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Favorite Fabric Fridays

  • Why is Wool Warmer than Other Fabrics

    Why Is Wool Warmer?

     New York City Winter Street Style

    When fighting against the cold winter weather of places like Chicago, Detroit, and of course New York City, staying warm at all times is a must. So what do we do? We go out and buy thick and heavy coats, scarfs, hats and socks; every essential garment needed to survive the brutal cold. But one may ask what is the number one go to protector? WOOL!  But why wool? Why are we naturally drawn to wool? Why is wool warmer?

    For centuries it has been instilled in our subconscious that wool is warm, but why is this particular fiber warmer than others?

    merino-sheep

    Wool is a textile fiber deriving from primarily sheep. However, it can also come from other animals; cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, and angora from rabbits.

    angora rabbit

     Woolly sheep were introduced into Europe from the Near east in the early part of the forth millennium BC. The oldest known European wool textile, ca. 1500 BC, was preserved in a Danish bog. During those ancient times, selective breeding took place and the result were sheep with superior fleeces which required special care. Great to understand where this fabulous wool that we love and appreciate so much comes from, but it still haven't answered the million dollar question, why is wool warmer? Wool has several qualities and characteristics that distinguish it: it is crimped, it is elastic, and it grows in staples.

    crimp wool

    Because of the crimp, wool fabrics have greater bulk than most other textiles and they hold air which causes the fabric to retain heat. When you spin wool fibers into yarn, you get a lofty, resilient yarn that wants to trap films of air and keep it from moving from your skin.

    spun woolWool retains heat, and traps air like instillation for a house, for example; a fabric that's brushed to bring up a nap, like flannel, will keep more still air against your skin than one that is not napped, like muslin. Makes so much sense why punk/street wear enthusiast love wearing flannels during the fall. It's not because of Kurt Cobain like most of us thought, but because it's really warm.  3e927ffe62f7778594de4295d8b428da

    Warmth from a wool also depends on the construction of the yarns. A closely woven fabric of a "cool fiber" can be warmer than a not so closely woven fabric of a "warmer fiber". A textured weave may be more retentive than a plain weave. moodfabrics.comLike a wool crepe may retain more heat than a looser plain weave wool. For the most part, wool garments are constructed with two basic weaves: the plain weave and the twill.

    Moodfabrics.com

    Woolen yarns are made into fabric using a plain weave which produces a fabric that is somewhat looser in construction and a soft on the surface. Worsted yarns can create fine fabrics with exquisite patterns using a twill weave. The result is a more tightly woven, smooth fabric. Better constructed, worsteds are more durable than woolens and therefore more costly. After weaving, both worsteds and woolens undergo a series of finishing procedures including fully immersing the fabric in water to make the fibers interlock which in turn retains more warm air.

    moodfabrics.com

    So when battling the frigid, cold, brisk weather of the winter seasons, bundle up in wool and keeping warm won't be an issue. Use a wool challis as a base layer; it is light weight and it will help with moisture management unlike cotton which stay wet and might actually steal heat from your body.moodfabrics.com

     On top of the wool challis base layer, top it off with a beautiful wool boucle which is looser, fine, but still holds the same characteristics as any other wool which is to hold in the nice warm air. Moodfabrics.com

    Finally, the supreme protector from the viscous cold would be a wool tweed coating which is basically rough and unfinished. moodfabrics.com

     Tweed is a woolen material woven in intricate ways to create plain, twill, herringbone and check patterns. Tightly woven twill characteristics also plays a major part in the warmth of the wool.

    Moodfabrics.com

    All in all remember what we learned at Mood; when it comes to the number one question, "why is wool warmer", it is because wool flannels are way cooler than cotton flannels! Which is true in some cases, but the real reason is that wool holds more warm air and releases moisture better than any other fiber available.

  • Favorite Fabric Friday: Ann

    Welcome to “Favorite Fabric Friday,” where we introduce you to a Mood Fabrics salesperson in our NYC store and share his or her favorite fabrics of the week. This week we're visiting with Ann Morin of the NYC store's silk department. Ann is one of my favorite people to go to when I'm looking for a dazzling print or a cool new fabric because she has a great eye. Let's take a look at her fabric picks for the week:

    Here's Ann with a beautiful coppery metallic brocade in a poly blend (60" wide, $50/yd). You can see that either side is stunning. Ann says she'd make a sixties-style bolero, using the contrast tissue solid lamé on the left (45", $7/yd) for the welt pockets, piping and Hong Kong seams. Readers, this lightweight brocade is a knockout and I may have to nab some for myself.

    Of course Ann gravitated toward the new Valentino silk panel that just came into the store on Wednesday—it's spectacular! She'd make it into a strapless summer dress. $70 per yard and each panel takes approximately 1.5 yards.

