Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fabric of the week: Melton

If you have ever felt a vintage wool coat and sighed with bliss, there is a pretty good chance it was made of melton. This fabric has a surface that has been finished to give it a felt-like, weather-resistant nap, and in the finest wool it makes a velvety soft coat.

This definition is from the new VFG Fabric Resource, which is filled with many fabrics that will make you sigh with bliss, or so I hope. All the linked words will take you to definitions in the resource, in case you aren’t familiar with the terms.

Melton looks much like thick felt with its twill weave or plain weave obscured by fulling and shearing of its nap (although the back of the fabric may show its weave). The dense, thick construction makes it wind and rain resistant and extremely warm. It is almost always dyed a solid color.

The best melton is all wool and almost velvety. Less costly variations can have a cotton warp and woolen weft, and sometimes manufactured fibers are also used. Melton takes its name from Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK, where it was first woven and used to make jackets for fox hunting.

Uses: Winter coats, uniforms, riding habits

See also:
 ©Vintage Fashion Guild - Text by Margaret Wilds/denisebrain,  photo by Hoyt Carter
This 1940s black coat from my web store is made of a blissfully fine wool melton. As with the best of this fabric, it has a velvety feel.

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