We're Almost At The Finish Line! (No Pun Intended)
Yesterday, we were able to watch as our cloth ran through part of the "finishing" process. This is the final process in turning fibers to useable cloth before it can be cut and sewn. We will attempt to explain the process below in the best possible way we know how.
first things first — make it soft
Not that cotton isn't already soft in its natural state, we just want to make sure it stays soft for years to come and that all that (cough, cough) laundering doesn't kill your fabric.
so what's the first thing that happens at finishing? fire!
That's right. The rolls of fabric run through a singeing process that literally burns all the small fibers off the rolls of cloth. This is the first step in creating a truly smooth hand feel. Also, seeing all the little fibers burn off at rapid speed is a crazy sight and we apologize for being too mesmerized to remember to take a photo or video.
Last time we talked about our fabric we discussed the weaving process. If you will recall, the warp yarns went through a process called "slashing" where a sizing solution was applied to the yarn to help it withstand the wear and tear of weaving on the loom. This coating makes the fabric rough and not really "soft and smooth" like we want a sheet to feel. SO after we burn off all those pesky small fibers from our fabric we get down to what really matters in the first steps of finishing — getting the sizing out!
The process of "desizing" boils down to the cloth being steeped in a dilute acid (smells like vinegar) and then rinsed. But that almost makes it sound too simple. We can't begin to describe the vastness of this type of machinery. The machines themselves must run at least half the length of a football field and operate at exceptional speed. You can look through the windows of the machinery like your looking in an oven and see your fabric flowing through the process. It's really a beautiful sight.
Basically, this is your fabric's first laundering experience. Scouring, is a chemical washing process that removes the natural wax and non-fibrous impurities (the remains of seed fragments) from the fibers and any added soiling or dirt. Wouldn't you think that after all that the cotton has endured from picking to now that most of its seeds/stems/dirt would be gone? Apparently, cotton likes to hang on to those "impurities" for dear life!
leaving it natural
As you may know, we are providing two different color options for our signature sheet sets. So after all the fabric is scoured, our "natural" lot will get a softening treatment and will forego bleaching. This allows our natural cotton fiber's color to really shine. Did you know that the "natural" color of cotton can change per where it was grown and what the weather was like during it's growing season? We all look out at the fields of cotton and just see a sea of "white". But once you get into a lab and start looking at all the ranges and variables of "white" you will see the difference. To us, this is something really unique about our products. Every year our cotton's color will reflect on how it is grown and no two sets will be the EXACT same.
getting the bright whites
It's hard to go wrong with a traditional "white" bed sheet. So we will be offering that too. We selected to go with an "antique" white to compliment the heirloom nature of our inspiration. It's a beautiful soft white and we sure hope you all like it! It wasn't an EASY process by any means. The perfect "white" is achieved by selecting a combination of red and blue dyes that best removes the natural "yellow" hue of cotton. Fortunately, we were able to go in and look at some dye tests and pick the best white for us. We love our vendors who truly care about our product as much as we do!
It's the last weird word of the process! This final step helps ensure that when you dry or launder your sheets that it will still fit on the bed you purchased it to fit on. In short — it won't shrink. The fabric is forced by width and length to meet our set dimension for cutting and sewing. This final step also aids in softening up the fabric just a touch more.
* Disclaimer: Please always wash your fresh set of sheets before putting them on your bed. This will ensure your sheets will be set and ready to be slept on for generations!