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Wool fabric with polyester backing
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sugarduck
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sugarduck  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/14/13 2:23 AM

I recently purchased a length of what is either a lightweight wool or a wool blend. I bought it as an end-of-bolt remnant and the fiber content was not labeled. It has a very wool-like hand and also a strong wool smell, so if it's a blend, I think the wool percentage is quite high.

What's "special" about this fabric is that the back is covered in a thin layer of polyester (apart from the selvedge, which is not backed). I've never come across anything like this before and was wondering if there is a name for this kind of fabric and also the purpose of the backing. Is it like a built-in interfacing? I'm assuming that it's intended for use in lined garments; maybe it would be used to make jackets or blazers. The polyester adds a small bit of body to the otherwise drapey wool. Also, it cutting the fabric, the backing seems to prevent the fabric from unraveling (the weave is similar to a herringbone pattern).

Any information about this fabric and its intended use would be much appreciated!

beauturbo
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In reply to sugarduck <<


Date: 2/14/13 4:24 AM

Maybe it's "bonded" fabric. I have not seen any lately as being all that popular, or back in style in the fabric stores actually, but do remember it as child back from the 1960's-70's
Maybe it's back?

It was very popular then, most times woven wool or wooly-ish acrylic that had nylon tricot (as in a nylon tricot slip/undergarment kind of knit fabric) heat bonded onto the back of it. Why? I think just because they could actually. It was a newish thing back then, and sometimes I do think a cost cutting measure, but I thought that had gone away for the most part a very long time ago- like decades really. Could be back though for somethings, but I have not been seeing it in ready to wear in the stores. By doing that, your top layer of woven wool or even more often acrylic, did not have to be very firmly woven or thick to hold together or not be see though, and it would have a stiffer/different drape to it, and be less scratchy and fuzzy on the inside against your skin, and maybe not have to wear a slip under it, but at the same time, where you had seams, then still the rougher woven outer fabric, could still be prickly against your skin. But maybe it's back now again?
-- Edited on 2/14/13 4:25 AM --

sugarduck
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sugarduck  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/14/13 7:11 AM

Hmmm...interesting. I'm not sure that's exactly what I have, though. The fabric is bonded, as you explained, but the backing material isn't slippery; it's more like the polyester that's used sometimes for sports uniforms. It's not uncomfortable against the skin, but it's not the sort of material that would be added expressly for comfort or to avoid lining the garment.

The exterior fabric definitely has some wool in it (confirmed by a burn test this morning). Judging from the selvedge, which is quite wide and void of backing, the fabric is weighty enough to be used on its own (meaning that it's not particularly thin or more loosely woven than other wools with which I've sewn in the past). That's why I'm stumped as to why the backing is there; it doesn't really seem to serve an obvious purpose. I do think the backing keeps the weave more stable, as fraying is kept to a minimum, but I've seen many very loosely woven fabrics that don't have any sort of bonding to protect from fraying, so it seems strange to me that the backing on this fabric is there for that reason (though I could be totally wrong!). Here's a photo that shows both the outside fabric and the inside bonding:


-- Edited on 2/14/13 7:24 AM --

beauturbo
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In reply to sugarduck <<


Date: 2/14/13 4:51 PM

Looks like 1960's/70's style bonded woven fabric to me. And it does look like nylon tricot on the back of it too.Mostly used back then for ladies more A line style skirts and jumpers (as was the style back then, and suited more simple shapes like that) but even for pants sometimes. Not sure what historical references for clothes like that would be in France, but in the USA, old Sears and Wards mail order catalogs would be good for that, as the descriptions of even fabric for garments in those, almost always mentioned bonded if they were.

The other place I do still see that now, is often for fabric for home decoration stuff. Lots of bonded fabrics for home decoration, and maybe upholstery, in all sorts of mixtures. Not most times always very good for garments you might need to wash, or that have any kind of pleating, or gathering though. But it could have been even intended for home decoration use.

When you buy some sort of loose fabric remnant some place/ with no bolt or tags or even listing with fabric content on it, or just loose on a flat fold table, and especially if it's a discount mill end or factory remnant, or something like that, it is kind of hard to ever know sometimes what the original intended purpose is sometimes. But it could be anything you want to be, once it's yours instead.

If you want to know what exactly is the fiber content of either top or bottom fabric, I think you would have to run some fabric burn tests on it. You could look up that, if you really wanted to do that, and wanted to know bad enough. Probably way too much bother though for just a fabric remnant.
-- Edited on 2/14/13 5:10 PM --

sugarduck
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sugarduck  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/15/13 2:36 AM

The shop where I found it had a lot of dusty nooks and crannies - this fabric could quite possibly be from the 1960s!

Anyway, thank you for your help in identifying this fabric. I've cut a skirt out of it and am waiting to see how the fabric drapes in a finished garment before deciding what I want to do with the rest of it.

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