**wool**

WOOL fabric brings to mind cozy warmth. Some wools are scratchy giving some people the idea that they are “allergic” to wool. Although wool fiber comes from a variety of animal coats, not all wool’s are scratchy but rather extremely soft. The wool fibers have crimps or curls which create pockets and gives the wool a spongy feel and creates insulation for the wearer. The outside surface of the fiber consists of a series of serrated scales which overlap each other much like the scales of a fish. Wool is the only fiber with such serration’s which make it possible for the fibers to cling together and produce felt. The same serration’s will also cling together tightly when wool is improperly washed and shrinks! Wool will not only return to its original position after being stretched or creased, it will absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling damp. Its unique properties allow shaping and tailoring, making the wool the most popular fabric for tailoring fine garments. Wool is also dirt resistant, flame resistant, and, in many weaves, resists wear and tearing.

Basically, there are two different processes used in wool production. Woolen fabrics have a soft feel and fuzzy surface, very little shine or sheen, will not hold a crease, and are heavier and bulkier than worsteds. Blankets, scarves, coating, and some fabrics are considered woolens. Worsted wool is smoother than woolen, takes shine more easily, does not sag, holds a crease well, is lighter and less bulky, and wears longer than woolen. Worsted wool’s require a greater number of processes, during which fibers are arranged parallel to each other. The smoother, harder-surface worsted yarns produce smoother fabrics with a minimum of fuzziness and nap. Fine worsted wool is even seen in clothing for athletics such as tennis. No, they are not hotter than polyester but actually cooler, as the weave of the fabric allows wool to absorb perspiration and the fabric “breathes,” unlike polyester.

WOOL SPECIALTY FIBERS, although still classified as wool, are further classified by the animal the fiber comes from.

Alpaca fleece is very rich and silky with considerable luster. It comes from the Alpaca.

Mohair is from the angora goat and is highly resilient and strong. Mohair’s luster, not softness, determines its value. Mohair is used in home decorating fabrics as well as garment fabrics including tropical worsteds.

Angora wool is from the angora rabbit. This soft fiber is used in sweaters, mittens and baby clothes.

Camel hair is from the extremely soft and fine fur from the undercoat of the camel. Camel’s hair can be used alone but is most often combined with fine wool for overcoating, topcoating, sportswear and sports hosiery. Because of the beauty of the color, fabrics containing camel’s hair are usually left in the natural camel color or dyed a darker brown. Light weight and soft, it is said that a 22 oz. camel fabric is as warm as a 32 oz. woolen fabric.

Cashmere is from the Kasmir goat down. Separation of the soft fibers from the long, coarse hair is tedious and difficult, contributing to the expense of the fabric. The soft hair is woven or knitted into fine garments and can also be blended with silk, cotton, or wool.

Vicuna is the softest coat cloth in the world. The amount of coarse hair to be separated from the soft fibers is negligible and yields the finest animal fiber in the world. Vicuna is a member of the Llama family and is small and wild. Since it is generally killed to obtain the fleece, it is protected by rigorous conservation measures. This fiber is rare and very expensive, costing several hundred dollars per yard.

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**FABRIC IDENTIFICATION**

Burn Test – CAUTION. WARNING. BE CAREFUL! This should only be done by skilled burners! Make sure there is a bucket of water nearby and that you burn in a metal bucket or non-plastic sink.

To identify fabric that is unknown, a simple burn test can be done to determine if the fabric is a natural fiber, man made fiber, or a blend of natural and man made fibers. The burn test is used by many fabric stores and designers and takes practice to determine the exact fiber content. However, an inexperienced person can still determine the difference between many fibers to “narrow” the choices down to natural or man made fibers. This elimination process will give information necessary to decide the care of the fabric.

WARNING: All fibers will burn! Asbestos treated fibers are, for the most part fire proof. The burning test should be done with caution. Use a small piece of fabric only. Hold the fabric with tweezers, not your fingers. Burn over a metal dish with soda in the bottom or even water in the bottom of the dish. Some fabrics will ignite and melt. The result is burning drips which can adhere to fabric or skin and cause a serious burn.

