Before we get to Cloud9's latest goodness, let's explore the origins of the term barkcloth for a moment. Its roots are in the ancient tradition of beating soaked strips of the fibrous inner bark of specific trees to make cloth. This tradition is still practiced today with the resulting cloth being used in interior design and by textile artists around the world.
Detail of bark cloth from tree fiber (www.source4style.com)
Bark cloth jacket (bkaccelerator.com/4-ancient-textiles-fit-king/)
The barkcloth in the video below is harvested from the mutuba tree and does not harm the tree. The bark of the tree regenerates and can be harvested repeatedly over dozens of years.
Bark cloth making in Uganda (University of North Texas)
For home sewing and decor, barkcloth is commonly (but not always) made from cotton with a special weave that gives the cloth a knubby texture, reminiscent of traditional bark cloth. For purposes of distinction we refer to the original, tree fiber, as 'bark cloth' (two words) and the woven fabric as 'barkcloth' (one word). Barkcloth was extremely popular for home decor and fashion in the middle of the 20th century (think Mad Men couture). The patterns ranged from tropical prints to geometric designs. Although the popularity of barkcloth had waned it is now enjoying a revival in the recent interest in mid-century design. Cloud9 Fabrics is doing their part to help encourage the revival with Time Warp by Jessica Jones, a beautiful collection of retro-inspired prints on a medium-weight, knubby weave well-suited for outerwear, bags and totes, upholstery, drapes, and other home decor.
Detail of the different width fibers in the warp and weft of Time Warp Barkcloth.
Time Warp Sunburst | Pink
Time Warp Loop | Navy
The soft knubby texture of the weave catches the light beautifully - the fabric almost shimmers! Time Warp Quadrant | Pink
Mid-century chair by Caroline Devoy (Cloud9fabrics.com)
Time Warp Jacket by Karen LePage. Pattern: Butterick B5685 (Cloud9fabrics.com)
Cloud9 Fabrics Time Warp Booth at Quilt Market Fall 2014 (Cloud9fabrics.com)
Want to learn more about barkcloth and bark cloth? Here are some excellent posts: