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Forum > Fabrics and more... > Why is English Wool so expensive? ( Moderated by CynthiaSue)

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Why is English Wool so expensive?
couturemom
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Date: 10/17/12 11:14 AM

I'm wondering if anyone knows what's so special about 'English' wool. I have a client who recently ordered $65/yard English wool crepe. I've compared that to another wool crepe that was $14/yd. There's a difference in slight difference hand and weave, but I couldn't say that one is better than the other.

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In reply to couturemom <<


Date: 10/17/12 11:22 AM

Quote: couturemom
I'm wondering if anyone knows what's so special about 'English' wool. I have a client who recently ordered $65/yard English wool crepe. I've compared that to another wool crepe that was $14/yd. There's a difference in slight difference hand and weave, but I couldn't say that one is better than the other.

If you can get something with the same feel and hand as English Wool for $14 you must share!

I love the feel of English wool, perhaps they massage the sheep like those Kobe beef cows?

I am very persnickity about the wool that I buy. I live in a warm climate so it can't be too heavy, and I really prefer to sew with the high thread count. I hardly ever wear crepe, so not much help there.

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PattiAnnJ
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Date: 10/17/12 11:49 AM

When I worked for a manufacturer of men's suits, they bought wool from the colder climate countries because the wool was thicker.

Exporting cost also factors into the price.

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justgail

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Date: 10/17/12 2:03 PM

If it's really made in England, not just using "English wool" as a description, my guess is higher labor costs (compared to China and other emerging nations) is the big reason. And the exchange rate between countries might be another part.

It's also possible that the true quality of the fabric might not show up until drycleaned or washed and worn for a while. The English wool might last much longer.

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In reply to justgail <<


Date: 10/17/12 9:40 PM

I did forget to mention how long it lasts. I have lined wool pants that I made 4 or 5 years ago that I wear frequently (almost once a week) that still look really good. I let them out and take them in as needed and they don't show surface wear or needle holes.

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Date: 10/18/12 0:27 AM

Very high quality, labor intensive, mostly small exclusive farms.

One touch and you can immediately feel the difference. Very nice stuff.

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Date: 10/18/12 3:12 AM

Not crepe and not English (Scottish), but this link is one you might like
http://www.harristweedshop.com/tweed-harris-plain.html

CRUST
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Date: 10/18/12 4:44 AM

I don't mean to question your knowledge or talents, but how are you comparing fabrics? There's a lot you can tell by look and feel, but the only way to really see the difference is to get swatches so you can pull the yarns out and examine the structure, then pull the yarn apart to examine the fiber structure. If you're really insane, like me, you get one of those jeweler's glasses to get a really good look at everything. And yes, you wash it and burn it to see what happens.

There's also the simple matter of diminishing returns. It's easy enough to improve the quality of your wool by feeding your sheep tastier grass, but once you start feeding them vitamin supplements, walking them on treadmills, taking them to expensive dinners, and singing them to sleep you're spending a lot of money for that last 20% increase in quality.
-- Edited on 10/18/12 4:46 AM --

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Date: 10/18/12 7:45 AM

I know The quality of English wool is suburb, but wasn't there an illness a few years back where they had to destroy many sheep? This could have contributed to the high price now being asked. However, everything seems to have risen in cost- have you checked out detergents and such lately?

couturemom
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Date: 10/18/12 9:11 AM

Thanks for all the comments. I'm certainly not a fabric expert, and while there does seem to be a difference in the weave and the feel of the English fabric (and I do think it's from England), I can't really say that it's that much BETTER than the other wool crepe. I was just curious as to whether I was missing something. Perhaps it will be more evident when the garments are constructed!

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