Wool Fabric

Wool Fabric

What is Wool? 

Wool is the natural fabric obtained from hairs of animals spin into yarns to produce warm clothing for winters. It is known for its durability thermally insulating property depends on various types of hairs of animals. After cotton wool is the most used textile in the world.

Wool consists of 97% protein and 3% fat which makes it unique for certain applications. Wool has various attributes such as naturally crimps  contributes to wool insulative properties the bulkiness of wool fabric naturally taps air.

Different types of wool are :

1. Merino Wool- It is the most commonly used wool in the world obtained from merino sheep used to make different garments and industrial material. Its diameter is 20 micron which makes fine quality products.

2. Cashmere Wool- It is the most expensive wool originated from furry goats of Kashmir region. It's price is high due to the fact that Kashmiri goats produced 150 grams of wool per year.

3. Mohair Wool- It is obtained from angora goat has thick and wavy hair wool which is naturally highly crimp woolen textiles.


  • Wool is a type of fiber that is obtained from sheep and some other animals. Wool from goats is called cashmere and mohair, from muskoxen is qiviut and from rabbit - angora. It is used for fabrics because it is easy to spin (individual fibers attach to each other and stay together). It also has scaling and crimp and because of that it is more bulky which causes it to retain air and with air - heat. That helps with isolating the body from outside cold but also from the heat. It is also easy to felt the wool.

  • Although human race domesticated sheep somewhere between 9000BC and 7000BC they were more hairy than wooly and had to be bred by selection somewhere around 6000BC. First woven wool garments date from 400BC to 300BC. At about the same time woolly-sheep came to Europe from the Near East. In the beginning, wool was plucked from the sheep by hand or by bronze combs. The first shear appeared in the Iron Age. In Roman times, the finest wool came from Tarentum, a coastal city in today’s Puglia, Southern Italy.

  • In medieval times the wool trade became serious business and whole series of fair, like Champagne, were mainly based on wool trading and economy of whole regions depended on it. Major exporters of raw wool were England and Castile. Wool; trade was so important for England that it imposed special tax laws on wool export and the presiding officer of the House of Lords has sat on the "Woolsack", a chair stuffed with wool which was a symbol of the pre-eminence of the wool trade. After the Restoration fine English wool began to compete with silk on the international market.

  • The Medici and other great houses of Florence had built their wealth on their textile industry based on wool. In the 16th century, Spain allowed export of Merino lambs, a breed of ship that gives highly valued type of wool, only with royal permission. The German wool market in time overtook British wool which in turn was overtaken by Australia's colonial economy which was based on sheep raising.

  • In middle 20th century, wool production falls because of the appearing of the synthetic fibers. Super wash wool (or washable wool), a type of wool that is specially treated so it can be washed in machine and tumble-dried, first appeared in the early 1970s. This type of wools is produced by washing of wool in acid or by coating the fiber with a polymer. Both methods lessen the number of scales which attaching to each other while washing untreated wool in water and cause shrinkage. In 2007, a new wool suit was made from Australian Merino wool in Japan that can be washed in the shower and dried within hours with no ironing required.

  • Wool is generally used for clothing but it is also used for blankets, horse rugs

What Makes it Stand Out

  • Wool keeps extremely warm and allow air to retain heat.
  • It is highly water resistance and retain 30% of their own weight in water before it starts to leak.
  • Wool is a biodegradable fabric can decompose in 3to4 months the time of decomposition depends on variety of soil, climate, characteristic.
  • It is recyclable fabric shredded into individual fibers and reused to make new clothing.

Texture Soft to medium brushed 
Fall No
Shine Natural luster
Sheer No

Application & Usage 

Wool fabric is commonly used in sweaters, hats, gloves, and other types of accessories and apparel and popularly in industrial applications for its durability and flame-retardant qualities.

 Clothing Yes
Home Furnishing Yes
Accessories  Yes

New Age Innovation

1. Flame-resistant fabric is heavy, inflexible and uncomfortable to wear Scientist work on wool properties to improve flame protection and make fabric breathable and absorbent to make it comfortable to wear.
2. Digital printing : Chemicals and water usage are significantly reduced when choosing digital printing, and inks can be recycled to minimise environmental impact.
3. Technology have facilitated the use of wool in footwear. Combining wool with different yarns in a shoe upper draws on wool’s natural properties to promote dryness, breathability, freshness (anti-odor), comfort and warmth.

How to Judge the Authenticity of Wool? 

Burn test: Original wool fabric will catch fire and maintain steady burn. Burnt wool fabric have smell of burning hairs. This is to identify fibrous material and other material.

Care Instructions of Wool

  • Preferred hand washing for woolen fabric which is 100% animal yarn if made of synthetic blend yarns can do machine wash and choose a wool detergent and a gentle/wool cycle.
  • Dry away from direct heat or sunlight.
  • Dry clean once a season is sufficient to keep it in good shape.

Reference Links

https://fashion-history.lovetoknow.com/fabrics-fibers/wool https://d1cqrq366w3ike.cloudfront.net/http/DOCUMENT/SheepUSA/HistoryOfWool.pdf https://sewguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/wool-laundry-care-label.png

https://supplycompass.com/sustainable-fashion-blog/innovations-in-wool/ https://princewilliamliving.com/innovations-propelling-wool-forward-into-a-new-decade/

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