This section is from the book "Clothing And Health. An Elementary Textbook Of Home Making", by Helen Kinne. Also available from Amazon: Clothing And Health.
There are many materials made from wool. Let us learn to-day about those which are used most commonly.
Perhaps some one in the class will sort the pieces in the surprise box. Mollie Stark sorted those at Pleasant Valley School. Do not sort according to color, but place them in three piles. We have the thick, close materials, which are heavy and firm. Then we have the thin, sheer ones. In the third pile, place the medium weight ones which look strong and are wiry but not so closely woven and firm as those in the first pile. Shall we learn about some of each kind ?
Let us see what we have in the third pile of wiry, more loosely woven materials. First we have the serges. Here are several pieces. Some are fine with the twilled weave, and others are twilled but the weave is coarser. They are very serviceable and are suitable for bloomers, or for dress fabrics. Here is a sample of a plaid serge. Marjorie Allen had such a dress last winter. It is possible to buy plain colors too. Serges are woven quite wide, from 42 to 54 inches, and cost from 75 cents to $3 per yard. Cheviots are very similar to serges in price and width, but are somewhat heavier in appearance. The surface of some is rather rougher than serge, although there are smooth cheviots too. Have some samples of serges been sent from the store? You must examine these, too, to see if you will select one for your bloomers.
This coarse one in the same pile is a homespun, and this is a tweed. They are both rough, wiry, loosely woven, and made of rather coarse yarn. They are rather open in texture and were both in olden times spun and woven by hand, but are now made by machinery. Tweed gets its name from a place in Scotland. These materials are very serviceable, especially for rough wear for suitings, coats, or dress goods. The color or pattern is not always clearly defined, because the yarn of which it is woven is mixed in color. Homespuns are somewhat cheaper than tweeds. They cost from $i to $3 per yard, and are woven from 42 to 50 inches wide. Tweeds are a little wider, 52 to 54 inches, and cost from $2 to $4 per yard.
There are four samples in this pile, not quite so heavy. They are cashmere, challie, albatross, and henrietta. Have you ever heard these names before? They are all common wool materials. They are often used for girls' school dresses, for wrappers, and for baby wear. They are all softer than serges. Cashmere and henrietta resemble each other. They both have a twilled weave. Henrietta was originally woven with a silk warp. One can buy silk warp henrietta to-day. Grandmother Stark has one. Is there a sample in your box? Cashmere is also soft, and the finer qualities are made from hair of the cashmere goat. Cashmere is woven 36 to 45 inches in width and can be bought for from 75 cents to $1.25 per yard. Henrietta is about the same width and price, except when it has silk warp. Then it is more expensive.
Challie and albatross are about the same weight. I am sure you have all had a pretty challie dress sometime. Challies are figured; sometimes the pattern is woven in and sometimes printed. It is made sometimes of a mixture of cotton and wool, or silk and wool; but now challies can be bought in all cotton too as well as in all wool. They come about 30 inches wide and cost from 50 to 75 cents per yard.
Albatross is also soft and a fancy weave. It too is used for dress goods and costs about the same as challie, 50 cents to $1 per yard. It is woven from 38 to 45 inches in width.
Let us now examine some of the heavy ones in the first pile. Yes, every one knows the name of the heavy fine piece. It is broadcloth and is used for coats and dress goods. There are also some lighter weights of broadcloth with a smooth satiny finish. They are called lady's cloth. A very good broadcloth is expensive, and costs about $5 per yard. One can buy it for $1.50, but as a rule it is not very satisfactory under $2 per yard. Broadcloth is closely woven, smooth, and soft in finish. It is from 50 to 58 inches in width. Has any one at your house a dress or coat made from this?
Examine it and ask how durable it has been. Father's winter overcoat was perhaps made of melton, or covert cloth. Mr. Allen had such a coat last year. Examine the samples. They are both heavy. Melton is about the same width as broadcloth, 52 inches, and costs also from $2 to $4 per yard for a good quality. It is used for suits, overcoats, and heavy garments. This is a standard material and is usually dark blue or black. Uniforms are often made from it.
Covert cloth is, also, used for overcoats and suits. It is heavy, but differs from the smooth surface of broadcloth. It is a heavy twilled cloth.
Felt and flannel are both in this heavy pile, although there are some lightweight flannels. Felt is not woven, but is compressed, so that the wool fibers are matted together in a flat mass. It is made 24 to 50 inches in width and costs from 80 cents to $1.50 per yard. I am sure you all know its use. School pennants are made from it, and so are some table covers. Flannel is woven. It is finished with a soft surface which is slightly napped. What does that mean? It is a rather loosely woven fabric, and is used for many purposes. Can you tell some? Yes, petticoats, baby garments, waists, dressing sacques, shirts for men. It costs from 50 cents to $1 per yard. Sometimes it is made of a combination of cotton and wool, instead of all wool. It varies in width from 27 to 36 inches.
Let us examine some of the thin samples. Here is one which it is almost possible to see through. It is called voile and is thin and gauzy, like veiling. This sample near is called nun's veiling. It, also, has an open mesh weave, and is a common wool material.
They are both used for dress goods, and are made in solid colors. There are also some printed voiles, but they are usually made of cotton. Wool voile costs from $1.25 to $2 per yard and is woven from 42 to 45 inches wide ; while nun's veiling is narrower, 36 inches wide, and slightly less expensive, from 75 cents to $1 per yard.
Here are some samples called etamine and grenadine. They are similar to the voiles, of open mesh weave, and are used principally for dress goods.
Bunting is another open mesh weave. We certainly all know its use. Look at the flag flying on your school-house. Bunting is about 24 inches in width and costs about 35 cents per yard. It is sometimes made from mohair.
Here are three samples: one called brilliantine; and another, alpaca; the third, mohair. The brilliantine and mohair do not feel as soft as the wool serges or cashmeres, but rather more wiry. They are made from hair of the Angora goat. They are serviceable, for they both shed dust and wear well. They are used for dresses or dust coats. The Alpaca is made from the hair of the llama, which is bright, strong, and elastic. All of these materials are bright and glossy. Here are their prices and woven widths:
Alpaca . . . 36-45 inches Brilliantine . . 54 inches
Mohair . . . 40-54 inches
75 cents-$1 per yard 75 cents-$2 per yard 50 cents-$2 per yard
There are still some common wool materials we have not mentioned. Yes, blankets. They are made of cotton as well as of wool, or of a mixture of the two. They cost from $7 to $30 per pair if all wool. The combination of cotton and wool can be had for less.
Carpets are also made from wool yarn. They are woven so that the yarn stands up in loops, and then these loops are cut as in velvet carpet. In Brussels and ingrain carpets the loops are not cut.
Suppose you plan to arrange your sample books with three columns of materials made from wool. You may have four or five columns if you prefer to put the mohairs, alpacas, and brilliantines by themselves, and the blankets and carpets in a separate column. That is the way the Pleasant Valley girls arranged theirs. The first will be the heavy materials; then the medium weight, and then the thin ones. It is easy to sort and label them now that you know their names, uses, and widths. Before very long we shall learn the story of how the wool fiber is made into so many different kinds of cloth. It is treated by different processes in manufacture in order to get a smooth close finish or a loose wiry finish. We shall learn how.
1. Tell the difference between felt and flannel.
2. Name some heavy wool materials; some of lighter weight. Tell where you have seen them used.
3. Look up the story of how carpets are made. Perhaps you would like to study about rugs, too.
4. How do serges and broadcloths differ in appearance ?
5. Plan to collect materials for the five columns of the chart. Mount with prices and widths.