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Thread: Wool Jacket Score... Now What?

  1. #1
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    You might have seen my earlier thread inquiring about good places to buy wool. I was thinking ready-to-work-with wool, and a generous member is actually sending me some scraps.
    But there were also folks who suggested thrift stores.

    While running errands today I went in a charity shop that sells everything from books to curtains, shoes to appliances, and clothing to video tapes.

    I bought 8 men's jackets, all wool, for $7. So... Now what? I have to wash them in hot water, then dry them, right? Should I use fabric softener? Do I cut them apart first? If I do that, wouldn't they ravel a lot?

    Thank you for your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member MisDixie's Avatar
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    Wool in hot water turns to felt! I would do the cold water wash and lay flat to dry. Wool is woven so it will ravel. I would leave them whole until after washing. You might just want to soak them with a mild detergent.

  3. #3
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    I would definitely NOT use fabric softener. From what I've read, you want to wash in hot hot water and agitate as long as possible. I would not cut them apart until after. Are they 100% wool? What a great find!!

  4. #4
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    After reading the pp... I thought the OP wanted wool felt? That's the impression I got anyway.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MisDixie's Avatar
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    You could be right about that. I have a wool suit to make for a client. Guess my head wasn't thinking about felting. LOL
    Quote Originally Posted by gale
    After reading the pp... I thought the OP wanted wool felt? That's the impression I got anyway.

  6. #6
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    Here's the thread the OP was talking about when she asked about buying wool. Still doesn't say felt but since it's applique I think it would be. I am going to check out the stores in the thread too.

    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-151960-1.htm

  7. #7
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    What one does to just wash wool fabric to clean it and have it stay approximately the way it was before washing

    and how one treats it to "felt" it -

    two completely different treatments.

    Probably should find what the original poster has in mind ??

  8. #8
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    This link was on one of the websites linked in the above thread:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_2074433_felt-wool.html

  9. #9
    Power Poster Lacelady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray
    What one does to just wash wool fabric to clean it and have it stay approximately the way it was before washing

    and how one treats it to "felt" it -

    two completely different treatments.

    Probably should find what the original poster has in mind ??
    I think the hotter the water, and the most agitation produces felt. To wash wool, you need cool water, and very gentle handling.

  10. #10
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    when i purchase wool jackets to use from thrift stores/yard sales i take them apart- remove buttons- what ever take the linings out- then wash them in hot water- and detergent-rinse in cold water then dry in a hot dryer- then it is ready to use for what ever i'm going to use it for- wool appliques- patchwork- hooked rugs, purses- what ever i am using it for-
    you can also over-dye your wools in you want.

  11. #11
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    Wow, talk about showing my lack of knowledge... I don't know! I think I want it felted, but now I'm not sure. It's for wool applique. Pattern is O Holy Night from Under the Garden Moon.

    http://www.underthegardenmoon.com/st...products_id/61

  12. #12
    Senior Member MisDixie's Avatar
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    I would say from looking at that photo that you want the wool yardage not felted. Check out the little plaid donkey. With felting you wouldn't get the pattern in the wool. Super cute pattern!
    Quote Originally Posted by peaceandjoy
    Wow, talk about showing my lack of knowledge... I don't know! I think I want it felted, but now I'm not sure. It's for wool applique. Pattern is O Holy Night from Under the Garden Moon.

    http://www.underthegardenmoon.com/st...products_id/61

  13. #13
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    I buy 99% of my wool from thrift stores in the form of clothes. I completely take it apart, remove any button, snaps, zippers, everything. I wash it in very hot water with little soap and dry it as hot as I can until it as dry as possible. It will never shrink or fade again. Sometimes I like to over dye too, using different dark wool colors with light wool colors. You can get some interesting colors that way. No fabric softner or dryer sheets. Check you dryer vent often as it will make a lot of fuzz.

  14. #14
    ConcreteSher's Avatar
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    I've read all of the replies to the original post, and just for my (generally windblown and confused) tree of knowledge, what is the difference? Does felted wool look different, or wear differently? Do they have different purposes? I've been wanting to make a wool quilt--is there something I should watch for?

  15. #15
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckcowl
    when i purchase wool jackets to use from thrift stores/yard sales i take them apart- remove buttons- what ever take the linings out- then wash them in hot water- and detergent-rinse in cold water then dry in a hot dryer- then it is ready to use for what ever i'm going to use it for- wool appliques- patchwork- hooked rugs, purses- what ever i am using it for-
    you can also over-dye your wools in you want.
    I agree. I remove the lining, shoulder pads etc. Note that some manufacturers used iron on interfacing on some of the jacket parts to keep them from stretching, which may prevent that part from felting. I usually try and pull this off. Sometimes it comes right off, sometimes it comes off with steam pressing. If it won't come off, felt it anyway.
    I would also wash the items in a pillow case. I use several and put some of the wool pieces in each one to balance the load. You can just safety pin the closed, or baste. There is a lot of fuzz that will come off the wool and this will save your machine and plumbing from the stress.

