Abaca Yarn: A Strong and Durable Natural Yarn

Abaca Yarn: A Strong and Durable Natural Yarn

What is abaca yarn?

Abaca yarn is a strong and durable natural yarn made from the fibers of the abaca plant, also known as Manila hemp. This versatile material is suitable for a wide range of textile production including weaving, knitting, and crocheting projects. With the rise of sustainable fashion, abaca yarn is gaining popularity as an alternative to synthetic fossil fuel-based yarns. 

How strong is abaca fiber?

Abaca is known to be one of the strongest among plant fibers, making it a sought-after material in the manufacturing and textile industries. It is three times stronger than cotton and two times stronger than sisal.

Aside from yarns for textile production, raw abaca fibers can be processed into pulp for papermaking or turned into ropes, strings, and twines for use in agriculture and maritime industries.

abaca fiber leaves natural fiber source
Photos from (Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority) PhilFIDA

Abaca yarn as an alternative to synthetic yarns

As consumers become more conscious of their environmental impact, there has been a growing interest in sustainable materials for textile production. One promising option for those looking to reduce their use of synthetic yarns is abaca yarn.

What are the benefits of using abaca yarn compared to synthetic yarns?

One of the key benefits of abaca yarn is its strength. Using abaca yarn offers a durable choice for textile products subjected to frequent wear like clothing, bags, and shoes.

But it's not just about strength. As a plant-based yarn, it is a renewable resource compared to synthetic yarn made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource. This makes abaca yarn a good choice for those looking to shift to more sustainable materials and reduce their carbon footprint.

Abaca plants intercropped with coconut trees (Photo from PhilFIDA)

Abaca yarn also has a unique appearance and texture. The fiber itself is lustrous and the texture is rougher than cotton and yarns. This can lend a unique look and feel to products made with abaca yarn, adding to their appeal for those looking for something a little different.

Abaca Yarn in Fashion and Design

What are the uses of abaca yarn in the textile industry? 

Traditional: Abaca is used in traditional Filipino textiles including the barong tagalog, hablon of Iloilo and the t’nalak fabric of the T’boli indigenous community South in Cotabato. Among other traditional fabrics, these textiles are highly valued for their design and craftsmanship.

Modern: Clothes made from abaca yarn have also made their way to contemporary fashion. Sustainability-minded designers like Lenora Cabili, founder of fashion brand and social enterprise Filip + Inna, have turned to natural fabrics including those made from abaca to create modern clothing with a traditional touch.

traditional textile t'nalak is woven from abaca fibers by the t'boli cultural community
T’nalak fabric woven by the T’boli community using Panublix cotton-abaca and pure cotton yarns

Blending abaca yarn with cotton

Abaca can be spun with other fibers to create yarn with added strength and durability. One example is the Panublix cotton-abaca weaving yarn blend, combining abaca and cotton fibers to create a strong yet soft yarn that is perfect for weaving

Products that use this yarn blend include bags, placemats, and rugs. The resulting products are not only beautiful, but also highly functional and long-lasting.

panublix cotton abaca yarn blend made in the philippines
(Left) Panublix cotton-abaca yarn blend (70% cotton, 30% abaca
(Right) Cotton-Abaca suksuk weave handwoven by Ma'am Elda of Cabayogan Loomweavers Association

Where to Buy Abaca Yarn

Panublix offers cotton-abaca weaving yarn for both local buyers and those based outside the Philippines. This innovative yarn blends the softness of cotton with the strength of abaca fiber - ideal for creating clothing, textiles, and accessories that are meant to be durable.

With a focus on quality and responsible sourcing, Panublix cotton-abaca yarn is made entirely within the Western Visayas region, where the cotton and abaca is sourced from farms then spun into yarn at the Regional Yarn Production and Innovation Center (RYPIC) in Miagao, Iloilo.

By using abaca yarn and natural fiber blends in creative projects, designers can stand out and meet the increasing demand of conscious consumers for meaningful and impactful products.

Buy Cotton-Abaca Yarn

panublix cotton-abaca yarn for weaving, natural eco-fiber

Panublix connects designers and brands with producers of responsibly-sourced eco-fibers, yarns and textiles, helping the fashion industry shift towards sustainability and regenerative practices. 

The Panublix platform provides designers with an easy way to access tropical yarns and textiles made from natural fibers including abaca, cotton, and pineapple. Whether you need abaca fiber, yarns, or textiles, we got you covered! Reach out to us as hello[at]panublix.com for inquiries.



Armecin, Romel B., et al. “Abaca Fiber: A Renewable Bio-resource for Industrial Uses and Other Applications.” ResearchGate, Aug. 2014, www.researchgate.net/publication/265166132_Abaca_Fiber_A_Renewable_Bio-resource_for_Industrial_Uses_and_Other_Applications.

Back to blog