One of my favorite wool fabrics is Wool Satin Gabardine. It weighs 13 ounces per linear yard and is considered a tropical weight wool but can be worn year around. In fact Woman’s Wear Daily has shown this wool satin in shorts.
For those of you who may be confused by my using both “satin” and “wool” together as a name of a fabric, don’t feel alone. Many think of satin as a type of fabric but it is a weave. In other words every fiber you can name from silk to polyester to acetate to linen can be spun into a yarn and then woven in a satin weave. Thus we refer to silk satin, polyester satin, acetate satin and yes, wool satin. When cotton is woven in a satin weave it is called cotton sateen.
A beautiful example of wool satin can be seen in the Demarcheliar for the W Magazine August 2012 where Dior’s pink Wool Satin blouse is shown.
Bottega Veneta organza embroidered velvet gown and boots. Stylist’s own bonnet. Gucci georgette gown and necklace. Stylist’s own bonnet. From left: Dior silk and wool satin blouse, silk gazar skirt, necklace, and pumps.
The wool satin gabardine suits that I made 20 years ago still look new today. As long as the design is classic garments made from this fabric never goes out of style. It is appropriate for day and evening dresses and suits, men’s suits and separates, formal wear and even wedding gowns.
Remember wool is a renewable fiber and is biodegradable. Wool fibers absorb moisture which means that it can “wick away” moisture from your skin. This same characteristic does not readily produce static electricity as do the manufactured fibers. When constructing a suit with wool, wool satin gabardine especially, choose either a silk fabric for lining or rayon fabric. Lining a wool suit with a manmade fabric will negate the breathability as well as the other properties listed above.
Sewing with this beautiful fabric is also easy. When cutting the pattern out of the fabric, use the nap layout so that all pieces are going the same way. Although wool satin gabardine doesn’t have a distinctive nap like velvet or fur, subtle color changes may appear with alternate lay out of pattern pieces. Underline the jacket with a cotton batiste if you wish to add more body and use a medium weight horsehair interfacing for the areas where more body is needed like the lapels. Always use a sharp sewing machine needle, not a universal or ballpoint. And, as always, use a new sewing needle each time you start a new project.
Dry cleaning is the preferred care method for suits because of the various fabrics used in tailoring. More information on choosing a dry cleaner can be found athttp://info.fabrics.net/fabric-facts/fabric-care/ I personally prefer to dry clean my wool satin gabardine garments and have never tried hand washing. If you prefer to hand wash all of your wool garments, remember to pre-wash all fabrics and interfacings used in each garment. Enjoy!