Fabric Selection – the story behind our choice of Bamboo
My first (ever) blog is about how we came to select a bamboo based fabric for our initially range of clothing.
Ginger and Jardine was born out of the need to find something to wear in winter months when doing outdoorsy things (and inside as our house is usually quite cold) to keep warm and snuggly – the wardrobe essential – the Roll Neck (or as I usually call it the polo neck).
I spend most of the winter months in a polo neck top but as much as I love wool, I can’t abide it next to my skin – even the finest and most expensive merino wool causes me irritation. Cotton is nice but it doesn’t often feel that soft and luxurious and whilst silk is gorgeous there is the washing issue; my daughter’s knitted silk polo neck spends 70% of its life at the bottom of the wash basket waiting for a hand wash!
It was a good friend of mine who first muted the idea of trialing bamboo; she had been to stay in the United States (where bamboo fabric is more common) and said how fantastically soft the bamboo bed linen was in her hotel bedroom and I should perhaps investigate it as a possible fabric to use.
I went on to re-search the pros and cons of bamboo fabric and couldn’t find many disadvantages and was blown away by how gorgeous it was to wear – the softness being a real hit for me and no irritation next to the skin. I went on to buy a lot of clothing (all for research purposes of course!) from existing retailers who specialise in bamboo albeit not for the Country market.
The fabric is made from yarn produced from the leaves of Bamboo trees. The bamboo leaves need to be processed to form a usable yarn and this process is called viscose; the cellulose is broken down in a liquid which is then pressed into fibres, cooled and then spun into a yarn. If you have heard of Modal that is very similar – it is produced from the pulp of beech trees and is also very soft but without the moisture absorbency of bamboo.
Once hooked with bamboo viscose we went on to sample from many factories spinning the yarn and knitting fabrics. We did look at UK suppliers but because it is such a small market there was very little choice in terms of weights and knits. Finally and after a long sampling and counter sampling process we placed an order for nearly 2 tonnes of fabric from a small supplier in Asia in August 2018. In December 2018 our fabric was ready to be shipped having been made to our specification and in January 2019 it arrived at the port of Felixstowe in our home county of Suffolk.
There is no doubt it was a daunting process – a huge investment and daunting commitment but it was very exciting when we saw the vessel the “Ever Gifted” slowly coming into dock with fabric to start our new business.