What Is The Warmest Natural Fabric?
Wool is the warmest natural fabric, making it a perfect choice for cold weather. Its natural fibers have a tendency to crimp, slightly twisting, curling, or bending. When these fibers are woven together, they create an insulating layer that helps to keep the body warm. This is why sheep, alpacas, and other animals are protected by their wool coats.
Wool is also very absorbent, which means it can absorb a lot of moisture without feeling wet. However, if you’re looking for a wool that is water-resistant, tweed is a great option. Its tight weave maximizes the warming effect of the fibers while allowing water to slide right off.
How to Prevent Wool Shrinkage
Wool is a wonderful and sustainable fiber that’s harvested by shaving animals like sheep, alpaca, and camel. It’s naturally water-resistant and renewable, but its biggest drawback is shrinkage. To prevent wool from shrinking, it’s crucial to dry your wool items flat on a smooth surface while the fabric is still damp. Doing so allows you to gently stretch the garment back to its original size. Avoid hanging wet wool items as this can stretch or even tear the natural fibers. By taking these simple steps, you can keep your wool garments looking like new for years to come.
Related: Wool Fabric Preparation: To Wash or Not to Wash?
Stay Comfortable All Year Round with Wool
When we think of wool, we often associate it with warmth, but did you know that it can also help you stay cool? The secret lies in wool’s ability to absorb moisture. Whether it’s rain or sweat, wool can pull the moisture away from your skin and keep you dry and comfortable. This process is called moisture-wicking, and it’s all thanks to the unique design of wool fibers. If you were to examine a strand of wool under a microscope, you would notice its scaly outer surface. These scales repel water, while the core of the fiber absorbs moisture, drawing it away from your skin. This is how wool can help regulate your body temperature in both hot and cold weather. So, the next time you’re shopping for a summer outfit or planning a hike, consider choosing wool for its all-season comfort.
Related: No Wool, No Problem: 5 Other Fabrics to Stay Cozy This Winter
Did you know that wool is not only warm and cozy, but also naturally flame-resistant due to its keratin content? In fact, wool has the ability to char when it begins to burn, and will stop burning altogether once the fire source is removed. However, it’s important to note that wool blended with synthetic fibers will lose this flame-resistant quality, as synthetic fibers tend to melt when exposed to heat. So, if you’re looking for a material that can keep you both warm and safe, pure wool is definitely the way to go!
Where Wool Comes From
Wool is commonly known to come from sheep and alpaca, but there are other animals that provide wool fibers as well. The Angora rabbit, for example, is a source of some of the softest and fluffiest wool available.
While cashmere wool is often associated with goats, specifically the Cashmere goat, the hair of the Bactrian Camel can also be used to create wool. Some camel wool makers shear their animals, while others collect shed hair.
Different breeds of sheep also produce different types of wool, each with their own best uses. For example, Lincoln sheep produce long wool that is often used for heavy-duty yarns in upholstery. Cheviot sheep provide the base for tweed. Hampshire, Montadale, and Romney sheep are popular sources of wool for needle felting. Merino wool, from the Merino sheep, is often used in clothing items due to its excellent moisture control and insulation properties.
What about Cotton & Wool Blends?
Have you ever wondered if cotton and wool blends are a good idea? It may seem like the perfect combination to get the softness of cotton with the warmth of wool, but the reality is a bit more complicated. The problem is that cotton and wool fibers are very different in texture. While cotton is smooth, wool is textured, and when the two are woven together, the friction can weaken the fabric over time. In fact, longer fibers are weaker than shorter fibers because they have fewer supports. That’s why cotton apparel tends to wear out faster than wool apparel.
In addition to the differences in texture, the dying process for cotton and wool is also different. Despite these challenges, manufacturers have been blending cotton and wool for over a century. The first cotton and wool blend was made in England in the late 1800s under the brand name Viyella. William Hollins and Company made the combo from 55% Merino wool and the rest in cotton as a way to eliminate wool’s shrinkage problem.
Blending cotton and wool can also be a cost-saving measure. Wool is generally more expensive than cotton, but by blending the two, consumers can still get a product made of natural fibers at a more affordable price point. While a cotton and wool blend may not last as long as 100% wool, it’s still a great option for those looking for a warm and comfortable fabric blend.
The Second Warmest Natural Fabric
Flannel, the second warmest natural fabric after wool, has a soft texture when made from 100 percent cotton. Brushed flannel is even softer. It is a popular fabric for winter sheet sets, pajamas, and throw blankets and pillows because of its natural warmth. Additionally, flannel jackets or flannel-lined blazers are fashionable apparel items due to the warmth provided by the fabric.
And The Third Warmest Natural Fabric?
Cotton fleece is the third warmest natural fabric, however, it is not commonly used as polyester or polyester blend fleece due to affordability. Although cotton fleece offers some warmth, it is too breathable to be highly insulating. Moreover, cotton takes a longer time to dry when wet, which could actually make you feel colder while the cotton is still in the process of drying.