We were so intrigued when we received this fabric from a West Coast designer. At first glance it is a stable white cotton. The color grabbed us right away since it is a soft summer white as opposed to the more typical optic white. On closer examination we saw that the fabric is woven in a half basket weave (two over one) to produce a subtle texture. But the most interesting fact that got our attention was the fiber content, 95% cotton/5% metal.
We generally subject our fabrics to a burn test before marketing them unless we have a mill tag with exact fiber content. When I told Judy there was 5% metal in the fabric she looked at me like I was crazy or at the very least mistaken! But our supplier had assured us that indeed designers are adding a small percentage of steel filament to their fabrications to reach the desired effect–more on that in a minute. So we did the burn test and guess what we found!!!!!
You can see in the picture the typical brown tinged edge that results from burning cotton, but the fibers that are left are indeed metal. Way coooool! The filament steel is woven in the cross grain of the fabric. The warp is all cotton and most of the weft is cotton with these very fine metal yarns mixed in. The resulting fabric has just a hint of crunch to it. Does it wrinkle? Yes, but most of the wrinkles are soft similar to what you would get with any textured cotton. We think the interesting use of this fabric comes in the sharp crease you can get from folding on the lengthwise. We suspect the designer was looking for that quality. How nice for a sharply creased pant leg? We also surmise that the wrinkles you would normally get on the crosswise of the fabric are more subdued since those yarns are stabilized by the wire. We’ll go forward with more experimentation, but this fabric is headed for my sewing room based on color and texture alone!
We’ve started seeing this fiber blend on lots of casual ready-to-wear. In a recent browse on the web, I found an anorak jacket, cargo pants, short skirt and a raincoat all fashioned from a blend of cotton and metal producing a very chic wrinkled look.
Parchment Crunch is on its way to subscribers next week.