Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Last night two fabrics from Hemp Gallery were waiting for me when I got home:

Denim, of 55% hemp, 45% cotton (not organic or otherwise less damaging; just plain old naughty cotton, I presume):

Satin, of 60% hemp, 40% silk (of the type where the worms die, unfortunately):

Both are a very nice quality, with selvedges that I can easily incorporate into the garments externally. The denim has what some would regard weaving faults all through it, namely discontinuous warp yarns, with the ends hanging loose all through the fabric. I don't mind them, though, and may leave them as they are. The satin is fantastic; it's almost plastic-like on the shiny side, like in the photo, and completely matt on reverse. Oh, and have I said it before that I'm not a big believer in fabrics having a 'right' and a 'wrong' side? Fabrics have two sides (or faces), as far as I'm concerned. So to have two very contrasting but equally usable faces is very exciting, and creates more scope for design.

Yesterday I also placed an order for a whole heap of vintage kimono fabrics from KimoYES (above and below). Most are silk, and I'll mostly use them as linings, I think; I loathe ugly linings in otherwise nice garments! The very narrow widths, typical of kimono fabrics, will create some interesting challenges for design and patternmaking and likely I'll be combining several fabrics in one garment. And yes, the aim is for zero waste in the linings and interlinings just as much as in the outer fabrics. Being menswear, I stuck to the more abstract, geometric prints; I also wanted to avoid an overtly Japanese feel within the fabrics. But, given the zero waste nature of the kimono, these fabrics create nice links to the long history of zero fabric waste fashion (yes, I use 'fashion' differently to some writers; all will be explained in the thesis).

Overall the fabrication is coming together quite well. I'm still debating bamboo; it's just doesn't seem as environmentally sound as some claim (it's viscose, essentially) and the anti-bacterial claims seem a tad fishy, too (it's viscose). But we'll see.

On a less positive note, I had the samples from another supplier laid out last week when a friend came over. His response: "Did you buy new tea towels?" I laughed; that pretty much summed up my feelings of the strange checks and stripes that still feature heavily on some 'green' fabric suppliers' collections. But it's bound to change, slowly.

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