Friday, March 6, 2009

Fabric Fact Friday - Wool


Thank you all for the great response for my first installment of Fabric Fact Friday! Regarding quality in knits I can only second what others have said, the challenge is to find the good stuff. I'm having a lab day later this month, so I'll ask the teacher if he can give some hints on how to spot good quality knits. Meanwhile here comes some interesting facts that I've learned about wool.
  • Wool fibers are very elastic and have great recovery. Actually only lycra and nylon are better than wool when it comes to keeping it's shape. That makes me think that wool/lycra blends must be like a super fabric.

  • The reason wool is so warm is because the fibers are crimped. The crimps creates little air pockets that when filled with air gives a fantastic thermal effect.

  • It takes wool combed from 30 kashmir goats during one season in order to get enough fabric for one coat. This explains why cashmere is so expensive.

  • Wool from the merino sheep is softer and warmer than other wools, but the fibers are shorter and it's less resilient and wears out quicker, so that's a definitely a trade off when choosing merino wool.

  • Worsted wool refers to long wool fibers that are ring-spun in a particular way. Worsted wool is generally of better quality than regular wool fabric.

  • Washing wool at home can be problematic since the wool starts to felt when it comes in contact with water. This is the best way to hand wash wool according to my textbook:
    - Low temperatures of course, not higher than 30 degrees Celsius, or just below lukewarm.
    - Use detergent made espicially for hand laundering wool.
    - The garment should be immersed in water a very short time, just enough to remove the soil.
    - Gently squeeze the fabric, don't rub or twist!
    - After washing roll the garment into a towel and press out the moisture, then dry the garment on a flat surface.

  • Wool deactivates the smell of sweat, which is why it's takes longer for wool than synthetics to become smelly.
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And a little pant update: I'm very grateful for your suggestions on how to alter the pants. I decided to try Debbie's method (see the comment section) and shorten the back seam. I made a quick muslin last night and it looks promising. Also I might need to tweak the crotch shape a little too, so I'll try that next. The thing is that my original pant sloper (the one I did in class) has a substantially shorter back inner seam (almost 4/5 inches / 2 cm), but in my attempt to tweak and true the cropped pant pattern I managed to chop away that difference.

5 comments:

  1. Fabric Fact Friday. Wonderful. Thank you!

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  2. Love fabric fact Friday, especially on wools.

    Glad to know my alteration made sense and that it seems to be working.

    Debbie

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  3. It is typically so warm in Austin most of the year that I know very little about wool! Thanks for the info. I did buy a neat berry-colored wool coating (wool & nylon) in Canada a couple months ago b/c their selection is so much better than here in Texas, and hope to sew it into a nice coat for next winter.

    We've been running the air conditioner for about a month now, so no rush on the coat. :)

    Can't wait for the next installment of Fabric Fact Friday!

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  4. Thanks for the next installment of Fabric Fact Friday - I don't sew with wool much at all since I live a very casual lifestyle in a relatively warm spot in the world (San Francisco area). I do have some lengths that are gifts, though, from my beloved Aunt Eileen and my good friend Vicki, so I'll keep these in mind when I eventually go to sew them.

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