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Wool sewing fabrics

 
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I'd love to find some good sources for sustainable, high quality, animal fiber garment fabrics. Often, the clothing items I'm looking for are just not being made, because the mainstream market just isn't there. But, buying good quality fibers, online can be dubious, at best. So, for the sewists, out there, care to share your sources?
 
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I also find it difficult to find natural fabrics online. There is a little store near me called Billie's Designer Fabrics that has mostly synthetic blends but I have found beautiful wool fabric there. Very expensive! But lovely stuff. Here's a question I have always had. If sheep stand out in the rain all day, why is wool clothing slways marked dry clean only. Wouldn't  a cold water wash work?
 
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Barbara Kerschner wrote: Here's a question I have always had. If sheep stand out in the rain all day, why is wool clothing slways marked dry clean only. Wouldn't  a cold water wash work?




The wool itself would be fine, but the stitching, shaping, or dyes might not be.

I have several items marked "dry clean only" that I washed anyway, using the "no spin" setting on my washer. Fortunately I'm not too picky about my appearance, because the collars all lost their shapes. And when I did that with something red, it turned the whole load pink. But as long as there was no agitation at all, the clothes survived. If I was still working in that office, I'd probably try to rescue those blazers by learning how to starch a collar.

Washing dry-clean stuff can be done, but the results won't be the same as with real dry cleaning. Worth a try if you need it, though. I just wouldn't want to try it on anything expensive.
 
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Barbara Kerschner wrote:... Here's a question I have always had. If sheep stand out in the rain all day, why is wool clothing always marked dry clean only. Wouldn't  a cold water wash work?


I don't know why it's labeled 'dry clean only'. I don't want it to be 'dry cleaned', because of the use of chemicals I don't like. I wash my wool items by hand and never had problems doing so.
 
Carla Burke
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Standard detergents and soap also promote felting, so even without heat, you'll experience a change in texture, likely a change in shape (though 'blocking' the items may help), and possible shrinkage. I'm not big on dry cleaning, anyway, so I generally try to spot-clean, and 'air-wash' or 'freezer-wash', and only hand wash in cold, and dry flat, if all else fails.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I hope to find real natural fiber sewing fabrics too, so I follow this topic. Not only 100 % natural fiber, but I'd like it to be organic too. Not wool from mistreated sheep, or treated with poison, nor cotton from large scale monocultures with pesticides.
 
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Etsy is a good place for fabric. I've seen wool suiting fabric for sale on there as well as European linen and lots of other beautiful fabrics that I can't find locally. There's lots of different sellers so lots of variety and stuff that's hard to find in fabric shops.

I've never sewn with wool fabric before -  does it respond ok to zig zag stitch on the edges or does it really need overlocking?
 
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Kate, I'd be worried about woven wool. Have you considered flat-felled seams? I think they look classical.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Kate Downham wrote: ...
I've never sewn with wool fabric before -  does it respond ok to zig zag stitch on the edges or does it really need overlocking?


Kate, that depends on the fabric. Myself I never overlock (I do not have such a machine), but in some cases I zigzag twice.
I don't know which wool fabrics are still available. It was many years ago I ordered wool fabrics. There were tricots and jerseys (different kind of knitted fabrics) and there were woven fabrics, varying from very fine wool muslin to course fabric for furniture. Some fabrics are made of smooth wool fibers, others of more 'hairy' wool. A course woven or knitted fabric made of smooth wool can unravel easier then a finer or hairier wool fabric.
 
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I have bought woven wool fabric off ebay before.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
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For truly luxuriant wool, B. Black and Sons is the fabric company to buy from. It is lovely. It comes with a price tag.

They now have buy per yard options!
 
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