I have been playing around with a new-to-me material this week: bamboo fleece. I first heard about bamboo fleece from Gail at BrightLifeToys. Gail is an awesome customer of mine. She makes and sells toys from many of my patterns in her shop and she sews them all from bamboo fleece that she dyes herself.
I love fleece for sewing stuffed animals. A fleece toy is soft and cuddly and fleece is easy to work wtih and very forgiving of little sewing errors. I wrote some tips here on sewing softies from fleece you'd like a few pointers.
Bamboo fleece is intriguing to me in two ways. First, it's made of natural fibers. Standard fleece is made from polyester fibers whereas bamboo fleece is 70% bamboo/30% cotton. Natural fibers are so nice against the skin, especially against a new baby's skin, so I figured bamboo fleece might super nice for sewing Lovey Dovies.
And second, because it's made of natural fibers, bamboo fleece absorbs dye. The possibility of dyeing fleece was too good to pass up and I ordered a yard of this organic bamboo fleece from Nature's Fabrics. The yard is 60 inches wide which means it's a pretty generous piece. Softies don't generally require much yardage so I knew I'd get a lot of out it. Notice is only comes in white.
I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived because it turns out that bamboo fleece is incredibly soft, much softer than standard polyester fleece. I got super excited to start sewing baby toys with this stuff, but first I really wanted to try dyeing it.
I cut my fleece into a bunch of big pieces and spent an evening at the sink doing some hot water dyeing. Wetting each piece of fabric (it's super absorbent!), boiling water in the teapot, pouring it into the sink, stirring the dye, then putting in the fabric and stirring with a big spoon.
Here is my pile after it had been cold-water washed in the machine and run through the dryer.
To me it seems a tiny bit more slippery to sew with than the fleece I had been accustomed to, and it has some stretch in both directions, although more against the grain. Neither of these issues presented much of a problem, and they are well-worth dealing with to have natural, dyeable fleece in your hands.
I used the fleece I dyed to make a duck lovey. I took my penguin Lovey Dovey pattern, sewed it up in yellow, and doubled up the beak.
Bamboo fleece is somewhat more expensive than polyester fleece. My half-yard cut was $6.26 versus $4.98 for half-yard of regular fleece at Jo-Ann's (but the fleece from Jo-Ann's is two inches narrower).
Nature's Fabrics has a nice selection of other organic fabrics and I would be interested in trying their cotton velour, too. If you're want to sew a quality toy from a renewable, organic fiber that you can custom dye, I highly recommend bamboo fleece.
I've been in touch with the owner of Nature's Fabrics and she has generously offered to give away two yards of their bamboo fleece to one of my readers! This is a great opportunity to experiment with a really terrific material. Leave a comment here to enter and I'll draw a winner on Thursday, November 1, at 10:00 am EST (US residents only).
(I was not compensated in any way for this post. I just enjoyed buying and playing with this new-to-me fabric!)
Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway. Comments are now closed and the winner is #12 Nicky from Kansas City Crafty. Nicky, please send me your email address and I'll have Nature's Fabrics send out your bamboo fleece!