Fabric Sources

A place for pics and tutorials on making Soft Kit (clothing and accessories like buckles and cloak pins).

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kleenur
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Fabric Sources

Postby kleenur » Sat Dec 16, 2017 6:52 pm

Hi All, I am beginning o get my kit together, and am going to try making as much of it as possible. When I've done research in the past I've had difficulty sourcing heavy wool, and heavy canvas. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Taurinor
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Taurinor » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:18 pm

For wool, one of your best bets is probably Wm. Booth, Draper, but Burnley and Trowbridge Co. and Period Fabric also carry some wools of varying weights (as a heads-up, Period Fabric has a 3 yard minimum).

As for canvas, are you looking for linen or cotton canvas? Linen would be more text accurate, and the first place I always go for linen is fabrics-store.com, but the websites I listed for wool also carry some linen. Cotton canvas can usually be found at fabric stores like Joann's, but I like to use cotton canvas dropcloths from the hardware store.
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Elleth
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Elleth » Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:55 pm

Ha! I was just about to recommend the same two places. I know others here have their own favorites, but those are where I always look first.
Both have been a little shy on wool worsteds lately, so I've also been looking on etsy of all places. There's some suppliers out of eastern Europe with great wools and linens on there, and sometimes you'll find a hand-dyer with exactly the right shade you're looking for.

Also - Caedmon has some great sewing articles in the MERS newsletter if you want to go whole hog and hand-stitch them. Anther great site is Rosalie's Medieval Woman. Granted her focus is women's garments, but the actual hand-sewing techniques are the same for men's clothes, and her tutorials are great!
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Iodo » Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:26 pm

Decent fabric is hard to get hold of, but much harder in the UK. Most my stuff comes from lucky finds in market stalls and thrift stores. My cloak , and a few other things, are made from a cheap wool blend army surplus blanket, that seemed to work quite well. Cheep table cloths seem to be a good source of linen
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kleenur
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby kleenur » Sun Dec 17, 2017 12:15 am

Thanks for the info guys! This is really helpful!
"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."


-J.R.R Tolkien
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Greg
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Greg » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:10 pm

I'll second the Booth Draper reference...their broadcloths are fantastic. I'll warn you, though...if you start down the road of authentic fabrics and start really appreciating "the real thing"...your pocketbook may never forgive you. Prices only go up from here...it's a labor of love and comfort!
Now the sword shall come from under the cloak.
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kleenur
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby kleenur » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:26 am

This is going to sound really, really foolish, but is broadcloth the really thick comfy stuff they make coats out of? If so, are there different thicknesses? How do I figure out how thick something is? I am reasonably confident with leather, am rapidly gaining skill with metal, and am completely comfortable with wood, but textiles confound me.
"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."


-J.R.R Tolkien
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Greg
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Greg » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:22 am

*cracks knuckles*

I know EXACTLY what you mean. I was there VERY recently. There are guides out there that describe in detail various wools, and I found that all of them did little more than confuse me. I'm going to try to approach Wool from a Middle-earth perspective and see if that helps.

Wool fabric is made from spinning the fibers from sheep into yarn/thread and weaving it together. That by itself creates a fairly airy, open material. What we want is something that's solid so it doesn't vent heat so much.

To get that to happen, Wool can be felted, which is a process involving agitation or poking with textured needles to get the fibers to work themselves together into a more singular piece. Felting can also be achieved by shrinking them together with hot water, but this reduces the size. It can be desirable to shrink the material, making it more dense and, as a result, a better insulator. This process with hot water is also referred to as boiled wool, which is a historical term and process.

There are other processes, such as fulling, napping, etc. that make other texture-based changes to Wool, but felting in its various forms is the generally sought-after feature found in functional Wool.

My preferences run thus:

Melton is a heavier wool fabric I consider suitable for cloaks, etc.

Boiled wool is a denser fabric I generally prefer for wool outergarments, such as cotes.

Broadcloth is a finer, more flowy fabric that runs a little thinner than the previous two, which I prefer for making gloves, surcotes, and other items that require flexibility or flow for things like finger dexterity, undergarments, etc.

For a ridiculous list of all the fabrics you're likely to run into (and many more you won't), give this a read:
http://info.fabrics.net/fabric-facts/gl ... nd-weaves/

As for figuring thicknesses...wool is measured in ozs. Just like leather...but it can take a bit to get familiar with what so-many ounces will feel like in person. The solution? Order swatches. I did for quite a few, and got a good understanding of what the terms meant before I started ordering.
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Taurinor
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Taurinor » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:41 pm

For some bonus fiber-geek words, the flowy, flexible characteristic of broadcloth is its drape. Drape is what is sounds like - if you throw the fabric over a chair, would it fold and hang over the back and arms, or would it be sort of stiff and angular?

So, to rephrase what Greg said in fiber-geek lingo, broadcloth has a nicer drape than melton and boiled wool.

You may also see a fabric's hand mentioned, which is just how the cloth feels against skin - "slick", "smooth", "soft", etc. Hand is subjective, but the words used can give you an idea of what the cloth feels like.

But yes, order some swatches and get some fabric in your hands! The brick and mortar chain stores are running away from the sort of stuff we use as fast as they can, unfortunately, so online is becoming the only way to go. Something else that might help you would be to go to the outerwear section of a thrift store, feel things, and look at fiber content labels. You might even find something to take apart and repurpose, but you'll at least start to develop your fiber fingers :mrgreen:
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Udwin
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Re: Fabric Sources

Postby Udwin » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:04 pm

Taurinor wrote:Something else that might help you would be to go to the outerwear section of a thrift store, feel things, and look at fiber content labels. You might even find something to take apart and repurpose, but you'll at least start to develop your fiber fingers :mrgreen:

Keep at it long enough, and you can develop your fiber Eyes, too!--so you don't have to check the label on a garment but can tell what it's made from just by looking. Makes for more efficient thrifting! With practice, the linen and wool will Jump right off the rack!
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