Wool can be scary. You find a gorgeous merino wool and dream of that winter coat or A-line skirt, and instantly put it back for fear! Wool can be a scary fabric to sew with, so I wanted to outline the basics and give you the confidence you need to pick up that wool and put your sewing machine to good use, creating some gorgeous, woollen wonders!
What Can I Use Wool For?
Wools can be used for clothing materials like suits, skirts, trousers and obviously lovely winter coats. It’s also very popular for interior products, from cushions to curtains to upholstery. The great thing about wool is that it can come both knitted (stretchy) and woven (not stretchy) in any weight, from lightweight to heavyweight, and is often blended with other types of fibres. So fabrics can be worn in both winter and summer!
Getting Started: How To Pre-Shrink Your Wool
The best way to care for your wool is to dry-clean it. Some wools are washable and this is usually made very clear before you buy. You should always pre-shrink your wool (or any fabric for that matter) before cutting it. For dry-clean only fabrics, don’t put it in the washing machine, just steam the heck out of it. If the bolt of the fabric has an inscription that says it is London shrunk or needle ready, it has already undergone the shrinking process and it is ready to be used for sewing. If you can spare a 10 x 10 square of fabric, you might like to test it in your washing machine – some fabric manufacturers will be more cautious on their care labels and you can actually get away with it. Always wash on a low heat, or you might end up felting your fabric.
Tip for when you’re buying: If it does not come with a preshrunk inscription you may need to buy more wools than you need for the sewing – expect shrinkage of around 2% to 4% as an average.
Tips for Sewing with Wool
Wool is a wonderful fabric to sew. Wool’s edges are quite clean when cut and it retains its shape incredibly well.
Thread For Wool
Wools can be very bulky, which can be challenging. Make sure you make use of very good quality threads and the right sewing machine needle to match the weight of your wool. Tip: If you’re finding your thread breaks easily, or you’re having tension issues, you might like to try a silk thread.
If you have very thick wool, think about the type of seams you’re going to finish with. If you’re unlikely to see the seams (if they’re hidden by lining for example), then choose only seam finishes like pinking to avoid adding extra bulk to your seams.
Be careful when pressing your wool. Using a very hot iron can damage your wool. For the same reason you shouldn’t iron a wool suit, intense heat will leave shiny, silver marks on the surface of the wool. Make use of a wool press cloth, especially when you have to press the right side of the fabric. White coloured press cloth is preferred for light coloured wool.
Wool is a wonderfully luxurious fabric but I’m sure you’ve all experienced the itch factor that sometimes comes with it, especially to those with sensitive skin! If you’re making clothes you may want to think about adding a soft silky lining.
Benefits of Sewing with Wool
● Wool has the ability to retain and keep heat out, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
● Wool resists odour. It is far more efficient than other textiles at absorbing sweat and releasing it into the air, before bacteria has a chance to develop and produce unpleasant body odour.
● The protective waxy coating on wool fibres makes wool products resistant to staining.
● Wool picks up less dust as wool is naturally anti-static.
● It’s very good at absorbing – it can absorb about a third of its weight in moisture!
● It is hypoallergenic.
● It is flame and wrinkle resistant. In fact, you should have a look at this incredible video showcasing wool’s flame resistance.
● When properly cared for, It’s fibres are incredibly durable, so can last for a long time.
Caring for Your Wool Item
The mortal enemies of all wools are moths. These pests are experts in chewing holes in your woollens. If you find your wool infested with moths, despite from it being very annoying, there may be no need to take your wool to the dry cleaners: All you have to do is take it outside and brush it thoroughly to get rid of all traces of moth larvae and eggs. Tip: Store the wools that you rarely wear in a garment bag with zipper, or an airlock bag (great for saving valuable wardrobe space as well). Wool garments that are regularly worn rarely get infested with moths.
Find more useful information on: HTXCompany.com
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