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By Cameron Luther (Ed.)

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The process of transforming ramie fibre into fabric is similar to manufacturing linen from flax. The fibre is very fine and silk-like, naturally white in colour and has a high lustre. II Ramie Advantages of Ramie • Resistant to bacteria, mildew and insect attack. • Extremely absorbent. • Dyes fairly easy. • Increases in strength when wet. • Withstands high water temperatures during laundering. • Smooth lustrous appearance improves with washing. • Keeps its shape and does not shrink. • Can be bleached.

Unfortunately, the chemistry of this compound liberates formaldehyde over 2,000 parts per million. The carcinogenic and dermatological effects of formaldehyde led to a declining interest in wrinkle resistant fmishes. The fmishing of garments to achieve permanent press properties was first presented at the 1987 International AATCC conference in Charlotte, NC, USA. Vapour phase finishing of cotton garments with gaseous formaldehyde and DMDHEU immersion finishing were the two options that were discussed.

They also can be blended with other fibres including cotton, linen, wool, rayon and Lycra spandex. Blends enhance the appearance, hand, drape and performance properties of the fabric. At this time there are no regulations about the per cent of micro necessary for using the term micro-fibre. The fabric industry agrees that 35 to 40 percent is the minimwn amount required to retain the desired hand and performances. lg the product a 'micro-fibre'. Micro-fibres can be woven or knitted into a variety of fabrics such as twill, satin, faille, crepe, taffeta and broadcloth.

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