Saturday, October 26, 2013

W is for Wool

Ah, wool. My absolute favourite type of fabric!  I think nearly a third of all my sewing projects use some form of wool.  It's perfect for Scottish weather and fits with my style preference for tailored garments.  In fact, I think it might be the most amazing fabric ever....

Here is what the Simplicity Fabric Guide says about wool:
Wool is somewhat of a wonder fiber.  It drapes beautifully, cuts cleanly, won't fray and holds its shape in a finished garment.  It is also a quite forgiving fabric: Pins won't mar the surface, seams rip out invisibly and just about any trouble spot can be pressed and seamed into submission.
Wool fibers are very resilient.  They can be bent back on themselves 20,000 times without breaking, and can stretch up to 50 percent when wet and 30 percent when dry and still bounce back to their original shape.  Able to absorb 30 percent of its weight in moisture without feeling damp or clammy, wool is also a wonderful temperature regulator, making it a great option for jackets, coats and other outerwear.
Here's some of the various types of wool fabrics I have used in past projects:

Wool Flannel:

The 'Spring Suit' using an EvaDress reproduction of a 1931 McCall pattern

Medium-weight Wool:

The 'Shades of Purple' Outfit using a 1970s Simplicity pattern

Light-weight Wool:

'39 Steps to a Perfect Dress' Ensemble with Gabardine jacket using a 1937 McCall pattern


The 'Famous Hooded Princess Dress' made with a 1940 McCall pattern

Wool Crepe:

The 'First Crepe of Summer' Dress using a 1940 McCall pattern



The 'Angels Culottes' made from a 1970s Simplicity pattern

Wool Jersey:

The 'Aviator Dress' made with wool jersey sleeves and viscose dress material using a 1946 Advance pattern

I've definitely tried lots of different types of wool.  I particularly love lightweight wool--it's hard to walk past that aisle in the Edinburgh fabric shops without 'oohing and ahhing' and touching all the fabrics.  I'm a recent convert to both wool crepe (which is oddly expensive here in the UK compared to all the other fabulous wools) and wool jersey (also in short supply).  And I have yet to dive into some Harris Tweed.  I need to save up to get some of that delicious fabric and support this local industry!!

Have you seen Karen's recent post on Wool with all the fabulous resources?  I love all the different varieties of wool.

What about you? Can you get nice wool locally?  Which type of wool fabric is your favourite?  Any wooly projects on your sewing horizon?


  1. Ah, all your wool makes are so inspiring! Wool is a wonderful material. I am looking for the perfect wool tartan to make a Christmas-dress. Got any tips?

  2. Ooh I'm diving into working with wool this winter!
    I've got some wool crepe I'm trying to decide how to sew up and a wool poly blend I'm going to turn into a pencilish skirt for my Mother.

  3. I've just been getting into sewing with wool! Never had the guts to spend the money, but now that I have sewn for a little longer I'm ready to give it a try! Just got some amazingly soft black Merino wool that I can't wait to use :)

  4. I love working with wool. Unfortunately we don't have much fabric industry left in Finland so quality wool is very expensive. I get some blends from the wholesaler, but it's not as wonderful as pure wool. I especially love wool crepe and flannel and basically anything thin and soft. I almost started drooling when I thought about silk-wool :P

  5. How lovely! I would go with a lightweight wool or wool blend. There are also a lot of cotton tartans that could work well (like this one from Croft Mill: I really, really want to make a dress out of silk tartan...MacCulloch and Wallis has an amazing collection: Also check out their wools!

  6. How lovely! That will be great...I love wool pencil skirts...

  7. oohhh...Merino wool would be lovely!!! Can't wait to see what you make!

  8. silk wool is on my list of to try fabrics. I bet it is DIVINE! They have some wool, linen & silk blends at my local fabric store...swoon!!

  9. Gosh you have made some totally fabulous outfits. Great to see all these different varieties of wool. I made a cape from a Vintage Vogue pattern out of Harris tweed, such lovely stuff.

  10. I would love to make that pants and jacket with a fine gabardine like a few of the suits from my vintage collection. My rural Iowa USA location makes finding fine fabrics a challenge. Great post Debi!


  11. I think I'm in love with your tweed suit. I live in Southern California (the northern limits in Ventura) and can wear tweed and light wools. But, I'm from Florida -- and forever that was a no. I even think about moving to my Dad's state -- Connecticut to wear more wools. But, in England -- you are in wool/tweed luxury. Enjoy! And, thanks for posting the collection -- it's fab.

  12. Thank you so much for the links! I literally squealed when I visited the MacCulloc and Wallis page! Oh my....:)

  13. Don't have trouble finding lots of "wool -look" polyesters, and can even find some decent woolen blends, here in middle North Carolina, USA. When I lived in northern Indiana, and could have happily worn woolens most of the year, I had to mail-order to find anything made of wool -- or cotton or linen, for that matter. I do have a couple of pieces of nice woolen serge suiting sitting idly by in a closet, inherited from a cousin, who bought them in Frankfurt, Germany while in he was still in military service. I should go ahead and sew them up, before the carpet beetles get to them.

  14. This is such perfect timing! A large batch of wool just arrived at my house for a project. I can't wait to get started now!

  15. Yessss I was waiting for you to do Wool for W! lol You make so many fabulous things with wool. I only started sewing with wool this past winter, and I adore it. I really need to learn more about the different types (loved Karen's post, too). I don't find it easy to find relatively inexpensive wools here though, and it seems like in the online realm, wool suitings are all the rage, but rarely what I'm looking for. I need to do more sourcing!

  16. OMG merino wool. I like it so much I may break down and start a flock on the spare lot next to my Dad's house. I took apart an Italian merino woolen sweater, bought from a thrift store, to re-knit into socks. They're so soft! It's like inserting your feet into a tub of warm butter. A bonus: the yarn in the sweater had been doubled, so I got eight pairs of socks out of it instead of four, plus more wool to use in some striped socks. I only kept one pair for myself. When the soles wear out, I'll frog them and knit down from the cuffs to extend their life, I love them so much.

  17. Wow! That is such a clever idea! ok, I must really learn to knit!!

  18. All are so lovely and I absolutely love sewing with wool. I'm lucky enough to live near a Pendleton wool outlet so I can often get a great score. A perfect fabric for chilly days!

  19. YAY! I love the Pendleton wool outlet....such good memories visiting the mill!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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