The basics of knitwear care
Caring for wool is actually much easier than you might think
Words— Mylène Genty
Winter is all about care. We rest, we snuggle, we get comfortable. It’s no surprise then that the fabric most associated with this season checks all the criteria for coziness: wool. Wool is a notable fabric. It is to fashion what wood is to architecture. The connection we feel towards it is almost primal, perhaps because both elements come straight from nature - and so do we.
Our relationship with wool is one that even precedes the notion of fashion itself. Back when we were hunter-gatherers, wool was used as a protective fabric from the cold and the heat - the wind and the rain. As far as we know, the oldest known European wool textile dates back from 1500 BC.
Wool and its variants—cashmere, mohair, angora and pashmina, to name a few—are an integral part of clothing. Its ubiquity makes it easy to see this commodity as being banal when it’s anything but that. It has outstanding qualities—it can soak up to as much as 30% of its weight in moisture without feeling wet. It’s elastic, has great durability, can stand the test of time and of course, it keeps us warm like no other fabric. It is, on top of that, a natural textile.
Hence why we should not only re-use this fabric, we should take care of it. Here are a few tips that’ll help you make the most of out this wholesome fabric.
- Wool jackets go through a lot of severe weather. A simple way to take good care of it is to use a lint brush to clean it after wear, and before hanging in a closet. The brushing will remove surface soil and lint.
- Hang your jacket on sturdy hangers. The strength and broadness of it will guarantee that it doesn’t stretch the shoulder areas out of shape.
- Store your coats after the season in a garment bag. This will help prevent moths and other insects from infesting the wool.
- Leave your garments alone for 24 hours. This will gives the natural resilience and spring in the wool fibre time to recover and return to its original shape.
- Contrary to popular belief, machine washing is not prohibited, unless specified on your garment. If your washing machine does not have a wool cycle, be sure to use cold water and the delicate cycle.
- Always flat dry your knitwear: the fabric must ideally dry naturally in the air. Line drying and the use of hangers can cause your garments to stretch due to the weight of the moisture it contains. The garment will then grow in length and lose its shape.