Cotton is a plant fiber. When ignited it burns with a steady flame and smells like burning leaves. The ash left is easily crumbled. Small samples of burning cotton can be blown out as you would a candle.

Linen is also a plant fiber but different from cotton in that the individual plant fibers which make up the yarn are long where cotton fibers are short. Linen takes longer to ignite. The fabric closest to the ash is very brittle. Linen is easily extinguished by blowing on it as you would a candle.

Silk is a protein fiber and usually burns readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning hair. The ash is easily crumbled. Silk samples are not as easily extinguished as cotton or linen.

Wool is also a protein fiber but is harder to ignite than silk as the individual “hair” fibers are shorter than silk and the weave of the fabrics is generally looser than with silk. The flame is steady but more difficult to keep burning. The smell of burning wool is like burning hair.

Man Made Fibers

Acetate is made from cellulose (wood fibers), technically cellulose acetate. Acetate burns readily with a flickering flame that cannot be easily extinguished. The burning cellulose drips and leaves a hard ash. The smell is similar to burning wood chips.

Acrylic technically acrylonitrile is made from natural gas and petroleum. Acrylics burn readily due to the fiber content and the lofty, air filled pockets. A match or cigarette dropped on an acrylic blanket can ignite the fabric which will burn rapidly unless extinguished. The ash is hard. The smell is acrid or harsh.

Nylon is a polyamide made from petroleum. Nylon melts and then burns rapidly if the flame remains on the melted fiber. If you can keep the flame on the melting nylon, it smells like burning plastic.

Polyester is a polymer produced from coal, air, water, and petroleum products. Polyester melts and burns at the same time, the melting, burning ash can bond quickly to any surface it drips on including skin. The smoke from polyester is black with a sweetish smell. The extinguished ash is hard.

Rayon is a regenerated cellulose fiber which is almost pure cellulose. Rayon burns rapidly and leaves only a slight ash. The burning smell is close to burning leaves.

Blends consist of two or more fibers and, ideally, are supposed to take on the characteristics of each fiber in the blend. The burning test can be used but the fabric content will be an assumption.

**SATIN**

Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is a warp-dominated weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibers such as silk, nylon, or polyester, the corresponding fabric is termed a satin. If the yarns used are short-staple yarns such as cotton, the fabric formed is considered a sateen.

A satin-woven fabric tends to have a high luster due to the high number of floats on the fabric. Floats are missed interlacings, where the warp yarn lies on top of the weft yarn, or vice versa. The floats tend to make the fabric look glossier as well as give it a smoother surface.

Many variations can be made of the basic satin weave including a granite weave and a check weave. Satin weaves, twill weaves, and plain weaves are the three basic types of weaving by which the majority of woven products are formed.

Satin is commonly used in apparel: satin baseball jackets, athletic shorts, women’s lingerie, nightgowns, and evening gowns, but also in some men’s boxer shorts, shirts and neckties, interior furnishing fabrics, upholstery, and bed sheets. It is also used in the production of pointe shoes for use in ballet.

**BOUTIQUE**

 

A boutique, from the French word for “shop,” is a small shopping outlet, especially one that specializes in elite and fashionable items such as clothing and jewellery.

The term entered into everyday English use in the late 1960s when, for a brief period, London, UK was the centre of the fashion trade. Carnaby Street and the Kings Road were the focus of much media attention as home to the most fashionable boutiques of the era.

It can also refer to a specialised firm such as a boutique investment bank or boutique law firm. The word is often used to describe a property in the independent section of the hotel market (such as The Rockwell in London) in order to distinguish themselves from larger chains (such as Hilton Hotels). In such cases the idea is that the operation is elite and highly specialised.

In the strictest sense of the word, boutiques would be one-of-a-kind but more generally speaking, some chains can be referred to as boutiques if they specialize in particularly stylish offerings (such as New York City boutique shoe store Alife Rivington Club).

