Thanks to innovations, sustainable desires, the passion for ethical fashion, and good 'ole YouTube, there's more to share. Let's start with the characteristics of banana fiber:
- The fineness and spinnability is better than bamboo or ramie fiber, although similar in appearance.
- It's strong, yet smaller length.
- It's light, absorbs well, and releases moisture quickly.
- It's biodegradable and without any negative effects on the environment.
- It can be spun through almost all the methods of spinning, including ring-spinning, open-end spinning, bast-fiber spinning, semi-worsted spinning, and more.
- Rich McEachran of The Guardian recently (2015) writes that Offset Warehouse, an eco-textile company, partnered with NGO in Nepal to ensure that banana fabric production supports the artisan sector by relying on local skills. Nice, eh? They claim banana fiber making is nearly carbon neutral. The soft texture is similar to hemp or bamboo, which is perfect for manufacturing apparel like jackets and separates.
- Leena Oijala published an article (2013), titled Fiber Watch: Fabric from Bananas? She writes that the stalk from bananas to fiber has been around since the 13th century. Flashback to the sustainable-natural way of living!
- Nodus, a company that manufactures high-design rugs, writes (2013) about abaca, (banana silk), that it's valued for its exceptional strength, flexibility and resistance. The inner fibers can be used without spinning to manufacture lightweight and strong fabrics that are mainly used locally for garments, hats, and shoes.
- Guangdong Billion Union Textile CO., LTD., a Hong Kong wholly investment company, reports (2012), that the Philippine Textile Research Institute concluded that ag waste from banana plantations in the Philippines alone can generate over 300,000 tonnes of fiber.
A banana fiber decorticating machine is not an easy find, but I have a source. See the manual-style offer from Zhanjiang, China on the global trade site Alibaba.com. There you may subscribe/join to send a price query. My best guess is about USD $5000 without shipping.
As mentioned, YouTube blesses us with global videos. Check out these fiber separator instructions:
- A couple of nice creative guys in Tamil Nadu, India illustrate that every part of the Banana plant can be put to some use or the other.
- Late 2009 in Malaysia, a woman demonstrates how to make thread from a banana leaf with tools, no machinery.
- Love the 2013 video that illustrates how to make and use a homemade decorticating machine where he uses his vehicle and tires to flatten the stalks.
- Sri Achu Fibres offers banana cloth with a video of the handloom weaving process in Tamil Nadu, India. The proprietor is certified Artisan - Banana Fibre Craft Practices (from Office of the Development Commissioner for Handicrafts, Ministry of Textile, India).
That's artsy-fascinating about the colors. You know I wonder what the potential of expanding this craft is on Hawaiian islands?
Banana Fiber Production