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 Post subject: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 7:10 pm 
Skull Crusher
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Hi everyone,

I find myself talking alot about the benefits of natural fabrics and the differences between the different types and their benefits and disadvantages. Also, 2009 is the official International Year of Natural Fibers (as declared by the UN).

So, this thread will be devoted to why you should wear natural fabrics (especially linen and wool, which were the main textiles worn in period) in your garb, and where to get them.

And yes, this thread is entirely Eurocentric, and written from a Northern European perspective. I'm sorry if I'm not PC enough for you, but that's what I know about, so that's the perspective I write from. It usually doesn't matter, though.

This was originally posted on the Dag boards, and I was intending to wait and include it in a garb how-to site that Faline and I have been talking about putting together, but I figure I might as well go ahead and repost it. Sorry if I miss changing and mentions of Dag to Bel, it's all the same thing as far as I'm concerned, as I just don't care about the politics. If you're offended that I talk about Ragnarok instead of Armageddon, I'm sorry, but due to a number of circumstances chief of which is that Rag is the Fianna's big event, that's which event I go to. I'm sure that the climate and duration are roughly the same, though--hot and humid in the day, surprisingly chilly at night, often wet, and a week long. You could call it Pennsic or Estrella or Clan Wars just as easily and a lot of the same things apply.

Wool

We modern people have awful ideas about wool. It's hot, it's itchy, it's made into sweaters and socks and only to be worn in winter and never against the skin.

Forget all that, it's *. Or, to be more truthful, it's sometimes true, but sometimes very false, and for summer garb what you're looking for is the instances in which it's false. So, I'm going to break this up into two sections, one about the wool you want for summer garb, and one about the wool you want for winter garb.

Summer Wool

The key word here is "worsted". Worsted wool is woven from the long, straight hairs on the sheep's back, which have the least hooks (these are the little curly bits off the side of the fiber that make it itch) and don't curl and twist like the shorter hairs which "woolen" wool (that's the other type, worsteds and woolens, kinda confusing, I know) is made from.

So, why should you wear wool in the summertime? The short answer: It breaths and it wicks. Like nothing else you've ever worn. Breeze blows through wool fabric like it's not even there, and the wool is great at wicking away sweat from your body and evaporating it into the air--a huge surface area inside the fabric is exposed to wind, so there's a ton of surface area from which it evaporates. And that same breeze recirculates the air so that the air against your body doesn't get too warm.

It's also a lot smoother than your grandma's old itchy Irish sweater. Alric told me that when he got his first worsted wool, it felt almost as smooth as polyester, and he just couldn't help thinking that it couldn't be a natural fiber, it had to be artificial it was so smooth. My first thoughts were roughly the same. I won't lie to you, it's not actually as smooth as polyester, and it takes some getting used to wearing it against your skin. It'll be a bit scratchy and rough, but only because we're so accustomed to the unnatural smoothness of artificial fibers or the equally unnatural downy softness of knit cotton (aka tshirts).

The other benefit at events like Ragnarok is that lanolin, the oil from sheep's hair and skin, is very slightly antiseptic. It won't stop you from getting a cold, the flu, black plague, small pox, ebola, syphilis, AIDS, cooties, dandruff, or your mom's bad perfume--although if you do it Medieval style and use a lambskin condom, it might do something for syphilis. Don't take that as medical advice, though. What it will do is prevent bacteria and fungi from your skin and the environment from growing in the fabric itself, which will severely impede the growth of mildew, or body odor (which is actually caused by bacteria eating your sweat). You'll have to wash it by hand, but you'll also have to wash it much less often.

The other benefit is that these will still keep you reasonably warm when it gets cold at night at events like Rag.

Winter Wool

A lot of the same things apply, but you'll want a thicker fabric, and likely a woven (not knit!) woolen fabric, like melton or a light coating wool. These are not itchy AT ALL, but will be very warm. Cloaks, coats, kaftans and the like for winter use should be made from a heavier coating wool and lined with linen to help block the wind a bit better, while summer cloaks for nighttime wear when it'll be chilly but not cold are best made from a melton or light coating wool and unlined.