    Ann is just the best at finding to-die-for silk prints. Here she's pulled three Oscar de la Renta silks. The green/blue/white/black print on the left is a drapey 4-ply silk (45" wide, $25/yd); center, another colorway of the first fabric but in magenta silk twill (45" wide, $18/yd); and the one on the right is a red crepe de chine (45" wide, $14/yd). Can't make it to our NYC store? Shop Mood Fabrics online. Our silk prints are currently on sale through Saturday 5/19, 11:59pm ET. More about Ann:
    • A member of the Mood team for just under a year
    • Has a BA in costume design from San Francisco State
    • True passion is millinery and is getting her millinery certificate from FIT. Her goal is to move to London and get her masters in millinery from the Royal College of Art or the London College of Fashion
    • Finds loads of inspiration in all the fabrics at Mood
    • Loves it when customers show her photos of their finished creations. "It's so cool when their projects turn out well and I played a part in that," Ann says

    • • • • • •

    Phew, it's been a busy week here at Mood! We got all that great new fabric in (blogged about it yesterday), we're organizing focus groups, and more than 100 members of PatternReview will be in the NYC store today and Saturday. Love the excitement! But I was so busy I forgot to think about what to sew this weekend. What are you working on? I need some ideas for what to sew next and  you can definitely inspire me. —Meg at Mood
  • Favorite Fabric Friday: Eric

    Welcome to “Favorite Fabric Friday,” where we introduce you to a Mood Fabrics salesperson in our NYC store and share his or her favorite fabrics of the week. Meet Eric Perryman of Mood NYC's wool department. He knows fabric and he knows apparel design, so make a beeline for him the next time you're in the store. Here are Eric's favorite fabrics of the week:

    Above, Eric with some of our beautiful glazed linens. These shimmer in the light and have almost a metallic sheen. Eric likes them for summertime special occasion dresses, including prom dresses and bridesmaid gowns. Shown here in maize, lilac and moss; each 54" wide, $18/yard.

    Missoni-style knits are still in demand, reports Eric. He envisions using these poly knits to create draped dresses and tops in the style of designer Issey Miyake. 54" wide, $18/yard.

    Now normally I don't get overly excited about rayon jerseys, but when I touched this red jersey above I practically gasped. Trust Eric to find the most scrumptious rayon/viscose jersey around. Eric says he'd turn this red jersey into a Halston-style dress with thin rhinestone straps crisscrossing in the back. (I'd make a dress like this one by C&T Costello Tagliapietra, personally.) The yellow and green jerseys are equally cool. Each 54" wide, $14/yard.

    Above, Eric with an incredible dress he designed and sewed from our linen. Love it!

    More about Eric:
    • With Mood for more than five years
    • Studied fashion design at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago
    • Likes to design pieces that can be worn by a man or a woman, and look equally good on both
    • Knits are his favorite fabric to sew, and he loves to drape (note to self: Get Eric to teach me about draping); he's big into dyeing fabrics as well
    • Favorite part about working at Mood is assisting customers with realizing their ideas. "I was lucky enough to have teachers who helped and mentored me, so I like to do the same with my customers," says Eric.
    Hope you enjoyed getting to know a little more about Eric and will visit him soon on our upper floor in the NYC store. I'll profile another NYC store employee again next week, so be on the lookout.

    • • • • • • • •

    Mother's Day is this Sunday! Here's my idea of a perfect Mother's Day present: The kids and husband do the laundry and other chores I typically put off until Sunday, leaving me a few hours of uninterrupted sewing time. Priceless! Enjoy your weekend and I hope you get lots of sewing time in too.
  • Favorite Fabric Friday: Danyce

    Welcome to “Favorite Fabric Friday,” where we introduce you to a Mood Fabrics salesperson in our NYC store and share his or her favorite fabrics of the week. Meet Danyce Bonebrake, manager of our home department. She's a design pro who proudly admits she's "obsessed with fabric." Here are the home decor fabrics in our NYC store that Danyce is in love with right now:

    Above: These folk art-inspired fabrics are flying off the bolts, says Danyce. She attributes their popularity to the bright colors and fresh look. In fact, she likes the fabric she's holding so much she just made living room curtains out of them. Cotton, $30/yard, comes in four different colorways.

    Above: Flamestitch designs like this Williamsburg vintage print are also hot, Danyce reports. She sees this fabric as a multipurpose fabric, perfect for light upholstery and things like headboards. Comes in blue, red, green and pebble; linen; $30/yard.

