Fabrics

Published on December 14th, 2010 | by Becky Striepe

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Fab Fabrics: Modal Made From Beechwood

Beech Forest

A Beech Forest in the UK

Have you guys heard of Modal fabric? It’s made using pulp from beechwood, and a lot of folks are touting it right now as an eco-friendly alternative to more conventional rayons.

Modal is super soft and doesn’t shrink like cotton. It has a really nice drape and is considered a “bio-based” fabric. This means that it’s made using natural materials but isn’t considered a natural product.

Bio-Based Fabrics

The process to create Modal is similar to the one used to create rayon from bamboo. It’s an intense, chemical process that takes the pulp from natural beechwood to produce a synthetic fabric.

Of course, there are folks who tout the fabric’s benefits, too. Royal Robbins is a clothing company that produces Modal apparel. In this video, a Modal advocate from Royal Robbins talks about the fabric’s upsides:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ynt0TFZJung

So what do you think? Do the upsides outweigh the harsh chemicals used in Modal’s production process? Like bamboo, the answer is far from cut and dry. Let’s discuss in the comments below.

[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by treehouse1977]

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .



  • MadScientistK

    Closed loop rayon production, which reuses the chemicals rather than dumping them, is pretty ecologically sound. Tencel and Lyocell both are made in a closed loop process with fewer and less harmful chemicals, and I’d argue that they are more ‘green’ than conventional cotton. Bamboo rayons are usually made with the acetate process and the chemicals are rarely reclaimed.

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