Washing Wool

Most wool says its dry-clean only. What this really means is that you can't machine wash it, and clothes manufacturers assume you won't handwash your clothes. Well, I can't recommend hand-washing wool more. You CAN machine wash it on a cold, gentle cycle, but this is NOT recommended. Wash it by hand in cold to lukewarm but NOT hot water with some sort of wool washing product like Eucalan, which include lanolin to help condition and resoften the wool. Baby shampoo and conditioner work too, and they do wonders to make wool soft, but I'd still use Eucalan or another lanolin-containing product on your wool every so often. HANG DRY YOUR WOOL CLOTHING. DO NOT put it in the dryer! Dryers damage all clothing over time, but they will destroy wool in the short term, whereas they only destroy your tshirts in the long term.

You can actually use Eucalan in the washing machine, it includes instructions for doing so, but tbh, it's easier to just handwash small quantities. Just remember, though, that you don't have to wash wool after every time you wear it. Wash it after events or when it has visible stains, but it's very resistant to decay and odor, so you don't have to wash it much.

Downsides of Wool

It's more expensive. It just is. Generally, you're looking at $10/yard or so for worsted and around $15 to $20 for coating wool, but if you do it right, you can get a tunic or pants out of only 2 yards or less, so that's an outfit of garb in a good fabric for less than you paid in materials for your sword and shield, and about the cost of your sword alone if you bought it from Edhellen or another merchant. In my opinion the more expensive fabric more than makes up for its higher cost.

It needs to be handwashed. Take it or leave it, I don't mind.

It's scratchy. Even the nicest wool will feel a little bit scratchy to us at first, but you get used to it pretty quick (I did, and I'm a sucker for comfortable clothes, so if I can like it, you can too), and anyway, a linen undertunic is highly recommended for reasons that I'll discuss below.

It's an allergen. Some people are allergic to lanolin. It's unavoidable, but it's a very small number of people. Most people who are allergic to wool are actually allergic to the exceptionally harsh chemicals that we use during the production process to homogenize it and remove every trace of organic debris from the fabric, and which does a huge amount of damage to the fibers that means they then have to add more chemicals to fix. Most people who are allergic to wool already know who they are, though.

Religious prohibitions. This one probably doesn't come up very often in Belegarth, but those who follow Kosher laws can't wear wool and linen together, which is a huge bummer. Contrary to most English, Christian translations of the Bible, it doesn't say not to wear cloth of two fibers, it says not to mix linen and wool, I'm not sure if this means only linsey-woolsey and other fabrics that contain linen and wool in the same fabric, or wearing linen cloth and wool cloth together, although I would be surprised if Rabbinical interpretation didn't forbid both anyway. Again, this is one of those things that you know already if it'll be a problem for you.

Wool Suppliers

http://www.bblackandsons.com/fabrics-wo ... ce25f23984

B. Black and Sons sell very high quality wool fabric, this is the link to their tropical wools page. These were on sale since about October for $10/yard, but that sale seems to have ended now, although some of the colors are still somewhat discounted. This is great quality stuff!

http://www.burnleyandtrowbridge.com/ind ... ategory=10

Burnley and Trowbridge cater primarily to 18th and 19th century reenactors, but a lot of their stuff works fine for our period as well. They have worsted wools in scarlet, off white (these two are the one labeled serge, it IS worsted), madder (the "Camblet", it is as well--this is a BEAUTIFUL red loosewoven fabric), cinammon, red and purple striped, soft blue and black. Their catalog changes every so often, so check back. Their swatch packet is $4 for a sample of EVERY fabric they have in stock, it's a great buy, especially because it allows you to actually get your hands on what the stuff feels like.

More suppliers to come!

Linen

Linen is cloth made from the fibers of the flax plant. It is strong, durable, and well known for being wonderfully comfortable in hot weather. Flax has probably been used for at least 10,000 years in Europe alone, making it probably the earliest textile. It was produced in large quantities in Europe throughout recorded history, and, behind wool, was the second most common textile in that continent throughout the entirety of Belegarth's period. It was available in at least some quantity to most classes of society and worn most common for undergarments or nicer clothing than wool. In a lot of linen-producing countries, especially in Northern Europe, most linen was produced by cottage labor not by organized industry. Most peoples' linen in these countries were grown in their own back yards and woven in their own house, so that fine quality linen was available to a lot of people, and the remainder was traded away and often eventually exported.

There's really nothing to say about linen other than it's great. It can hold up to 30%* of its own weight in moisture before it feels damp, twice as much as cotton, which means that it absorbs your sweat like nothing else, and dries relatively quickly to help in cooling. It's strong, it's durable. It's resistant to abrasion and cutting (and therefore can be layered and laminated to make armour cheaper and probably better than leather), but can be damaged by sweat and bleach, so you should never bleach it and should wash it frequently. The washing machine on a gentle cycle is fine, but it should definitely be air dried . . . just don't use the dryer. Just don't.

