Tyvek Innovative Uses Blog, by Material Concepts

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tyvek Space Jacket

The next big venture for some private companies, such as Virgin Galactic, is making outer space the next tourist destination. While all of the details are still getting worked out on bringing people to outer space, one aspect of the master plan that has already been thought of is what people will wear while in space. It is very possible that space explorers will be wearing none other than Tyvek. That's right, this seemingly ordinary, yet wonderfully extraordinary, product is capable of withstanding the harsh conditions in outer space. As mentioned in an Outside Online article, Betabrand has created a Space Jacket, which has an outer layer made from Tyvek.

Betabrand Space Jacket
Betabrand describes Tyvek as "light, breathable, and resilient." Furthermore, designer Steven B. Wheeler enthusiastically told Material Concepts that "I am often inspired by the materials themselves, and up close, Tyvek 1443r has such a cool look to it that really does seem space-age. It called to mind the outer layer of an astronaut's EVA (extra-vehicular activity) suit, so that's where I began my visual research. I decided Tyvek would be a great outer layer because of it's color, texture, and low weight. The other materials like the silvered nylon and Primaloft insulation were chosen because of their looks and high-performance characteristics, that complimented the Tyvek shell."

Space Jacket being sown
Wheeler also told Material Concepts that he "hired a contract quilting service to sandwich the layers together and run a computerized box
 quilt pattern over the yardage, which had the added bonus of softening the Tyvek (type 1443r arrived very crisp and papery, but the process of constructing the jacket made it very supple as it broke in)." Furthermore, he said that "laying my pattern out over the quilted yardage preparing it for cutting was easy, as I could trace the pattern with a marker directly onto the Tyvek without needing to pin. When sewing, I found needles didn't last as long as I am used to with typical fabric. Actual construction and handling the garment during sewing was, if anything, easier than usual with woven fabric because of it's initial papery texture that could be folded and creased by hand."

Consumers are so gung-ho about the Space Jacket, that not only did it meet its fundraising goal, but it raised 200% of its funding goal. Additionally, Wheeler comments that "people in the space industry who've seen the jacket in person are initially delighted with the overall look of it, and when they take a closer look or try it on, they really like the choice of materials. I've had a more than a couple ask me if it was Tyvek, and it's extremely cool to have it recognized." Maybe if we're lucky, production will take off sooner than planned and we can have Space Jackets for the next polar vortex.

Check out Betabrand's website to see more of their out-of-this-world products. All photos used with permission. Special thanks to Steven B. Wheeler for providing Material Concepts with additional information.

Thinking about using Tyvek for your next fashion design? If you are, you can purchase many styles of Tyvek® online. For further assistance, please contact Material Concepts or call us at 215-338-6515.

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