Taking Care of Wool Fabrics (2)
Pilot Cloth is a coarse, heavy, stout-twilled woolen fabric that is heavily-napped and navy blue. Used by seamen.
Poodle Cloth is made with a boucle yarn and resembles the Poodle dog.
Sharkskin is a woven wool fabric with warp and filling yarns of alternating white with black, brown or blue.
Tartan is a twilled plaid design, originally Scottish.
Tweed is roughly-textured wool cloth, originally homespun and slightly felted. This fabric is sturdy with a mottled color.
Wool fabrics also contain lanolin, which makes the fabric naturally resistant to stains and odors. Most soil and stains on wool fabrics sit on top of the fibers and can easily be brushed away. It’s the stain resistance and odor-repellent nature that make wool so durable and long-wearing.
Taking Care of Your Wool Fabrics
The following are tips for properly caring for your wool garments. Some garments will come with specific instructions for cleaning and care by the manufacturers, and should always be followed. For those items without such care instructions, here are some useful guidelines:
Give wool garments a 24-hour rest between wearing. Hang on shaped or padded hangers, leaving lots of space. In general, wool fibers will shed wrinkles and return to their original shape. Be sure to empty all pockets, remove belts and hang the garment with all closures zipped and buttoned.
Fold any woolen knit fabrics for storage rather than hanging them. The knits will be stretched by their own weight and may not “bounce back” if left stretched for too long.
Brush wool fabrics to remove surface soil. Use a damp sponge for knits and finer fabrics.
Refresh your wool garments quickly after wearing or unpacking by hanging them in a steamy bathroom. Moisture from the steam will remove wrinkles.
If your wool garment gets wet, dry the garment at room temperature away from heat. If there's a nap, brush with the nap to avoid compacting the fibers and creating a felt effect.
Remove spots and stains promptly. Once allowed to set, these stains become harder to remove because of the way wool responds to friction and stronger temperatures. If you have any doubt of being able to remove a stain yourself without harming the fabric, have the garment professionally cleaned.
Keep moths away by storing wool with fresh cedar blocks.
Dry clean once a season (or when stained), and especially before storing.
Always use steam when pressing wool. Use the wool setting. Avoid pressing wool totally dry. When possible, press on the reverse side of the fabric. When you have to press on the right side, use a press cloth to avoid a shine. Lower and lift the iron, don't slide it back and forth. Prevent imprinting inside detail by placing a piece of brown paper or tissue paper under folds, seams or darts.
If you properly care for your wool garments, they can become heirlooms. Wools very nature makes it a durable fabric, and with proper care, and selecting garments that are cut in classic styles, you’ll find you have clothing that will last your lifetime, and can be enjoyed by those generations to follow.
Photos: Todd Taulman Photography/Shutterstock
Caring for silk fabrics