Is barkcloth a comfortable fabric?
June 9, 2019 12:59 PM   Subscribe

Would barkcloth be irratable for someone with sensitive skin?

I've been buying aloha shirts off eBay and noticed some of the older vintage shirts from the 60s-70s are made from barkcloth. I don't know if this material will be too itchy against bare skin as I've never worn this fabric.
posted by cazoo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total)
Can you link to an example of what you are asking about? I have some experience with actual barkcloth/tapa/kapa, which is made from paper mulberry bark by a specific technique, and the texture varies quite a bit, depending on where it is made. Also, I'm asking because a lot of shirts called barkcloth are actually cotton etc. just printed with designs traditionally used on barkcloth, rather than being made of actual barkcloth.
posted by gudrun at 1:13 PM on June 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Here's a few examples (1) (2) with close-ups photo of the fabric.
posted by cazoo at 1:43 PM on June 9, 2019

If you look closely at those pictures, you can see it’s woven, not literally sheets of bark pounded thin. It might be called ‘bark cloth’, but it’s not literal tapa/siapo.
posted by LizardBreath at 1:45 PM on June 9, 2019 [3 favorites]

Mr. BlahLaLa has a milion of those shirts, and they're just woven fabric, mostly cotton. Unless you can't wear anything with a slightly rougher texture -- say, terrycloth -- you won't have a problem.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:57 PM on June 9, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yep, agreeing with LizardBreath and BlahLaLa; those are just regular woven fabric, and they look like cotton/mostly cotton. They are just printed with designs taken from/inspired by barkcloth. They are not actually made of barkcloth.
posted by gudrun at 2:05 PM on June 9, 2019

Barkcloth is generally textured cotton on the outside and smooth on the inside, so says this barkcloth skirt-wearer a d vintage curtain aficionado.
posted by sarajane at 4:28 PM on June 9, 2019 [2 favorites]

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