Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Resource Library: From Nature to Clothing

Wool is the most complete fiber. It overtakes all other natural fibers even man-made fibers cannot compare to the natural capabilities of it.

Some of its important advantages are: crimp, resilience, inflammable, absorbency, breathability, cleanliness, natural insulator.


Crimp: Wool is a curly wavy fiber. The wave per unit is called crimp. Crimp adds elasticity, flexibility, resilience and loft. Crimp makes wool naturally elastic. It can be stretched to as much as 30 percent and will spring back to size when the tension is released. Once woven it will not stretch but will still shape and move with the body making clothing comfortable to wear.

Crimp allows wool to bend up to 20,000 times before it breaks, compare to the 3,000 cotton can bend or the 1,800 times that silk can do before breaking. This property makes wool garments durable, stronger and resistant to tearing. In addition, the crimp gives the fibers a built-in "memory" meaning that after being stressed or crushed they will spring back into their original shape unlike synthetic fibers.

Natural Insulator: The porous structure of the fiber explains why wool is such a good thermal insulator plus the crimp that holds each fiber apart from all the others, like curly hair creating volume that traps air, is a mesh of the fibers, which creates millions of air pockets that further help to regulate temperature and humidity - still air being one of the best insulators found in nature. Wool used in clothing will keep skin warm when it is cold and near body temperature when it is hot.

Absorbency has more to do with comfort than any other characteristic. Wool absorbs and wicks moisture keeping your skin dry it absorb up to 34% of their weight in moisture vapour without feeling wet, damp or clammy. The porosity of the cells in the outer layers of wool fiber allows them to quickly and efficiently wick and evaporate moisture. Moisture wicked away from the skin keeps the skin dry and comfortable and helps to prevent skin breakdown.This makes wool good for all climates since it aids in the body’s cooling mechanisms to keep moisture away form the body.

Inflammability: Wool contains 15% moisture in every fiber allowing it to resist flame. It ignites at a high temperature and is self-extinguishing; when flame is removed it puts itself out. Wool does not melt when burned, and so cannot stick to the skin and cause serious burns. Once a flame is removed, a cold ash is left. This can be brushed away immediately. Wool blankets are widely used to extinguish fires.


Cleanliness: When magnified under a microscope a wool fiber reveals interlocking scales that serve to repel moisture, lint, dirt and dust, making it easy to clean and inhibiting the growth of dust mites, mildew and bacteria.











Wool fibers can be spun into yarns used either woven or knitted into fabrics.



 
The most used wool fabrics are suiting ranging in a variety of weights and weaves, bouclé, flannel (3 Wool Flannel), gabardine, whipcord, challis, coating, Melton (2 Melton Coating), felt (non-woven), crepe (5 Heather Wool Crepe), jacquard, satin, tweed and knits include but are not subject to jersey, double knit, cable knit, lace knit, sweater knit, etc.

Most of the above fabrics are named under the weave or knit they were constructed; other wool fabrics might be named using the most prominent characteristic of its construction, design, pattern (4 Plaid Wool Coating) etc.

Note: The majority of wool that is used in fabric production comes from sheep, however there is a range of wools with more special characteristics  than sheep wool like extra-softness, longer fiber, extra lustrous. These wools can be obtained from a variety of animals including goats, muskoxen, cashmere (1 Wool Cashmere), vicuna, alpaca , camels,  rabbits, etc. These breads require special conditions to be raised making their fleece a luxurious fiber to wear. 

 ~Gabby~

Information adapted from the following sources

" All About Wool, A Fabric Dictionary & Swatchbook,  by Julie Parker, Copyright 1996, Fourth printing 2006"

Dictionary of textiles / by Louis Harmuth, Technical Editor, Fairchild Company Publishing, New York.

Turner, Annabell, Sewing and Textiles: A Textbook for Grades and Rural Schools, D. Appleton and Company


3 comments:

  1. What a great article. I love learning about the fibers I use. Thanks!

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  2. This is a awesome blog! Thanks for posting this information. I found it to be very useful.
    Alpaca Wool Clothing

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  3. We are glad you like the blog! We are hoping that through our posts our viewers are learning and inspired to create! Let us know if there is a topic you feel we should discuss! You can email us your idea to fabricmartblog@gmail.com

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