01 January 2008

PR - Vogue - 8307 cont.

Vogue 8307 cont.

Um, yeah ... still working on the coat ... :)

This is the inside of my coat, with the sew-in upper back piece the bright, blinding white staring you in the face.

I've got the hem steamed into place and the lining cut out. Now I just need to sew the lining and front facing together.

My plans include:
- complete topstitching of coat, working around the pockets is going to be interesting
- re-inforce button area, I've chosen a doubled button so it's going to be heavy
- insert sleeves
- sew in sleeve head
- insert lining as one step
- add buttons
- wear coat

The last will be most rewarding.

I've had a bit of discussion regarding wool washing with some fellow "designers" and we seem to fall into two very different groups: washers and dry-cleaners. I don't dry clean anything. Period. So I would fall in the washer group.

I have a Kenmore Oasis washing machine that does not have the traditional agitator, and I've washed many a wool fabric in this machine. However, I also washed many a wool with my old (and broken, hence the Oasis) typical agitator washing machine. I do notice that the new machine doesn't punish the wool quite so much, and fabrics that would turn into muslins with my old machine might be salvageable with my new machine.

However, I think the most important thing to do is wash your wool fabric as you plan to wash your finished product. And if you dry clean everything, don't waste your time with washing. Wool is, for the most part, a tough fabric (regardless of how quickly moths can break down the fibers). It can handle washing and drying, usually. There are, however, a couple of caveats (of course).

Wool is a protein based fiber, and has many similarities to our own hair.

The hair on the left is a sheep (wool) hair as it goes through a dyeing process. It is from the website http://www.presentltd.com/rugs/natural-dye-de.htm.

The hair on the right is a human hair from the website http://pwatlas.mt.umist.ac.uk/internetmicroscope/micrographs/curious/human-hair_z6.html.

The biggest thing that should jump out at you is scale size. The scales on the wool are larger in proportion to the hair than the scales on a human hair. This probably makes it more responsive to humidity and you need to react accordingly.

Hence, don't dry on high heat and don't strip oils from the wool with a harsh detergent. Easy, peasy ... uh, what constitutes a harsh detergent? *Sigh* Anything that is alkaline and soapy.

Fyi, as far as I can tell, Woolite ingredients include: alkylbenzenesulfonic acid (a strong oxidizing agent), sodium hydroxide 50% sol'n (aka caustic soda, a caustic metallic base ... i.e. alkaline in solution), and sodium lauryl ether sulfate 70% sol'n (a very drying detergent). In other words, don't use Woolite to wash wools.

I've used Kookaburra, Ecover, Nikwax, 7th Generation, and All Free & Clear with fairly good results. I like Kookaburra the best for smell, Nikwax the least for smell. Having written all this, NONE of these companies want to publish their exact ingredients list and I wouldn't be surprised to find nasty ingredients in any of these products. A really good, gentle shampoo would work as well, if not better, for washing wool. And shampoo ingredients are listed on the bottle. Perfect.

Basically, this means that my coat fabric was washed and dried before I began cutting, and I'll wash my coat as it needs a cleaning. Though I will probably lay out and hang dry my coat.

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