We acquire the raw cotton from biologically controlled sources in Egypt, Turkey and Peru. In other words, pesticides or artificial fertilisers are not used on the fields. (Please look at these test reports: 1 2 3 ) Our cotton is hand picked which makes defoliants unnecessary and also improves the quality. When cotton is machine harvested, the cotton plants have to be chemically defoliated, so that the picking machines do not harvest the leaves as well.
The experts are still undecided as to the medical impact of chemical residues in textiles, it is, however, quite clear that local workers suffer when they are in regular contact with clouds of pesticides or have to breathe in the dust from defoliants while working with cotton.
It does not matter how clean the cotton is, if dubious materials are used during its processing. In principle all substances, which penetrate the skin, whether natural or artificial, can irritate or even cause allergic reactions. It depends very much on the individual sensitivity of each person. It is therefore important to make sure at every stage of the processing that the fewest possible additives are used. Most can be left out altogether. This so- called “finishing” is very often dangerous and almost always unnecessary.
The attentive reader will now wonder why these substances are used at all if they are not necessary and cost money. The answer is that they save more money during the production process than they cost. From the dressing substance which makes the weaving easier to the crease proofing which makes the ironing easier in the shop, quite a few little aids are used and some of those to no advantage. So for instance optical brightening of coloured fabrics makes no sense but is used so that two different kinds of yarns to no have to be produced, stored and managed.
The one thing even we cannot manage without is colour, because colourless materials would after a while become insipid and boring. We make sure, however, that only the best dyes are used, even if that means that the range of colours is slightly reduced. Our criteria are:
1. The dyes must be as pure as possible. They should ideally consist of only one substance, because, as we mentioned before, each substance is a potential allergen.
2. The dyes must not contain dubious ingredients (for instance halogens or heavy metals )
3. The binding of dye to yarn must be fast because only when the dye leaves the yarn can it penetrate the skin. Plant dyes do not fulfil the first of our criteria, and the third only when dyeing yarns containing proteins (wool, silk). We mention this because we are often asked why we do not use plant pigments for our dyes.
Apart from cotton we very much like using linen and hemp, because both these materials grow more or less on our doorstep and both plants can be extensively cultivated. In other words, both these plants grow almost like weeds and need neither fertilisers nor pesticides.
However, the easier their cultivation is, the more demanding hemp and linen are when they are being processed. Quite a lot of mechanical effort is needed to transform a rough stalk into a fluffy yarn, which is one of the reasons why linen and hemp fabrics are finally more expensive than cotton.
It does not matter if the cotton comes from Peru, the linen from England or the hemp from Baden – all the other stages of manufacture from spinning the yarns to the final packaging take place in southern Germany or Austria. This saves transport and guarantees the same high quality of our product.
Speaking of quality…
The weft threads in all DIDYMOS wraps consist of two cotton strands that are not plyed.
On the twill (purple wrap, right) the weft threads (in the example, right purple) weave in and out of two warp threads each whereby the changeover in every row shifts by one warp thread.
In this way, we achieve the special elasticity along the bias whereby the plyed warp threads keep the wrap in shape in the long term.
The plain weft threads prevent the wrap becoming rigid in the wash and create a slightly rough surface that stabilises the fit.
With the Prima wraps, (blue wrap, right) the changeover is not regular, but occurs according to the pattern that is being woven.
Additionally, with Jacquard, lots of different coloured weft threads are worked in.
For the manufacture, we require special looms and a particularly patient and experienced master weaver. The plain weft threads do tend to get caught in the latticework of warp threads during weaving. This leads to the creation of our ‘Special Offers’.
Another characteristic of DIDYMOS wraps is the yarn dying. This means that the yarns are dyed before weaving. This is carried out in a type of ‘pressure cooker’ (left). It is most common to dye or print newly woven (plain) fabrics.
The advantages of yarn dying:
The dying process is carried out in a dying bath. The fibres are fully saturated in the dye, which improves wear resistance.
Each working step only involves one single dye. The dying conditions can be ideally adjusted with regard to temperature, application time and the dye’s pH value. This enables us to achieve the best possible fixation on the fibres and an intense colour effect.
In the end, the recovery of the dye is easier and more complete, as the dye remains pure throughout the entire process and prevents wastage.
The disadvantages are – as is so often the case – of an economic nature:
We always need a supply of various yarns in stock. We also have a good inventory of finished materials and can only estimate which models will be popular in the future.
This type of warehouse is difficult to manage, calculation errors are often only evident months later and it’s not cheap.
It would certainly be more affordable to continuously weave the same white fabric and print it on demand.
However, we don’t do cheap. We do quality.