(*Looking around more, I've seen numbers between 30% and 50% depending on exactly how it's calculated, but the twice as much as cotton thing is roughly accurate)

Linen doesn't accept dyes as well as wool does, so if you care much about authenticity you should keep your linen colors a bit more muted. True black is right out for most of the Middle Ages.

Wikipedia has a very good article describing the properties of linen, it's an informative read.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linen

You get the picture. I love linen. Linen is awesome. Wear linen. It's more comfortable in the heat than cotton, is almost as soft and nice to the touch, and feels cool in even the hottest weather. I'll take a linen shirt over underarmour any day of the week.

Linen and Wool

Linen and wool, worn together, combine the best aspects of both fabrics. A light linen shirt or undertunic under a light wool tunic provides the comfort and coolness of linen combined with the exceptional breathability and wicking properties of wool. The linen soaks up your sweat and transfers it to the wool which wicks it away to evaporate into the air faster than the linen alone could. You WILL sweat a lot wearing this in hot weather, but as long as you stay very well hydrated, it will keep you cool with a wonderful efficiency. Just so we're clear, I'm not claiming it has magic properties, you'll still feel the heat, but if you do it right this will keep you healthy and comfortable as well as looking awesome.

This is, admittedly, somewhat less effective in climates where it's extremely humid, which often applies to much of the US during the worst parts of summer, but you'll have to base your garb choices on your own local environment, and the breathability of the wool means that you will not get all that much hotter wearing both together. Try it out and see what suits you . . . the best clothing choices for southern California, Alabama and middle Ohio will not be quite the same. This combination is amazing in very hot, dry heats where there's usually a good breeze . . . I did it in Egypt in up to 120 degree heat last summer (although as I was packing light I sometimes used underarmour instead of the linen depending what was clean, but the linen was clearly superior) and felt great (or at least as good as it's possible to feel in 120 degrees with the sun blazing down and food parasites destroying your bowels). By which I mean, I felt a lot more comfortable in the heat than most of the Americans and other Westerners I saw sunburning and dehydrated in tank tops and shorts of cotton and artificial fibers.

Linen also works great in a heavier weight to line wool winter cloaks, or as a shirt under a wool tunic during the winter, because wool provides almost no protection from the wind, while the linen will work fairly well as a windbreaking fabric while still being comfortable and breathable.

Linen Care

Linen is pretty easy to care for. Wash it hot before you sew with it to get the shrink out, then wash it cold. Don't use bleach. It's vulnerable over time by sweat and other acids, and to the degrading actions of bacteria and mildew, so wash it as often as possible after uses. Air dry or use your drier's gentlest setting until its only slightly damp and then air dry it to finish.

It's also a good idea to sew a thick patch of similar covered wool outside of the knees of any linen pants that you intend to fight in. When you grind linen into the ground and the mud and the dirt (ie, when you're fighting legged) it does damage the fabric (although it's more resilient than most cotton), but when you grind wool into the ground it just makes it thicker and feltier and more matter, and saves a lot of wear on the knees of your linen pants.

Linen Suppliers

http://www.fabric-store.com

One of the best places on the internets to get all kinds of linen fabrics, most for well under $10/yard. They categorize their linen according to its weight, which I find to be extremely helpful, but you might find it confusing at first. So, about 3 to 4 oz linen is light of handkerchief weight, 5 to 6 is medium weight, 6 to 7 is heavyweight, and 8+ is canvas weight, although these categories are far from exact. They give you a good approximation, though. I'd use no less than 6 oz for fighting pants, no less than 5 oz for fighting tunics, and maybe as low as 4 oz for an undertunic you might wear while fighting. You can of course go lower for feast and other non-fighting garb as appropriate, but I'd get samples first or talk to someone who's experienced with such things before you order. I am not responsible if you don't buy the right weight! If you're not sure, contact me or someone else who's done this before.

http://www.fashionfabricsclub.com/

Another good site for all kinds of fabric, especially linen, and they seem to have lower prices sometimes than fabric-store.com. Also check out their wool and silk selections if you're interested.

Cotton

Coming soon to a thread near you!

