The main advantage of a wool waistcoat is that it gives you extra warmth.
Let’s consider of the properties of wool. Wool fibres consist of an inner core that has protein, which is covered by overlapping scales. The protein core can absorb up to 30% of its weight in moisture without becoming damp or clammy.
Wool also contains lanolin which is a naturally water-repellent grease. Wool on the sheep protects the animal from the cold and wet by repelling rain and water. The crimp of the wool traps insulating air pockets within the fleece. The air near the skin is kept dry by the core protein absorbing moisture from this trapped air, and transferring it towards the outside of the fleece.
The strength and elasticity of the fibres allow movement of the fleece without breaking the fibres or losing the air spaces.
Because of the temperature gradient between the warm skin and the colder air outside of the wool garment, the moisture from perspiration moves towards the outer surface of the wool, and there evaporates into the surrounding air.
Wool is a fabric that provides long wear. It breathes and does not wear as quickly as other fabrics, mostly due to its thickness.
A Natural Fabric.
Wool, of course, is a natural insulator provided by mainly by sheep ( and sometimes other animals ). The wool produced isn’t the same from all sheep. Sheep live in a wide variety of climates , and develop their wool to suit the environment they live in. Further, sheep have been domesticated for centuries, and domestic sheep have been bred selectively to produce further variety in their wool.
No Nasty Shocks
Wool has a low tendency to store static electricity and so reduces electrostatic shocks, clinging of garments, and attraction of link and dust.
Woollen Colour fast
Reactive proteins in wool take dye effective, and hold the colour well. The scales on the fibres diffuse light to yield softer colours. For example, we make waistcoats in wheat, brown earth and hunters green. With a woven cloth it is easier to mix difference colours.
Wool is fire-resistant, and will not support a flame. It does not melt when heated and this is a helpful safety factor in reducing burns from fires.
Wool has great memory and will return to its original shape when it has been stretched or folded. If creased it recovers easily.
Previously thought of as a coarse or heavy fabric, modern wool is now lightweight and able to be worn in a variety of ways. The fibres are of a high quality and a thin enough to avoid the ‘itch’ sometimes there in woollen garments. Our waistcoats are fully lined so this is not a problem anyway.
Explorers such as Edmund Hillary, Roald Amundsen and Ernest Shackleton worn layers of wool clothing to protect them from harsh conditions of their adventures.
How is wool woven?
Welsh wool is first wound on to cones of yarn arranged in the creel according to the pattern of the cloth. The yarn threads are wound in sections on to warping mill to form the warp. The warp is transferred from the warping mill to the beam, at the back of the loom. More threads are then tied to extend existing threads. Yarn is wound into cops, which are put into the shuttle to make the weft. The shuttle carrying the weft passes through the shed in the warp.
Return to Fashion
The above advantages explains why wool is returning to high-end fashion and being used by top designers such as Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen and the best Savile Row tailors.