• Natural fibres are greatly elongated substances produced by plants and animals that can be spun into filaments, thread or rope. Woven, knitted, matted or bonded, they form fabrics that are essential to society.atural fibres are greatly elongated substances produced by plants and animals that can be spun into filaments, thread or rope. Woven, knitted, matted or bonded, they form fabrics that are essential to society.
• Like agriculture, textiles have been a fundamental part of human life since the dawn of civilization. Fragments of cotton articles dated from 5000 BC have been excavated in Mexico and Pakistan. According to Chinese tradition, the history of silk begins in the 27th century BC. The oldest wool textile, found in Denmark, dates from 1500 BC, and the oldest wool carpet, from Siberia, from 500 BC. Fibres such as jute and coir have been cultivated since antiquity.
• While the methods used to make fabrics have changed greatly since then, their functions have changed very little: today, most natural fibres are still used to make clothing and containers and to insulate, soften and decorate our living spaces. Increasingly, however, traditional textiles are being used for industrial purposes as well as in components of composite materials, in medical implants, and geo- and agro-textiles.
VARIETIES OF NATURAL FIBRES
• Wool, animal fibre forming the protective covering, or fleece, of sheep or of other hairy mammals, such as goats and camels. Prehistoric man, clothing himself with sheepskins, eventually learned to make yarn and fabric from their fibre covering. Selective sheep breeding eliminated most of the long, coarse hairs forming a protective outer coat, leaving the insulating fleecy undercoat of soft, fine fibre.
• Wool is mainly obtained by shearing fleece from living animals, but pelts of slaughtered sheep are sometimes treated to loosen the fibre, yielding an inferior type called pulled wool. Cleaning the fleece removes “wool grease,” the fatty substance purified to make lanolin (q.v.), a by-product employed in cosmetics and ointments.
• Wool fibre is chiefly composed of the animal protein keratin. Protein substances are more vulnerable to chemical damage and unfavourable environmental conditions than the cellulose material forming the plant fibres. Coarser than such textile fibres as cotton, linen, silk, and rayon, wool has diameters ranging from about 16 to 40 microns (a micron is about 0.00004 inch). Length is greatest for the coarsest fibres. Fine wools are about 1.5 to 3 inches (4 to 7.5 centimetres) long; extremely coarse fibres may be as much as 14 inches in length. Wool is characterized by waviness with up to 30 waves per inch (12 per centimetre) in fine fibres and 5 per inch (2 per centimetre) or less in coarser fibres. Colour, usually whitish, may be brown or black, especially in coarse types, and coarse wools have higher lustre than fine types.
• Single wool fibres can resist breakage when subjected to weights of 0.5 to 1 ounce (15 to 30 grams) and when stretched as much as 25 to 30 percent of their length. Unlike vegetable fibres, wool has a lower breaking strength when wet. The resilient fibre can return to its original length after limited stretching or compression, thus imparting to fabrics and garments the ability to retain shape, drape well, and resist wrinkling. Because crimp encourages fibres to cling together, even loosely twisted yarns are strong, and both crimp and resilience allow manufacture of open-structured yarns and fabrics that trap and retain heat-insulating air. The low density of wool allows manufacture of lightweight fabrics.
Wool is active, reacting to changes in ones body temperature to keep you warm when you’re cold but releasing heat and moisture when you’re hot.It can insulate the home providing and retaining warmth; reducing energy costs.The natural elasticity of the fibres means it stretches with the wearer, but then returns to its natural shape, so there is less chance of garments sagging or losing their shape.
• Silk fabric is made from silk fiber. Silk fiber is a natural protein. Insect larvae produce the protein while building their cocoons. The larvae of the mulberry silkworm are the most popular silk producers. The mulberry silkworms are bred in captivity to produce silk used for textiles. The process of creating silk fabric is called sericulture.
Sericulture – the process of harvesting & producing silk
The mulberry silkworms are cultivated with – you guessed it – mulberry leaves. The larvae eat and build their cocoons on the mulberry leaves. Once the larvae begin to pupate (their next developmental stage to develop from larvae to moths), they are dissolved in boiling water. Producers can then separate and pull long silk fibers to feed them individually to a spinning reel.
the properties of silk fabric
• Silk has a natural sheen. This is attributed to the fact that silk fibers are triangular in cross-section. When light hits the fiber, it reflects from each of the flat surfaces.
• In its fabric form, silk is smooth and soft, without being slippery. Many synthetic fabrics that try to imitate silk do have a slippery quality. Silk absorbs and releases moisture well and is one of the strongest natural fibers. However, it does not have good elasticity and weakens if exposed to prolonged sunlight. It can also leave you victim to static cling.
• Silk fiber is also used to make chiffon, charmeuse, dupioni, noil, habutai, and crepe de chine. But be aware, many synthetic fibers are now used to make these fabrics on a lower budget.
• Unfortunately, silk is a higher impact natural fiber. Since the fiber is produced by animals, the carbon and water footprint is higher than some other natural fibers.
• Domesticated silk worms no longer exist in the wild. Their survival is completely dependent on their human cultivators.
what is raw silk?
Raw silk is silk thread and fabric that still contains sericin, sometimes known as silk gum. Sericin is a gelatinous protein substance that is produced by the silkworm during the natural production of the cocoon. A cocoon is made of mostly the fibroin protein to provide structure and the sericin protein as a binder. Sericin also serves to protect the silk fibers. It is often not removed until the silk is ready to be dyed. The sericin is often removed (during the boiling process) to give the final product more luster and sheen. When the sericin is removed, the silk can lose up to 30% of its weight.
Silk is suitable for every occasion, it is used to sew garments for everyday wear and clothes for the most significant events. Some silk fabrics keep the shape well and others drape perfectly, laying down soft folds. We can create a great variety of garments, differing in cut, style, occasion, and color.