(Yes, I am going to talk about cotton. I hear a lot of people say that cotton's period because it was being made in India and Egypt and imported to Europe, which is true, but that doesn't mean that everything that says 100% cotton is appropriate for Medievalesque clothing so I'm going to talk about this.)

Silk

Silk has been imported to Europe since at least Roman times, and some scholars say that Homer speaks of Odysseus owning a shirt of silk, a shirt "gleaming like the skin of a dried onion" (literal translation). Silk manufacture in Europe first began in around 550 AD, when the Byzantines first acquired silk worms and the knowledge of how to grow them, although this was a very closely guarded secret and everyone who knew how to make silk did everything they could to prevent others from learning how. Silk was also produced during the Middle Ages by the Moors in Spain, and later by Venetians and Florentines in Italy.

During the Middle Ages, only the wealthy could afford to own any silk at all, and silk thread for embroidery was the most common usage. An entire garment sewn from silk fabric would have been exceedingly expensive! It would have been dyed in the richest, brightest colors, including kermes for scarlet, true indigo for blue, saffron for yellow and orange, and Tyrian purple from murex shells. Silk accepts dye very well, but the brighest colors are achieved in silk not by dying it but by feeding the worms different food that causes their silk to change colors, which can produce colors as bright as modern chemical dyes if done correctly. This was the stuff of kings and emperors, the finest cloth known, although, as with other fabrics it of course comes in different levels of quality. Some worms produce better silk than others, and some of the threads from the cocoon are more desirable than others, so it might be possible for a middle level lord or a rich warrior to own a silk tunic of middle or lower quality fabric.

So, about silk in Belegarth.

I don't really know. I have several yards of raw silk fabric, of what is probably fairly low quality. It's a bit rough, tightly woven in a simple 1/1 pattern, handwoven in China from unprocessed raw silk, so probably a pretty good impression of what middle or low quality silk would have been like in the Middle Ages. It's dyed a brilliant color of scarlet, and is about the brightest red I've ever seen. I've also got a bit less than a yard of the same in a purple that's identical to murex purple, and probably have just enough to get one tunic for myself and one for my gf. I paid $10 a yard for it for 45" wide fabric secondhand from the Armour Archive, I don't know where to get it firsthand.

Guntar von Keitz has a shirt or tunic or something of it, and says it feels wonderful in the heat at Ragnarok, that's all I can tell you for now.

Here's one supplier I found, I don't know anything about types still though:

http://www.srfabrics.com/index.html

They also carry linens and cottons, but their prices for those fabrics are VERY beatable.

Other Stuff

Anyone who'd like to help collaborate on this, let me know.

Also, post any of your other favorite suppliers here and I'll add them to the post.

Also, feel free to contact me via pm or email if you have any additional questions, comments, or need help or clarification about anything.

My best contact email is bamudd@wustl.edu

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Last edited by Oisin on Tue May 12, 2009 5:26 pm, edited 11 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 7:10 pm 
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Quite a tome. I look forward to reading through it.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 7:39 pm 
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All right, should now be thoroughly edited for things like being able to include my email address and being able to mention Edhellen. I suppose that since I don't have anything nice to say about the moderation policies of the Dag boards, I just won't say anything at all. Not like I need to . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 12:01 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Interesting info, Oisin. Personally, I have always preferred natural fibers as well and have done a fair amount of searching for cheap places to get them. The best deals I have found have been from Fashion Fabrics Club. I just got a 50/50 silk/linen and a 100% silk for $5/yd on one of their sales. Their service has been great and they are my first goto place for any fabric I can't get from Walmart. Anyone else have favorite inexpensive fabric sources?

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue May 12, 2009 5:21 pm 
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They seem to be pretty nice. I'll add it to the list. Thanks!

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 5:51 pm 
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Oh, it's also worth adding the cotton muslin looks and feels a good bit like linen, but of course has the physical properties of cotton--and is much cheaper. So, if you like linen etc but are on a really low budget, you can make a lot of the same stuff in muslin (available at any fabric shop, but only in offwhite, although it's really easy to dye) for a similar effect. My gf has a tunic in muslin and I have one in the same color linen, and it takes some effort to tell the two fabrics apart. I've tried to put hers on a couple of times, and then wondered why it was too short.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 6:21 pm 
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I concur that muslin takes dye really well and makes a great cheaper alternative. However, it doesn't have the durability linen does (or the breathe-ability as mentioned). A number of my muslin items from years past either shredded, pulled apart at the seams, or ripped much faster than similar linen items. It is a great substitute, but be prepared to replace more often if you want to wear it rough.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 6:48 pm 
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Ok, maybe this is a stupid question. But all the linen I have found is pretty sturdy stuff and all the muslin is soft light and even a little transparent. Is there another thickness of muslin I haven't seen? or where is all this thinner linen?

