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Is polyester really so bad?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I've been making felt food for DS1 and all out of joannfabrics felt which is 100% polyester.

It looks great, he likes it, but I saw some posts where MDC mamas said it was bad? is it that bad. I mean its better than plastic right? I just don't think we could afford wool...does joanns even carry wool felt?

post #2 of 9

Polyester *is* plastic - melted and spun out to be a sort of fiber.  However, I make my playfood with the stuff you're talking about.  I think it's a matter of where you place importance.  I make things because I want my kids to value the time put into things.  The poly felt is a recycled product derived entirely from plastic bottles, and is (all of it that I've seen) made in the USA.  To me those two facts account for something.  I also want to be budget conscious and simply cannot justify wool for us.  It would be nice if the poly felt were thicker and denser, but I'll take what I can get.  :)

post #3 of 9

Another option is recycling wool sweaters from thrift shops by felting them in the washer.  Cheap, low toxin and the very easiest on the environment.  Sometimes I do use the recycled plastic stuff, too, it depends on the use.  Not best if your kid likes to actually put his mouth on it, though, but still a step up from commercial, not recycled plastic play food.  Another natural option is cotton velour (which also feels very nice) if you are going the no plastic route.

post #4 of 9

I use viscose (?) felt, which is not plastic. It´s not really natural, is like cotton made from different materials (I don´t understand the process very well) It does behave like cotton though (it will not melt or lie around for 1000 years) 

 

I don´t know if you can get in the u.s., I quite like it, it´s a good alternative to the acrylic stuff. 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Triniity View Post

I use viscose (?) felt, which is not plastic. It´s not really natural, is like cotton made from different materials (I don´t understand the process very well) It does behave like cotton though (it will not melt or lie around for 1000 years) 

 

I don´t know if you can get in the u.s., I quite like it, it´s a good alternative to the acrylic stuff. 

 

 

Viscose is made of fibrous materials like wood pulp, corn husk, plant stalks, etc, left over after harvest.  It is made of natural things but the process to make them spinnable isn't quite a natural process, requiring some specialized chemicals and heat.  Just for your info.  And I agree it's a good acrylic alternative.



 

post #6 of 9

That felt is plastic so it's not really better than plastic (the same is true of poly stuffing)  Price is the top reason to compromise and have plastic toys of whatever sort, so it's the same old dilemma.  But you are going to a lot of effort to make something nice by hand and that time and energy hardly seems worth it if the material is still a plastic.  I try to go with fewer toys, or fewer total sheets of felt, and still get the nicer natural materials. 

 

Or learn to make toys from cheap cotton fabrics--it won't act like felt in that you need to turn it to put seam allowances inside but you can still make nice things with some sewing skills.  (I'd stuff with wool or cotton then!)

 

I'd skip the sweater-recycling idea if I were you.  The cost of a few sweaters at thrift stores is generally more than a few sheets of new wool felt and the felting, handling, thickness will be unpredictable and the color choices very few.  

post #7 of 9

Thanks FarmerBeth, I never knew where this felt came from, now I do :)

post #8 of 9

I think a lot has to do with feel. I've always been pretty sensitive, and I really don't like the feel of acrylic felt, but wool felt feels nice. B/c I don't like the feel, I'm not as motivated to work on projects with acrylic felt, or play with them with my child. A highly sensitive child would probably enjoy the feel of wool felt more, but if your child isn't terribly sensitive and the cost is prohibitive, then go right ahead with viscose or acrylic. There's also the environmental factor - wool felt toys will eventually biodegrade while acrylic never will, completely, but sometimes other concerns take priority - I think 99% of us must make those compromises from time to time.

post #9 of 9

I was thinking about this today... my dd has a felt nativity set she plays with and it's made of poleyester or acrylic felt, and I noticed it doesn't hold up as well as her wool felt playthings - I think maybe wool binds better in the felting process? Anyway, I remember seeing wool/acrylic felt blends at JoAnn's, which would be cheaper, but it maybe only in big bolts. I don't remember.

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