Thursday, October 13, 2011

Wonderful Winter (and Summer!) Wool

After a summer hiatus, the "Fabric Junkie" is back, tackling a timely subject--wool. As in the past, we're looking at both fiber and weave. Last time we mentioned how one weave (jacquard) can be made in a variety of fibers. This time we'll look at how one fiber can be made in a variety of weaves.

Everyone knows wool, right? But does everyone realize the amazing variety of wools and weaves there are out there? Like silk, wool is incredibly versatile. It can be woven, knitted, or felted; finely or coarsely woven; made in winter or summer weights; etc. It can be made from the coats of not only sheep and lambs, but goats, camel, alpaca, llama, and more. Tweeds, worsteds, twills and gabardines, bouclés.... No wonder wool is one of my favorite fibers!

One would have to write a book to cover all the ways wool can be utilized, so I'll hit just a few common ones.

"Nubby" or rough woolens, typically thought of for outerwear, winter suits, and heavier winter dresses. Two specific weaves that come to mind are tweed and bouclé. A tweed weave is a rough-surfaced wool woven in two or more colors, often in a checked or plaid pattern, but can have a flecked or heathered look. You can usually see the warp and weft yarns pretty clearly in a tweed. The Harris tweeds of Scotland are probably the most well-known ones, but they are produced in other countries as well.

Bouclé is a very nubby fabric woven with tightly looped yarns, often found in winter coats and jackets. The loops can be very short or long, so bouclé doesn't always look the same from garment to garment and can be used in formal or casual looks.

"Suiting" wools, which are smoother and sometimes not easy to recognize as wool. Probably the most familiar of these are the twills and gabardines--weaves with easily visible diagonal lines and with a tighter, finer finish than the woolens. These are often found in mid-weight mens' and ladies' suits and overcoats, although they can vary from heavy to light. Worsted wool is probably what most people visualize when they think of suits, even if they don't know the term. This weave is created using a tightly twisted yarn with smooth finish. The short, "hairy" fibers are combed out of, so that it loses its woolen look. It may not "look" like wool, but when you feel it, you can usually tell that it is. Then we have tropical wool, which is a worsted, but is very plainly woven, very lightweight, and airy--excellent for suits and dresses worn in the spring and summer or in, aptly, tropical climates.

The last wool I'll tackle is knitted wool. While everyone is familiar with loosely woven, bulkier sweater knits, many finer knits are used in apparel. Tops, jackets, skirts, and dresses can be made from these knits. These are lighter in weight than a typical sweater knit, more tightly knitted, and with a much smoother finish. They drape nicely and can be lined or unlined, and be found as a single-knit fabric such as jersey, or in double knits.

Today, the sellers of Reflections of Vintage present some of our season-timely wool fashions!

From My Vintage Cocktail comes these listings:

A Vintage 60s Pinup Sweater, Designer, Wool Knit, OOAK, XS, Sm, Med

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And this fluffy Vintage 50s 60s Designer Mohair Sweater Cardigan, Sm Med, MINT NOS Deadstock

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Vintage Baubles Too offers this Vintage 50s 1950s Swing Coat Car Coat Turquoise Boucle Wool Sm Med

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From Alley Cats Vintage, we have a Vintage Hat Gray Wool Stetson Fedora

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This adorable Vintage Handbag Purse Black Wool Small

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And this worsted-wool Vintage Suit 1940s 1950s Glenhaven Blue Tweed Nipped Waist B34 Size Small Military Inspired

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Catseye Vintage presents this Vintage Cardigan Sweater / Angora Blend / 1960s 60s / Hand Beaded / Glass Beads / Peach / Size L

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A Vintage 50s Suit / 1950s / Skirt Suit / Fur Collar / Mink / Wool Gabardine / Navy Blue / Youthcraft / Size XS

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And this sophisticated suit-weight Vintage 60s Dress / Shirtdress / Coat Dress / 1960s / Grey / Gray / I Magnin / Georgette Trilere / Size S / US Shipping Included

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