The Fabric Lowdown with Jewelz ~ Part 1 Bamboo & Viscose

Just over one year ago our beloved Jewelz decided it was time to down her patternmaking tools and concentrate on her health. Not long after we meet Jewelz she was diagnosed with MS, but despite this, she remained a strong, dependable, and bright person that was an assist to the AFC team.  When she resigned, we were both disappointed but not shocked as we had noticed the struggle, she went through due to the MS of maintaining the level of professionalism that was Jewelz.

Since Jewelz’s put down her tools she has been concentrating on her health and introducing a cleaner way of life. Not that Jewelz’s didn’t consider the environment before, she just has a little more time to be considerate as well as the fact that it benefits her MS management in the process. In the MS management journey, she took the time to share her views on fabric and which ones she prefers over others and why. She shares these on her insta page and has given us permission to use these in our series of blog posts. At the end of the day, Jewelz’s is a fan of vintage but if you’re buying new or looking at developing a sustainable or ethical brand then some of her thoughts on fabric are differently worth a read.

 Are you being bamboozled by bamboo? Most people are! Bamboo is sold to us as being a natural super fibre that is organic and eco-friendly. Put simply it is NOT! Yes, the bamboo plant is natural and can be organic, however, the process to turn a solid wood or plant matter into pulp uses a chemical process. There are two main formats of turning bamboo plant matter into a fibre for fabric one process is much less taxing on the environment than the other. The first process means that the bamboo comes under a Rayon category. This process means that bamboo fabric production is one of the worst for the environment. This is the most commonly used process for bamboo production. The second process called Lyocell is much better for the environment reusing many of the chemicals & bi-products from the process of making the bamboo fabrics. The greenest production of bamboo fabric is linen bamboo. But probably the least used process. So yes bamboo plant can be more environmentally friendly as it uses less water to grow the plant, it grows quickly and can be grown without pesticides however the processes that turn it from plant matter to fabric is where it becomes less sustainable & eco-friendly or organic. Unfortunately, it is hard to define where & what process your bamboo is coming from. Many producers & manufacturers are jumping on the eco bandwagon as a new trend and selling us products that are not as clear cut as they seem.
Jewel’z advice is to do your research before investing your hard-earned money into fabrics & products. And of course, the bottom line is only to buy what you need when you need it.  

Photo by Tiko Giorgadze on Unsplash

You might be familiar with the name viscose, maybe you have seen it on the content label of your clothes. But do you really know what viscose is??? Viscose also is known as rayon is a material that in a woven form often feels similar to cotton. It has a soft feel that drapes well and is often used for summer wear for shirts, dresses, skirts, shorts and pants. Viscose can also be turned into a knit fabric and blended with Elastane. It gives a soft knit fabric that is similar to bamboo knit-in texture and feels. Viscose is created using the pulp of wood or other agricultural products. Like bamboo, the wood is broken down & turned into a pulp through a petroleum chemical process. The pulp can then be used like fibres to be spun into a material. Viscose is not generally considered to be sustainable due to the amounts of water, energy and chemicals used to turn it from wood to fabric. This can have huge negative impacts on the environment, workers and local communities. Surprisingly, viscose rayon is biodegradable, however, the chemicals used in both the process of creating the fabric & in dying can be toxic to soils & compost it is added to. Viscose has become increasingly popular in fast fashion due to the fact it is inexpensive and can give the impression of a luxury fabric for a cheap price point. It is also easily blended with other fibre contents such as cotton, wool, silk, polyester, and elastane. Further, what Jewelz has shared we will add the difference between viscose and rayon is the fibre length. Viscose if longer while rayon is shorter. Due to this rayon, maybe slightly cheaper but will also pill easier than viscose. Due to it being essentially the same fibre in Australia companies that follow guidelines refer to rayon as viscose or viscose rayon.

For future reading on this head over to

The Green Hub – Bamboo

Eco Warrior Princess – Bamboo

Contrado – Viscose

Good on You – Viscose

Katrina & Team XX