The quality can generally be determined by the diameter of individual wool fibres that make up the fabric, which is measured in microns. Wool fibres finer than 25-30 microns are typically used for garments, whereas thicker/coarser are for things such as outerwear, blankets or rugs. Being softer and trickier to manufacture, finer wool grades are usually more expensive compared to coarser wool fibres. Here are some tips to assess wool:
Knitting should be consistent and there should not be any knots, loose strands, holes or gaps between the individual threads of the fabric. If broken fibres are visible on a new fabric, chances are they would only multiply with regular wear.
Wool fabric should be elastic. It should bounce back immediately when you pull it and not stay stretched out.
Fabric made from fine wool fibres will be softer than the thicker fibres. Depending on the item you are looking for however, you may prefer sturdier and coarsier wool fabric.
Always test how the fabric feels like on sensitive places to ensure you like it.
NOTE that some wool fabrics are softer than others.
Here are some notes on properties of high-quality denim fabrics:
The quality of denim is dependent mainly on the quality of cotton used to create it and how it was woven - the stitching on the fabric is also essential.
Denim made from high-quality cotton feels soft and even a little moist.
Denim should never feel thin and flimsy or so stiff and heavy that you can’t move but anything in between is fine and a matter of personal choice.
If you prefer a thinner fabric, make sure the yarns are tightly woven and the fabric feels strong and dense, so it won’t tear easily.
Denim is a very heavy fabric, hence strong seams that won’t split or unravel under stress are super important.
Try stretching the denim piece at different places along the seams. If the threads pull apart: not so good. Then, check the stitching. High-quality denim manufacturers will usually use either double-stitching (two rows of stitching next to each other) or chain-stitching (looped stitches that look like links of chain) - As long as the thread is very thick, a single row of stitches is also ok, but make sure you do the stretching test just in case.
To be continued (part iii)