  16. #16
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gale
    I would definitely NOT use fabric softener. From what I've read, you want to wash in hot hot water and agitate as long as possible. I would not cut them apart until after. Are they 100% wool? What a great find!!
    wool in hot water will end up being felt! and the longer you agitate the tighter the felt will be.

  17. #17
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    I've put my wool in hot water and dryer for applique. If the quilt is ever going to be washed (and who can say what will happen when it leaves your hands), it's important the wool be as pre-shrunk as can be. It also makes it not fray if you "felt" it first.

  18. #18
    Senior Member MisDixie's Avatar
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    Good questions, there sure is a difference. Wool shrinks, the hotter the wash and/or dryer, and the more aggitagion in the wash the tighter the wool fabric gets. Felted wool is a tighter weave so it look differently from the orginal fabric. It also wears differently as the tighter the weave the more wind and water proof it can be. Felted wools are used for warmer clothing. Felted wool fabric its heavier in the hand (thicker) and dosn't drape in the same way as wool yardage. Wools can be a very fine lightweight weave or up to 1/2 inch thick. Parkas are made from the thick weave called "duffel". When making a quilt you would want a tighter weave for applique but also a lighter weight. Hope this helps. No expert here, just my thoughts.

    Quote Originally Posted by ConcreteSher
    I've read all of the replies to the original post, and just for my (generally windblown and confused) tree of knowledge, what is the difference? Does felted wool look different, or wear differently? Do they have different purposes? I've been wanting to make a wool quilt--is there something I should watch for?

  19. #19
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your suggestions. MisDixie, you really know your wool!

    The jackets filled one kitchen trash bag, plus one grocery bag (which is how the store determines pricing), just to give you an idea of the current volume. There is enough that I could wash half and leave half as is.

    My washer is a front-loader, so there isn't a whole lot of agitation going on. Hmmm.

    I'll take some pics and let you know what happens!

  20. #20
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    I hit myself on the forehead (as in "Duh!!) when I realized that in the supplies list it says, "felted wool."

    Jeez, do I feel stupid.

  21. #21
    Senior Member MisDixie's Avatar
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    LOL...when in doubt read the instructions! Been there and done that....many times.
    I have done a lot with wool but not a wool quilt...yet!
    Cheers!
    Quote Originally Posted by peaceandjoy
    I hit myself on the forehead (as in "Duh!!) when I realized that in the supplies list it says, "felted wool."

    Jeez, do I feel stupid.

  22. #22
    Super Member gale's Avatar
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    If it's felted, you don't have to finish the edges. If it isn't, you have to because it'll ravel.

  23. #23
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    In the felt you buy the wool fibers are not woven but mixed together with hot soapy water until the scales all lock together. Not structurally strong
    The felt you get from washing the the suits you bought will be practically indestructible. (Process is called ‘fulling’ and the fabric is 'fulled wool' just in case the quilt police try to give you a test before you kick them out.)

  24. #24
    Super Member peaceandjoy's Avatar
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    Well, they are cut up, washed and dried.

    If I'd been willing, I probably could have gotten more out of them, but when I met resistance, I went around. So wherever there was anything bonded that didn't easily pull off, I cut around it. I didn't open seams.

    What I got was still plenty for what I need. And a baggie of buttons. Cutting into a couple of them was almost painful - they were as nice, or nicer, than some of the ones DH wears to work! A quick jab with the scissors and the dye was cast.

    Next I will have to look in women's for reds/purples/blues...

    After washing & Drying
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    Really? Somebody wore this? Looks like bad upholstery fabric.
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    Before
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  25. #25
    Senior Member irquilter's Avatar
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    I have felted many men's Jackets from thrift stores. As soon as I bring them in the door I wash them in the hottest water my machine has with the normal amount of detergent on the longest agitation (this will not work well in a front loader because there is no agitator) I then toss them in the drier until they are bone dry, this produces a lot of lint so I check my lint trap often to clear it. I then cut off the buttons, cut away the lining and padding, cut out the sleeves, and cut down that sleeve underarm seam. I then cut off the collar and in my case discard it, Now I have a vest like piece which I open at the shoulder seams. Now all pieces are flat and I can fold and store according to color :o)

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