Wool fibers have many uses from insulation to fabric to mattress toppers. Although many people wash their wool fabric prior to tailoring or sewing a garment, I prefer dry cleaning to keep the shape and the integrity of the various interfacings, linings and notions. If the garment I am making is unstructured and unlined, hand washing the fabric prior to garment construction should insure that the wool garment is washable.
Wool washes/detergents are available in the stores and online. Since wool is a protein fiber like my hair, a good shampoo is also suggested for hand washing wool.
A few years ago I found in a fabric store “Washable Wool”, something I hadn’t seen before. I pre-treated the wool by washing in shampoo then dried in the dryer according to the Washable Wool manufacturers instructions. The wool did not shrink or change shape but there was an unusual odor and rough texture that I didn’t like. Thinking that the odor would go away after construction of the garment and washing several times, I made an unstructured suit. Well, the odor never went away and the texture stayed rough. I wore the suit a couple of times and then discarded it.
Out of curiosity I decided to find out how wool was made washable and found an article that explained why the texture of the washable wool was different.
Today, manufacturers bleach wool fiber to remove its outer layer and then add enzymes that eat the scales. The resulting yarn has a more lustrous appearance than untreated wool. These alterations also affect how the fiber …
Nanotechnology is now being used to increase the desirable properties of wool without changing the structure of the fiber.
Take wool. Wool is one of the best insulating fibers known to man – while at the same time being light and soft. The quality that distinguishes wool fibers is the presence of a fatty, water-repellent outer layer that surrounds each …