Since I'm surrounded by fabric all the day long and since I truly do love fine textiles with a passion, I thought it might be good if I dropped in every now and then with a fabric in focus. A lot of times when customers come into the shop, I find that they don't really know what some of the fabrics mean, in that they don't know a weave from a fiber type. And that's OK, but sometimes its kind of interesting to know stuff. ha ha! We just received several wool crepes and I thought I should stop down and talk about wool crepe because it is a rather lovely fabric. It's actually one of my favorites.
Let's begin with the wool part and then we'll move along to the crepe part. Wool is technically the hair of any animal that has been spun into a fiber/yarn and then woven (or knitted!) into a cloth. Wool is usually, incredibly versatile and very easy to sew with and press. Getting along with wool is not hard, which is why to me its kind of like the cold weather version of cotton. Cottons are usually pretty easy to sew with and so are wools. Definitely not a stretch to add wools into your sewing arsenal. I'd say that the only thing with wool is that it usually needs to be lined, but don't be afraid to leave something unlined and just wear it with a slip too. Additionally, since wools are a protein fiber, they are prone to moths. While there is quite a bit of debate on how to keep your wool, I'll say that I keep mine in plastic tubs with cedar balls. The washing of wools is usually not recommended (though I'll admit, that doesn't stop me!) because they can shrink or felt if agitated in hot water. I usually pre-wash a wool in cold water, on a gentle cycle and then hang to dry. It's rare that I wash a finished garment out of wool - and that includes dry cleaning - but if I need to, I'll usually wash on gentle, in cold and hang to dry or hand wash and hang to dry. If the garment has a lot of internal structure as in the case of a coat or jacket, I dry clean and only if it needs it. Before any debate begins, I'll also say that if you're not into washing wools, that is of course fine too! Whatever blows your hair back!
Crepe is a not specific to wool. You can have silk crepe (crepe de chine & 4 ply silk are both crepes) or polyester crepe. I've even seen crepe like knits too. Crepes happen when the fiber/yarn is twisted before its woven or knitted into cloth. It creates this bumpy like texture and is a little spongey. Wool crepe in particular has fantastic drape, but it's also structured enough to create a fabulous jacket that would last a long time.