Boiled Wool: Perfect For An Unpredictable Climate
Things at Fabworks HQ have been particularly busy since we posted our last blog and as usual the British weather has been as changeable as ever. As soon as we start planning our spring and summer wardrobes and getting all giddy about fresh pastel colour palettes and hot summer florals, the weather suddenly turns all wintery again! If you have been perusing Fabworks Online recently you may have noticed some new additions.
Yes, we know it’s a strange time of year to be getting all enthusiastic about boiled wool fabrics, but as George has rightly written as an add-on to the product descriptions online, these fabrics are hard to come by in our industry at the right price. So, what’s all the fuss about boiled wool fabric and what exactly is boiled wool?
Boiled wool fabrics are knitted, unusual for wool, or what we think of as wool. With it being knitted it means that the fabric has that 'give' to it, and doesn't go as tort when you tighten/pull at it, compared to if it was a wool worsted (which is woven, not knitted). Once knitted, the boiled wool fabrics are treated on a high temperature wash which agitates them, causing the fabric to shrink and its fibres to fuse together, thus producing a denser and more textured, felted like fabric. The closely knitted fibres give us a fabric that is cosy and warm, still has some stretch, with a good weight and reassuring drape quality, plus the fact that (and this is the big plus point) the fabric doesn’t fray at all!
You will have seen garments in small niche boutique stores (on selected high streets) touting garments made up in boiled wool fabrics with a price tag to match their premium postcode. Garments such as waterfall front cardigans, belted coatigans and neat blazers are all garments you have probably admired in such places, but do you know how easy they are to make?
Wendy Ward's Kinder Cardigan from the book A Beginners Guide To Sewing With Knitted Fabrics is a superb pattern, aimed at beginners (or for quick makes). Make this up in the quality virgin boiled wool and you will have a stylish coatigan that looks like you bought it from some expensive designer boutique.
Because you don’t have to worry about the raw edges fraying, the boiled wool allows you to produce professional looking garments with bespoke touches. Here's a closeup of the raw edge of the Marvelous Grey Marl colourway.
Something as simple as a kimono style jacket will take on the look of a super expensive investment piece. If you have never worked with boiled wool before, a good place to start is a simple tunic style top or dress such as the Tilly and the Buttons – Coco. The funnel neck version is an excellent pattern which you can quickly make for versatile styling with leggings or jeans (or tights if you make the dress) You can create superb textural details by putting your seams on the outside , simply trim the seams down or top-stitch on the outside, believe me this works really well, and because the boiled wool is the same on each side you don’t have to worry about construction order/ making pairs etc.
If you want to get ahead of the game and start planning your A/W garments now is the time! Get your hands on this precious virgin boiled wool before it sells out, also with the typical changeable weather we’ve been having here in the UK who doesn’t need a throw on lightweight coat or cardigan?
The Dawson coatigan by The Thrifty Stitcher (above) is a superb pattern with stunning exposed dart details at the sleeve and back neck, which will look beautiful made in any of our fabulous boiled wools. If you love the exposed darts detailing on the Dawson coatigan, The Talviki top by Named Clothing has a similar style and is ideal for beginner sewers or just simply a quick make. Its definitely on my list! Here it is, below:
Darkest Deep Teal is one of the most popular colours that we know our customers always want to see more of. This jewel toned fabric teams with purple, lilac, sapphire blues and black perfectly.
Bitter Chocolate Bliss is the ideal alternative to black for those who find blacks a little harsh for their skin tone. Rich, bitter chocolate undertones make this colourway perfect for teaming with other natural colours such as, earthy greens, russet, mustard, and deep indigo blues. Dark chocolate tones look fabulous with rich blues and your favourite pair of jeans.
Milky Mocha Beige is a chic neutral. With warm mocha undertones it is the ideal fabric for stylish and versatile garments that go with everything and can be dressed up or down. Team up a belted coatigan or waterfall front cardigan, with your Jeans and a white shirt, some tan boots and matching handbag and you have a classic effortless style.
Marvellous Grey Marl. Who doesn’t love grey? You can wear most other colours with this go-to classic. Marled grey has a cosy and relaxed look and style that means you can create garments that will look equally good worn with your jeans and a T-shirt, from cardigans and sweaters to super smart unlined blazers (we love the Morris Blazer by Grainline studios). Stand alone pieces such as tunic dresses and pinafore dresses are equally ideal. Also, let's not forget the gents - this excellent fabric will make super cosy sweatshirts and fabulous grandad style shawl collar cardigans too!
If this cold snap in the weather is getting you down, then get your hands on our fabulous boiled wools and make up some super chic, quick make, versatile garments that you will love wrapping yourself up in.