Fiber from Pineapple leaves for long has been used by Philippine handicraft artisans to produce cloth. Pineapple fiber is considered to be more delicate in texture than any other vegetal fiber. A kilo of leaves may provide up to 15-18 pieces of white, creamy and lustrous as silk fibre about 60 cm long and it easily retains dyes.
It is a painstaking process and involves up to 30 people from the beginning to the end of the process. Fibers of the leaf are scrapped by means of a bro ken plate or coconut shell and a fast scraper can extract fiber from over 500 leaves per day after which the fibers are washed and dried in the open air.
After which they are waxed to remove the entanglements and then the fibers are knotted and bind into yarns for the next process of weaving it in to fabric. Pineapple fabrics are mainly used for creating Barong Tagalog and other formal wear. It is also used for other products where a lightweight, but stiff and sheer fabric is needed.
It is sometimes combined with silk or polyester to create a textile fabric. The end fabric is lightweight, easy to care for and has an elegant appearance similar to linen. Pineapple silk is considered the queen of Philippine fabrics and is considered the fabric of choice of the Philippine elite.
Piña weaving is an age-old tradition which was recently revived in the past two decades and has a lineage going to Hispanic times. Piña cloth was said to have reached Greece and African countries many centuries