Recently, the term “boutique” has started being applied to normally-mass-market items that are either niche or produced in intentionally small numbers at very high prices. This may be referred to as boutique manufacturing. For example, before the release of the Wii, a Time Magazine article suggested that Nintendo could become a “boutique video-game company”, producing games for niche audiences, rather than trying to compete directly with Microsoft and Sony.[1]

In the traditional luxury watch industry Scalfaro International is considered as the precursor in manufacturing and sale of bespoke watches. The Swiss company uses a highly flexible boutique manufacturing site, which allows producing small series or even unique timepieces.

Although some boutiques specialise in hand-made items and other truly one-of-a-kind items, others simply produce t-shirts, stickers, and other fashion accessories in artificially small runs and sell them at unusually high prices. In the early 1990’s Selena started manufacturing her own line of womens clothing. Opening two boutiques labeled as “Selena Etc. Boutique & Salon” One located in Corpus Christi and one located in San Antonio, Texas. One was due to open in Monterrey, Mexico in 1995 but due to her death it was not opened. Today, only the Corpus Christi Boutique is still open.

In late 1990s some European retail traders developed the idea of tailoring a shop towards a lifestyle theme, in the form of “concept stores”,[2][3] which specialised in cross-selling without using separate departments. One of the first concept stores was 10 Corso Como[4] in Milan, Italy followed by Colette[5] in Paris and Quartier 206[6][7] in Berlin. Several well known American chains such as Urban Outfitters[8][9], D-A-S-H, Billabong and The Gap[10] and, though less common, Lord & Taylor adapted to the concept store trend after 2000.

**SILK**

, the fabric that makes its own statement. Say “silk” to someone and what do they visualize? No other fabric generates quite the same reaction. For centuries silk has had a reputation as a luxurious and sensuous fabric, one associated with wealth and success. Silk is one of the oldest textile fibers known to man. It has been used by the Chinese since the 27th century BC. Silk is mentioned by Aristotle and became a valuable commodity both in Greece and Rome. During the Roman Empire, silk was sold for its weight in gold.

 

SILK

Today, silk is yet another word for elegance, and silk garments are prized for their versatility, wearability and comfort. Silk, or soie in French, is the strongest natural fiber. A steel filament of the same diameter as silk will break before a filament of silk. Silk absorbs moisture, which makes it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Because of its high absorbency, it is easily dyed in many deep colors. Silk retains its shape, drapes well, caresses the figure, and shimmers with a luster all its own.

Contemporary silk garments range from evening wear to sports wear. A silk suit can go to the office and, with a change of accessories and a blouse, transform into an elegant dinner ensemble. Silk garments can be worn for all seasons.

Silk — elegant, versatile and washable. In the past, owning a silk garment meant not only the initial price of the garment but also the cost of dry cleaning. All silk is washable. Silk is a natural protein fiber, like human hair, taken from the cocoon of the silkworm. The natural glue, sericin, secreted by silkworms and not totally removed during manufacturing of the silk, is a natural sizing which is brought out when washing in warm water. Most silk fabrics can be hand washed. Technically, silk does not shrink like other fibers.  If the fabric is not tightly woven, washing a silk with tighten up the weave…. thus, lighter weights of silk (say a crepe de chine of 14 mm) can be improved by washing as it will tighten up the weave.  A tightly woven silk will not “shrink”  or will “shrink” a lot less. Silk garments, however, can shrink if the fabric has not been washed prior to garment construction. When washing silk, do not wring but roll in a towel. Silk dries quickly but should not be put in an automatic dryer unless the fabric is dried in an automatic dryer prior to garment construction. A good shampoo works well on silk. It will remove oil and revitalize your silk. Do not use an alkaline shampoo or one which contains ingredients such as wax, petroleum, or their derivatives, as these products will leave a residue on your silk and may cause “oil” spots. If static or clinging is a problem with your silks, a good hair conditioner (see above cautions) may be used in the rinse water.

Silk may yellow and fade with the use of a high iron setting. Press cloths and a steam iron are recommended. Silk is also weakened by sunlight and perspiration.

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