I have learned that some people have sensitive skin or other health issues and are not able to wear polyester, even in it’s soft, polar fleece form. So I cranked up Google to track down an alternative, and I discovered that there are several!
I had some socks a few years ago that were made partly from bamboo. They were SO soft, I wondered what part of the bamboo plant they had possibly come from. So when I found “bamboo fleece”, I wanted to try it. The custom sleeve that I made for my sister out of bamboo fleece is a good alternative to polyester fleece. It was a bit harder to sew and was not quite as fluffy but I think would be just as warm as my regular Sleepy or Bookworm Sleeves.
The label says it is a mix of bamboo and organic cotton. It is at least twice as expensive as polyester polar fleece, which is a downside. But for someone who needs it, it could be worth it. (Nature’s Fabrics has a good selection of colors and blends)
I was still curious as to the manufacturing process. And here is where I found another downside. Evidently there is a rough, linen type fabric that is made from the bamboo fibers, but the soft bamboo fabrics are made by totally dissolving the bamboo pulp in chemicals and extruding the “goo” to form soft fibers–essentially rayon. In fact, labeling has become troublesome, since little of the bamboo survives the chemical process. You can read an article here that does a good job of balancing both sides of the issue.
So I guess I will try some 100% cotton fleeces next time. It even comes in organic! Have you had any experience with any of the alternative fleeces? Would love to hear from you!