What Happened to All the Wool

If like me, you’re a lover of fine fabrics, you likely are noticing that wool fabric (and other natural fabrics for that matter) gradually are leaving the fashion scene. When available, the price is outrageous but really, when is the last time you purchased a garment or piece of fabric made fro100% silk or wool?

While I can’t say I’m studying this phenomenon, naively I have assumed the declining availability of wool ready-to-wear and fabric is due to exactly that – it’s not available , as in there are fewer sheep in the world.

Then came my trip to Paris where I’m a duck out of water in my new stylish ski-type jacket. Nearly every woman in Paris wears a (fashionable) wool coat, even on a rainy winter day. Young children wear gorgeous wool coats – the kind you absolutely can’t find in the US. Admittedly these garment are far more costly than the inexpensive and poorly constructed garments we tolerate but they look soooo much better.

What’s more, going into fast fashion stores in Paris, there are tons of partial or 100% wool garments. With this new information in hand, I can only assume that we In N. America aren’t fighting for what we really want to sew with or wear. What a sad state of affairs. The next time I’m in a fabric store and pick up a piece of wool, instead of thinking about the high cost, I am going to thank the proprietor for carrying such wonderfully durable fabric. Then I’m going to purchase it.

(Now my rant is over).

2 thoughts on “What Happened to All the Wool

  1. Hi Been meaning to touch base with you for a while now but this post prompted me to write. The other day Male Pattern Boldness addressed the issue in that Peter decried the lack of high quality ( like wool) in thrift shop items

    I have a huge stash of fabric. Lots from Jomar with of course no content labels My foolproof method of determining wool content is this If it has holes due to insects it is wool!

    I also related to your coat comment I totally agree that the most beautiful coats worn by fashionable women are nicely shaped and made of wool for the past few years I have worn my puffy Lands End but on my sewing bucket list is a nice wool

    We were in Paris for just a few days each in March and November. I got the impression you had been there as well

    I have a Marche Saint Pierre story for my next email but must close for now Congrats on your beautiful grand daughter

    Hope all is well



    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I’ve noticed that wool is increasingly difficult to buy on the bolt. For my latest purchase, I had to go to Mood in NYC, which still stocks full lines. I don’t shop in retail stores for clothes, so I don’t know what the situation is there.

    I have noticed, though, tthat there is a resurgence of merino now used for cycling wear, and it’s clear that that market is building at a steady (and rapid) rate. That’s where *some* wool is going!

    Like most people, my usual day-to-day coats are some variation on nylon/poly — modern life is messy, and machine-washability a plus for everyday tasks.

    A base-level sign of the change may be the difficulty involved in running down mothballs — each year it gets more difficult to find them. Nasty though they are, mothballs are what keeps my fine wools (and beloved sweater collection) alive, and they are getting harder and harder to source locally.

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