Wool is a natural animal fibre spun from the fleece of sheep. The finest wools are made of short fibres, with the longer fibres producing a coarser fabric.
There are several types of specialty wool. These include mohair, angora, and cashmere, spun from the hair of particular breeds of goat, and alpaca, which is produced from the hairs of the alpaca, a close relative of the llama. Specialty wools are very soft and tend to be expensive since they are produced in relatively small quantities. They are often mixed with sheep’s wool to add luster and to improve the drape of a fabric. Wool is a versatile fabric and is available in several different weights, textures, and weaves, plain or twill weave being the most common. It is comfortable to wear and absorbs moisture well. It is also flame-resistant , water-repellent, and elastic. Wool is usually easy to clean, but it can be permanently damaged by sunlight, moths, bleach, and incorrect pressing.
Here are some of the many types of wollen fabrics:
This high-quality fabric is made from tightly woven, woolen yarns. It is hardwearing, does not sag easily, and is used mainly for suits, coats, and upholstery.
A strong fabric with a plain or twill weave, flannel has a napped finish on one or both sides. It is commonly used for suits, jackets, skirts, and trousers.
Obtained from the Kashmir goat, cashmere is a very fine, soft fabric that is warm and comfortable to wear. It is often used for scarves and coats.
Tartan is a checked, twill- weave fabric. Careful pattern layout is needed to match the fabric design. Tartan is used mainly for dresses, coats, skirts, and kilts.
This is a fine, soft wool with a slack weave and textured surface. Crepe is springy to handle, but soft types drape well. It is often used for dresses and suits.
A bulky fabric usually woven on its outer surface, coating often has a prominent nap. It is used for large, loosely fitted garments such as coats and capes.
A variety of fibres and wool blends is used to make this fabric, which has a close, twill weave. It is water-repellent and is used mainly for coats, skirts, and trousers.
This tweed is a thick, woven fabric that is produced in a wider range o colours and patterns than traditional tweeds. It is used mostly for jackets and trousers.
This rough, thick woolen fabric has a distinct woven pattern. It is named after the area of origin, as in Harries tweed, and is generally used for suits.
A bulky, reversible fabric made from two layers woven together, double coating is best suited to simple designs. It is often used for coats, capes , and sportswear.
A plain weave wool, challis is lightweight, soft, and easy to handle. It is often printed with floral or paisley design, drapes well, and is used mainly for dresses.
Any woollen fabric with a shiny, twill finish is called Venetian. Made originally form silk in Venice, It is now made from worsted yarns, and is often used for jackets.
Developed to be crease resistant and to breathe well, this lightweights, fine wool drapes and gathers easily. It is used mainly for full skirts, dresses, and blouses.
Plain knit single jersey has vertival ribs on the right side. It is used mostly for sportwear, children’s wear, and casual clothes. Can be loose, as shown, or fine.
This has vertical ribs on both sides and is firmer than single jersey. It is too bulky for gathers, but takes dyes well and holds in body heat. It is used mainly for suits.
A plain weave fabric with a hairy texture, mohair is produced from the fibres of the angora goat. It is usually mixed with wool, and is used mainly for coats.
A soft, smooth, silky fabric that has a loose weave, alpaca is often mixed with other ficres to give a lustrous finish. It is generally used for coats and suits.