Before 2018, my textile knowledge was pretty limited. Growing up, I spent a lot of time in fabric stores, but instead of learning about fabric, I mostly complained about how long it was taking my mom to select fabric for whatever clothing item she was going to make. She made a lot of matching ensembles for my sister and me. Fast forward to spring 2018, when Mindy and I decided we needed pajamas for night sweats, we pored over research about fabric.
My first sense was to go to a fabric store and pay attention this time. I’d read about bamboo fabrics and was intrigued for a variety of reasons. I liked that bamboo was sustainable, the stalks look cool, and I had kept some alive for several years. That had to account for something, right? There also was a lot of discussion on fashion and textile blogs about the growing popularity of bamboo. So, I went to my local fabric store and began to look around. I didn’t see any bamboo. I saw a lot of polyester, and I knew that was not what we wanted. I had polyester and knew I didn’t like how it felt when I started to sweat. Plus, a medical expert told us the worst thing you can wear when sweating was synthetic fabrics (polyester, most rayons).
I asked a clerk at the fabric store for bamboo.
“Ah, yes, I think we have bamboo,” he said taking off toward the cotton section. “Right here.”
Enthusiastically, he pulled out a bolt of a bamboo print. When I explained I didn’t want a fabric with bamboo on it, rather fabric made out of bamboo, he looked confused. No, he’d never heard of it.
This did not discourage me, because I liked the idea of a fabric that couldn’t easily be found at a local fabric store.
We did more research into bamboo and liked what we were reading in both fashion blogs and scientific research. So, we ordered some online (note to future fashion designers, this is not how you go about choosing fabric, we were naïve in the beginning). It did feel soft. And, it was nice and stretchy, so I got out my Viking sewing machine and decided I would just whip up a pair of PJs. This also was a mistake. This soft, stretchy fabric isn’t quite as easy to sew as I thought it would be. (Stay tuned for another post on other mistakes and missteps of starting a pajama business).
Here’s what’s really important about this whole story. Bamboo is fantastic for a lot of reasons. Here are the top 5 things we love about our cooling, comfortable pajamas and why we think bamboo is a perfect fit for those of us who suffer from night sweats and hot flashes:
1. It is highly sweat absorbent, which means it pulls moisture away from your skin for evaporation, and that keeps you dry. One study found that bamboo can absorb up to three times its weight in water. That’s a lot of sweat.
2. Bamboo is breathable, so when it wicks away moisture, it evaporates quickly, instead of sticking to your skin.
3. It is also insulating, which is how it keeps you cool when you’re hot and warm when you’re cold.
4. It’s naturally antibacterial, so it keeps you odor free. Plus, it’s less likely to cause allergic reactions like a lot of fibers, such as wool and hemp. It retains its antibacterial qualities wash after wash.
5. It’s super soft and feels a lot like silk against your skin. It’s one of the softest fabrics available. Even when bamboo is spun with cotton (which our CoolRevolution PJs are made of), it retains all the same qualities and feels light and airy.
There are other things that make bamboo a great choice for soft, comfortable pajamas (or any clothing, really). It’s anti static. It’s also UV protective, cutting up to 98 percent of harmful UV rays. Of course, we also love that bamboo is sustainable, because bamboo is quick growing and doesn’t require the use of pesticides and herbicides. It really has been the perfect fabric for cooling pajamas. We hope you’ll like them as much as we do. If you haven’t already, click here to order.