very rapidly. But the methods of paper making remain old fashioned and involve steaming the pulp for weeks - continuously. Hopefully, renewable fuels are being used to provide the heat nursery for the process. Otherwise, it may turn out to be far less "eco-friendly" than one might think.
     
  14. Weekend Gardener

    Weekend Gardener Active Member 10 Years

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    Having said that, the new commercial paper manufacturers are starting to use modern techniques. Encouragingly, they also appear to be more eco-minded. For example, recycling the large volumes of water needed for the process.
     
  15. mwgrey

    mwgrey Member

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    Last weekend I went to Costco in Richmond ( Bridgeport Road) and they had a HTnaturals set up. The t-shirts were $9.99 and they had yoga pants and hoodies.
    the material is 70% viscose from bamboo and 30% cotton, and it feel terrific. I asked the woman manning the booth and she said it was a local Vancouver company but they are produced in China..
     
  16. lachoescobar

    lachoescobar Member

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    I found an interesting article about the pros and cons of Bamboo fabric. It gives you an idea that is still some way to go before it actually becomes 100% eco friendly.
    I do not know how accurate is this info. But it pursues you to keep researching on the topic.

    http://victoria-e.com/2007/10/04/how-green-is-bamboo-fabric/
     

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