    Above: Neutrals are always popular, and we just restocked these fabulous metallic linens in natural and ivory. Window treatments, bedding and accent pieces are perfect for this fabric, says Danyce. Linen, $35/yard. About Danyce:
    • With Mood for three years.
    • Has an interior design degree from Parsons
    • Worked for commercial and residential design firms and has done retail display work. Soft goods is her area of expertise
    • At Mood, regularly assists TV show set designers. TV shows that use our home fabric include Gossip Girl, Ringer, HGTV Design Star, Boardwalk Empire, Blue Bloods, and Mom Caves.
    • Has a roster of skilled craftspeople who can upholster and sew slipcovers, pillows, window treatments and more
    • "It never gets boring working here," she says. "Every person who comes in has something unique and different they want to do." Danyce loves it when her customers send her photos of what they've done with their Mood purchases.
    Hope you enjoyed getting to know Danyce. Check back again next week for new posts on the Mood Sewciety blog. And we'd love it if you'd add us to your blogrolls so more people can find out that we're now blogging regularly and talking about our favorite subject—fabric!
  • Favorite Fabric Friday: Michael

    Welcome to  “Favorite Fabric Friday,” where we introduce you to a Mood Fabrics salesperson in our NYC store and share his or her favorite fabrics of the week. Meet Michael Wayne of our cotton and knits department. He's one of Mood's newer employees but he's already developed a loyal customer base. Below are Michael's favorite fabrics in the cotton area right now:

    Michael thinks silk jersey is perfect for summer maxi dresses or skirts because of the way it drapes and moves so gracefully. The lime green silk jersey print that he is holding actually has more of a soft, watercolor appearance in person—it's really lovely (54 inches wide, $30/yd). The coral and light green silk jerseys are equally appealing, and would sew up into on-trend tops and dresses (each 50 inches wide, $25/yd).

    For coverups, tunics, and even lined circle skirts, Michael suggests cotton voiles. This voile print Michael chose looks perfect for a summer day with its soft pinks, peaches and greens. 52 inches wide and $12/yd.

    Last, Michael gravitated toward this lightweight cotton plaid we just got in the store. It's doublefaced! One side is a large print in gray, red, aqua and yellow with shots of metallic silver threads running through it; the other side is a large gray check. Michael envisions a cool shirtdress or shorts from this nifty fabric, with the plain check side used as an accent fabric. 54" wide and a steal at $14/yd. Can't make it to the NYC or LA stores? Here are some similar options online:
    Paisley cotton voile, $10/yd
    Silk jersey print in gray, blue, yellow and white, $25/yd
    Marc Jacobs cotton plaid shirting, $10
    About Michael:
    • A graduate of  International Academy of Design & Technology in Tampa, where he grew up.
    • When he's not at Mood, he's designing women's wear and is working on a new collection right now. "Downtown girl" is the vibe Michael wants his work to express.
    • Favorite designers are Alexander Wang, Proenza Schouler, Balmain, Lanvin and Balenciaga.
    • Plays the piano and sings in rock bands
    • Likes the "great family feeling" that comes with working at Mood. Favorite customers to assist are fashion students working on their collections.
    Hope you enjoyed getting to know Michael. Tell him you read about him here the next time you’re in the store. Stop by again next week for another Favorite Fabric Friday and enjoy your sewing this weekend!
  • Favorite Fabric Friday: Todd

    Welcome to the second edition of "Favorite Fabric Friday," where we introduce you to a Mood Fabrics salesperson in our NYC store and share his or her favorite fabrics of the week. Meet Todd Kelly: He has worked for Mood for nine years, and you've probably been helped by him when you're in our wool department on the fourth floor. Todd knows his stuff! Here are his picks for spring and summer fabrics from his floor to sew right now:

    Above: Here's Todd with some jerseys that would make pretty maxi dresses. From left, a super-soft rayon striped jersey in orange and pink, two rayon jersey prints, and a poly/spandex jersey  that can also be used for swimwear. And they're all only $14 a yard!

    Above: You can't go wrong with cool linen on a warm day. Todd has lots of linen in all colors, perfect for indulging your colorblocking whims. And these too are only $14 a yard! From left, coral linen in a medium weight, 56" wide, nice for dresses and tops; a yellow linen in a heavier weight with a crisp hand and drape, perfect for a spring jacket or skirt, 56" wide; and a heavier-weight linen in royal blue with a soft hand and drape, 56" wide.

    Can't make it to our NYC or LA stores? Here are some picks for linens and jerseys from Mood Fabrics online:
    Medium-weight soft aqua linen, $10/yd.
    Lightweight pale pink linen with a crisp hand, $10/yd.
    Magenta tie-dye cotton jersey, $10/yd
    Purple and aqua rayon jersey, $14/yd.
    Get to know Todd:
    • He went to FIT and has tons of retail experience.
    • His favorite part of working at Mood is helping people work on their personal projects. "I like to show people beautiful fabrics and help them realize their visions," he says.
    • He says working at Mood is a very "interactive job." "I spend all day answering questions and talking about fabric," explains Todd. "My customers like to work with someone who is as passionate about fabric as they are."
    • He doesn't sew himself but he does like to have pants and sometimes shirts custom-made for him, from fabric he gets at Mood, of course.
    Hope you enjoyed getting to know Todd. Tell him you read about him here the next time you're in the store. Stop by again next week for another Favorite Fabric Friday and enjoy your sewing this weekend!