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 8:26 pm 
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There is some thicker muslin, look for 100, 150, 200? thread count. It may only come in bulk/wholesale, we always got ours from the giant roll we had in the costume shop. Thinner linen you just need to look around for. I've found the occasional thinner weave at Joanns, but most of it has been online-buys. Again look for thread count, and maybe a spring or summer weight?

edit: Oh and some muslin (the medium-ish weights/thread counts) will full out a little, making it less transparent, after a hearty wash through the hell cycle.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:04 pm 
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am I also looking for a 150 or 200 thread count in the linen as well?

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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:42 pm 
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In linen look for the fabric weight. If you want the really light transparent stuff, look for like a 3 oz linen on Fabric-store.com, but don't use that for fighting garb--and you really don't need it that light for even the worst summer wear.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 10:52 pm 
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What oz linen would be comparable to the average muslin. if 200 thread count is a heavy muslin, what oz linen matches that 200 thread count?

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PostPosted: Thu May 14, 2009 11:03 pm 
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I'm sorry, I don't know enough about muslin to be able to answer that. The stuff I normally see in Joann's or Hancock's is about equal to 5 or 6 oz linen, though . . . but I dunno if they carry the same stuff where you are.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 5:56 am 
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The sort of linen used in, say, nice women's sundresses is around the 5.3 oz mark. Check out Fabric-Store.com for good prices on whatever types you want. They have free swatch packs, too. I got the multi-weights swatches and it helped me figure out what I needed.


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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 8:37 am 
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Unfortunately I can't give you a comparison either. I tend to not pay attention to thread count or weight and more to feel of fabric. It's a weird tactile thing. I've only just recently gotten into paying attention to weights as I buy more over the internet. Usually I end up getting a swatch book first so I can feel what they have in stock.

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PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 12:17 pm 
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That's my problem. I want to go feel them but I have a few stores with bad selection. I ordered some wool swatches from one company though, its a start *shrug*

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 1:59 pm 
Skull Crusher
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Best advice I can give: Buy the $4 swatch pack from Burnley and Trowbridge, which will have linens, wools and silk blends, and then a few packs of the free samples from Fabric-store.com.

That should give you a good feel for what's what.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2009 11:04 pm 
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I've got 2 garb shirts made from Muslin. My mom bought the 20 yards they had left when the Joanne near me closed, and boy am I glad she did. Granted, I have her do all my sewing because everything she makes lasts forever (weird sheet metal like seams and gussets and bias stripes down the side so it stretches and all kinds of cool ****), but I really like the look and feel of it. We haven't tried dying it yet, but I plan to someday.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:26 am 
Underling
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Haha my mom made my shirt for Mel.

I should really try to learn this whole sewing thing.

Hey Big Jimmy you ever find that arrow?


Big Jimmy wrote:
I've got 2 garb shirts made from Muslin. My mom bought the 20 yards they had left when the Joanne near me closed, and boy am I glad she did. Granted, I have her do all my sewing because everything she makes lasts forever (weird sheet metal like seams and gussets and bias stripes down the side so it stretches and all kinds of cool ****), but I really like the look and feel of it. We haven't tried dying it yet, but I plan to someday.


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 11:11 pm 
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No! Stupid **** lucky arrow.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 9:47 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2009 9:16 am 
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More info about silk from Sirilay, copied from the Dag boards because I thought it's good information:

Quote:
I can speak on raw silk.

Like worsted wool, raw silk is a wicking material. As a scout, I've had it pounded into my head again and again--wicking and wool. The wicking layer takes away the moisture, the wool holds it and won't make you cold. I have it as lining on my wool tunic and pants. I also want to say Taltosh has a tunic made of raw silk, or silk at least.


I think she's talking about for winter wear, but it seems like the principle should hold for summer wear as well? Follow up questions have been asked . . .

