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Sewciety Fabric Blog

What is Cashmere Fabric? A brief introduction

by Tom Hutchison 29 Sep 2023 0 commentaires

What is Cashmere Fabric? 

Cashmere wool, known by many for its exceptional softness, warmth and lightness, is a natural fibre sourced from the soft undercoat of cashmere goats. 

Carefully collected from cashmere goats in the springtime (just after winter when it's at its thickest and softest), and then undergo a rigorous cleaning, de-hairing, carding, dying and spinning process forming the dreamy material we all know and love. 

As it contains no lanolin, cashmere is hypoallergenic and is ideal for anyone with irritable or sensitive skin issues.

What is Cashmere used for? 

Pure cashmere is a highly sought-after versatile fabric used for anything needing a soft and luxurious feel.

What can I make with cashmere fabric?

Cashmere can be used for a variety of high-end clothing and accessories suitable all year round. These include

  • Jumpers
  • Scarfs
  • Sweaters
  • Socks
  • Cardigans
  • Gloves
  • Coats
  • Hoodies
  • Hats
  • Baby Clothing

What does Cashmere feel like?

To put it simply, cashmere feels incredibly soft, lightweight and luxurious to touch - with a smooth, fine texture that feels feathery against the skin. 

With exceptional warmth and breathability, cashmere will keep you feeling cosy in cold weather. 

Advantages of Cashmere

The pros and cons of cashmere will, of course, depend on how it's been manufactured - non-pure cashmere, also known as "cashmere blend", will not share the same properties as 100% pure cashmere. For example, a cashmere blend may contain a non-hypoallergenic material. 

X

Exceptionally soft

Typically more expensive

Excellent warmth-to-weight ratio

Delicate material

Breathable and comfortable

Colour can fade

Durable and long-lasting

Shrinkage if not well-handled

Luxurious and stylish

Chemical sensitive

Naturally insulating

 

Hypoallergenic (for many people)

 

Lightweight

 

Drape and flow

 

 

What are the different types of cashmere?

There are typically three types of cashmere; Grade A, Grade B and Grade C, each with varying levels of softness and thickness. 

Grade A Cashmere: This is the finest grade of cashmere used for the most luxurious clothing. Grade A is incredibly soft, with as low as 14 microns. 

Grade B Cashmere: This is slightly thicker and coarser compared to grade A cashmere and tends to be around 19-21 microns in diameter. 

Grade C Cashmere: This is the coarsest and least expensive cashmere out there and tends to be around 30 microns in diameter. While it's still softer compared to most wool fabric, it does not hold up in quality compared to higher grades of cashmere. 

What is the difference between cashmere and merino wool? 

Both cashmere and Merino wool are soft and high-quality natural fibres, however, there are some notable differences between them. 

 

Cashmere

Merino

Source

Cashmere goats

Merino sheep

Fibre Diameter

Extremely fine

Slightly thicker than cashmere

Texture

Luxuriously soft

Soft but less than cashmere

Warmth

Excellent warmth and insulation

Excellent warmth and insulation

Weight

Very lightweight

Lightweight but slightly denser

Price

Typically expensive

Slightly cheaper than 

Durability

Delicate

Durable and resilient

Uses

High-end clothing - sweaters, scarves, gloves.

Blankets & Activewear requiring warmth - hiking socks, jumpers, thermals. 

Cashmere is known for its exceptional softness and luxury, making it an ideal choice for high-end clothing such as scarves, sweaters, and other accessories. In contrast, Merino wool is often used for durable activewear and outerwear like hiking socks and warm blankets due to its versatility and durability.

How to tell if cashmere is 100% pure?

To know if your cashmere is 100% pure or just a blend, ask yourself the following questions:

1. Does it cost a lot less compared to other cashmere fabrics?

The first indicator, which may seem obvious, is the price. More often than not, pure cashmere will cost a lot more than blended cashmere. If you find it a lot cheaper compared to everywhere else, it's likely not going to be 100% pure. 

Of course, you shouldn't base your knowledge purely on the price point alone.

2. Does it feel soft and velvety? 

Pure cashmere has a distinct softness compared to blended cashmere, feeling incredibly smooth and velvety against the skin. If it feels coarse, it is likely a mixed blend of cashmere containing other fibres. 

3. Have you had a close inspection? 

Closely examine the fabric looking for small, dark clumps of hairs. If you find them, it will be a mixed blend of cashmere. 

4. How elastic is it? 

Pure cashmere has excellent elasticity and should stretch and recover well. If the fabric does not bounce back when stretched, it will likely be a blend. 

5. What does it smell like when burned?

Now this way might seem out of the box, but when burned, pure cashmere smells like burning hair, produces grey ash and leaves no hard synthetic residue behind. Of course, you wouldn't want to do this with a nice new jumper, but if you're planning to make clothing, cut a small piece of fabric off and test it.  

This should always be done with caution.

Is cashmere fabric eco-friendly?

Cashmere is a biodegradable and renewable resource, making it an eco-friendly option, however, there may be some ethical concerns depending on how the material has been sourced. 

Where is cashmere wool from? 

The origins of cashmere come from the Kashmir region of India, but in the modern day, it is produced all across the world in countries including Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Iran.

FAQs

Is mixed cashmere good? 

Mixed cashmere, also known as blended cashmere, is a combination of cashmere and another fabric. Whilst this is not as soft or 100% pure, there are a few good reasons to use mixed cashmere:

  • If you're looking for a durable option - using more robust fabrics it will be less prone to pilling, stretching and wear & tear.
  • If you're looking for a more affordable option - as it uses less cashmere, you'll naturally save money. 
  • If you're looking for a less delicate fabric - whilst it will be less soft, it'll also be more forgiving when washing it. 

What are the most common blends of mixed cashmere?

Some of the most common blends are wool, silk and cotton.

  • Cashmere-Wool Blend: Combining the softness and luxury of cashmere with the durability and structure of wool. Used for sweaters, scarves and coats.
  • Cashmere-Silk Blend: Combining the warmth and comfort of cashmere with the lustrous sheen finish of silk. Used for high-end shawls, wraps, and eveningwear.
  • Cashmere-Cotton Blend: A lightweight and breathable fabric blend ideal for spring and summer garments. While not as soft as pure cashmere, it offers a nice balance between comfort and breathability.

 

 

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