Saturday, October 11, 2014

Winter Fabrics

We have snow up here in Alaska, which means that its time to bring out the winter fashions.  While cuffed jeans and flannel shirts seem to be an easy fashion go-to, I want to talk about other options.  If you sew, like me, then its important to mention classic winter fabrics.  I'll talk about fashions in another post, this one is just on winter fabrics.

Classic Winter Fabrics
Wool - Wool usually comes from sheep, though some variations come from goats, musk ox, and
camel.  While it can absorb water, it is very warm and burns at a higher temperature than other fibers making it fire resistant.  Its hypoallergenic.  It can be used from everything to winter coats to skirts to underwear.

Flannel - Flannel is a woven fabric usually made from wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers.  Flannel is brushed either on one side (single-napped) or both sides (double-napped).  It usually comes in solid colors or plaids.   Its used for shirting, pajamas, pants, and bedding.

Tweed - Tweed is a woolen product generally with a plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern to it.  Tweed is generally used for informal outerwear since it is moisture-resistant and durable.

Hand Knits - Hand knits are knitted items knitted by hand.  People generally start out learning to make scarves, hats, and mittens, but gradually learn to make more complicated items such as socks, cardigans, and blankets.  Hand knits are made from a variety of yarn that includes wool, cotton, natural fibers, and synthetic fibers.

Fur - Fur comes in and out of style.  Fur is warm, it dries easily, and its durable.  Fur is a strange
beast.  If you are going to cut out a pattern on fur, turn it over so the fur side is down.  Use a sharpie to trace your pattern onto the fur.  Use a razor blade to cut the pattern out.  DO NOT use scissors.

Modern Winter Fabrics
Polar Fleece - Polar fleece is constructed from recycled plastic, so its not resistant to high heat.  It is water resistant and very warm.  Its recommended that you wash and then air dry.  Too much machine drying will cause some pilling and the loss of softness.

Flannel-Back Satin - This is a type of satin with a single-nap, the dull backside has been brushed.  This makes it warmer and softer.  If you are looking for fabric for winter pajamas, you might want to choose this.  I would not recommend this for dresses.

Cuddle Fabrics - This kind of fabric is super soft.  Sometimes its plush chenille, but its always a polyester.  Its used for blankets, pajamas, baby clothes, pet items, and coat linings.

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