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2009 1:56 am 
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Silk rocks. I lived in the Ukraine for a few years and wore silk as a base layer. It's a fabulous insulator outdoors and then when you step into someone's oven of an apartment, it keeps you cool. I didn't think it would be so dramatic, but it really was like magic. Silk under wool is the absolute best way to keep a nice temperature balance in cold to temperate weather. I am making pure silk and silk/linen garb right now in order to survive the heat down here.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:56 am 
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Lupin wrote:
Haha my mom made my shirt for Mel.



Is that because I did such a good job and I told her I wasn't a fan of fruitcake? :P

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:47 pm 
Underling
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Great info, thanks! No one should ever have to wear polyesther on the field. Just... No.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:11 pm 
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Raw silk is, by far, my favorite fabric to work with. It takes dye beautifully and, as pretty much everyone else has said, it's ridiculously comfortable to wear. It drapes and hangs like the more "refined" silks but costs about half as much per yard.

The best place I've found for any kind of silk (as well as cotton, hemp, and bamboo-cotton fabrics) is Dharma Trading Company. I've mentioned it before in this forum, and I will pimp this site till the cows come home--for good reason. It's an excellent source for purchasing fabric, dyes, and some ready-to-dye clothing blanks, but it's also a great informational resource as well. Their prices are fair (as with any fabric order, it's the shipping costs that'll kill you) and their customer service is excellent. You can order their swatch books for cheap to get a good idea of what's what on their site and what fabric best suits you.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 5:46 pm 
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What's hemp fabric like? I've heard it's very durable, but what are its other properties like? Does it breathe as well as linen? How smooth is it? I've never actually handled any.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 6:31 pm 
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Similarly, anyone ever handle bamboo fabrics? They sound cool...


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:16 pm 
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Well, I'm about to have a hemp tunic, I'll be able to report on it soon. Still no word on bamboo.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 12:26 pm 
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How did the hemp work out for you, Oisin?

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2009 9:59 pm 
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My girlfriend almost bought a bamboo fiber t-shirt. I've seen bamboo fabric sort of like hemp, but in this case it was made by some australian clothing company and it was the softest fabric I've ever felt in my life. and you can grow an entire wardrobe worth in like 100 square feet in 2 years. Win.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:17 am 
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SALE ON HEAVYWEIGHT LINEN:

http://www.fabrics-store.com/first.php? ... &article=2

Makes good pants, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:58 pm 
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I have no clue why this article was never stickied. Good stuff.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:41 pm 
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I agree on the sticky remark; I also want to add... finding anything on the listed sites in teal is a real *. Perhaps I should switch my scheme to red and black... I doubt that's been done before...

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:50 pm 
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I'll see what I can do about updating those, btw. Some of them are rather out of date by now, and I've added some new favorite sites for wool as well. Linen, well, it's still pretty one-site-fits-all.

Except, I have since discovered (through Colbern's wonderful kaftan) an excellent new source for fine linen: estate sales, yard sales, that sort of thing. Buy peoples' vintage real linen sheets, because the linen is already worn in and when it's old enough to still have been possibly hand made is of the highest quality.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Fri Dec 24, 2010 7:30 pm 
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It is stickied. It's linked to here: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=33923

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 4:37 am 
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Oisin wrote:
Cotton

(Yes, I am going to talk about cotton. I hear a lot of people say that cotton's period because it was being made in India and Egypt and imported to Europe, which is true, but that doesn't mean that everything that says 100% cotton is appropriate for Medievalesque clothing so I'm going to talk about this.)


When?

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:27 am 
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Enh . . . no idea. Short and long of it is, it doesn't perform as well as linen in ANY garbing application. It doesn't breath as well, it doesn't hold as much moisture, it's less durable. Cotton batting's ok for stuffing gambesons and the like, but the 50/50 cotton/bamboo (some of it's 55/45, same thing) is better because the bamboo gives it some antiseptic properties.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:57 am 
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I've never heard of cotton/bamboo blended cloth.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 1:02 pm 
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There is, but I'm talking batting not fabric. Never worn bamboo fabric, but it does exist. I think they use the bast from the stalk, but I'm not 100% sure about that.

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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:44 am 
Underling
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I've heard of Micronesians pounding bark (sego palm?) into cloth and making their kilts? (Don't know the polynesian name) out of them. I think some south american Indians do the same.

Konradr


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 Post subject: Re: Natural Fabric (WOOL AND LINEN AND SILK ETC)
PostPosted: Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:52 am 
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You don't pound anything "into" cloth. Not if you want a good cloth. Pounding the material you're trying to extract fiber from might be part of the process.

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