Grow your own clothes with kombucha culture

As any kombucha brewer knows, every time you brew a batch, your SCOBY mother grows another layer, an extra baby. Instead of composting it or pushing it onto your friends, what if you could make clothes out of it? That’s how Suzanne Lee made this jacket.

Check out the video below and visit Lee’s website for ideas. It looks like you could do it at home. But what to call it? Kombucha leather?

To get you started with the kombucha (for drinking), here’s a nice, concise recipe from House Kombucha in San Francisco.


  1. TS’s avatar

    Hi there,
    I am curious if there’s any dangers for those in remission from cancer eating fermented foods? Here is the question posed by a close friend in remission: “with my immune system being compromised, will lacto fermented food react differently to me, than it would you? Everything I’m reading on compromised immune system is basically saying, I’m in remission, the cancer cells are there, we all have cancer cells, but if my body becomes weak, vulnerable, the cancer will come back.”
    She would like to try fermented foods, but is a bit scared – understandably.
    Thanks for any information you have or links you might be able to guide me to.

  2. Eric’s avatar

    @TS Hi, I’m not a doctor and haven’t looked at all the studies done on live fermented foods. That said, my feeling is that, first of all, fermented foods are beneficial nutritionally, because a lot of them are made from vegetables and because, in their fermented state, the vegetables’ nutrients are more available to the digestive system. Cabbage is one of the most nutritious vegetables around. Good nutrition helps strengthen the immune system.

    I also think of fermented foods as well-proven foods. People have been eating them for ages, and I think it’s a good sign of their safety that we’re still eating them. The microbes that do the fermentation seem to be safe for us. And for them to succeed in colonizing the foods we ferment they have to out-compete other microbes that might not be safe for us, so you can think of fermentation as a kind of preservation.

    As far as studies go, more and more research is being done on the health benefits of fermented foods and there are some positive signs that fermented foods boost the immune system and, in some cases, can help fight certain diseases and cancers, but we don’t have conclusive proof. For example, a study reviewing other studies on live-culture yogurt that was published in 2000 found good reason to think that yogurt boosts the immune system and helps fight disease as a result, but they added that more research needs to be done to prove that. I’ve heard similar claims made about sauerkraut but I can’t find a link to a study.

    On a more anecdotal approach, Sandor Katz, one of today’s popularizers of fermented foods first got interested in them after he was diagnosed with HIV and developed AIDS. In his book Wild Fermentation, he says that fermented foods have helped him strengthen his immune system.

    Lastly, I like fermented foods. They taste good and make life richer. So perhaps your friend to give fermented foods a try, and start with a little bit of some easy stuff like yogurt, sauerkraut, or live pickles and see how she feels. If it feels good, she might eat a bit more and so on. Good luck!

  3. Scooter’s avatar

    TS, from my work with people like Dr. Elaine Ingham and Dr. Mike Amaranthus, I believe these natural organisms like lactobacillus are not additional problems but the answers to the carcinogens and toxins in our environs. We already have good evidence soil biologies remediate toxins better than human interventions usually do. Cornell did a study on low level antibiotic residue and found the most common soil bacteria on the planet, Baccillus subtilis, was degrading residual antibiotics to unreadable levels.

    We find out more daily, how stomach biologies can alter mood, even action, and how the human being is less being and more ecosystem than individual, even down to what we think of as self determination. We are teeming with microbes, and we should be teaming with microbes as well. They are not simply hitchhikers and parasites to be wiped out with chemical assaults of antibiotic soaps, these are fellow crew members in the voyage through space that is our life, and often essential personnel. Lactobaccilus is certainly one of the latter; if I was to remove all mine or yours, digestion would become incomplete and then begin to fail altogether. As Eric suggests, I suspect this will strengthen your friend rather than harm; these are exactly the kind of organisms that chemo and drugs eliminate so likely need replenishment for the return of “appetite” (as much your stomach biologies asking for food as your cells). Get started ASAP!


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