Merino Wool Fabrics - A Tale of Price Comparisons
So, after a lot of customer requests we decided to make wool fabrics. We sourced the finest Merino wool from the great sheep farms in Vermont USA. Vermont sheep farms are very well known and the wool fiber produced is of a superior quality. They even have a sheep and wool festival in Vermont every year. Check it out here
Most people had asked for a Wool/Spandex combination fabric and some had sent us samples of what they were using. We analysed the samples but there was no trace of Spandex in any of them! Note: Wool/spandex fabrics are available in the market, just the samples that we received from customers had no spandex in them.
Surprised? So Were We!
So, we met with a wool fabric expert (there is a group of highly experienced wool fabric experts affectionately nicknamed “Woollies”) who had years of experience in knitting wool fabrics and had him look at the samples. He confirmed that none of the samples had any Spandex in them and advised us not to use Spandex in our fabric.
He explained that:
1. Wool fabric does not need Spandex for recovery - Wool fiber has an inherent curl in it that allows it to recover from stretch naturally without having to use Spandex!
2. If Spandex is used with wool it cannot be finished in tubular form because in order to set the fabric (with Spandex) it has to be heat set in a frame – for that it would have to be slit open and finished as open width.
3. You will get a better fabric by using 100% wool, and it would be an all natural fiber fabric without any synthetic material, and it could be finished in tubular form. Plus it would have the inherent recovery of wool fiber.
After seeing that the customer samples had no Spandex in them (Warning ! They were being sold as 97% Wool/3% Spandex or 95% Wool/5% Spandex per the information given by our customers that sent the samples) we decided to take the expert’s advice and make 100% Merino wool fabrics only – with NO Spandex.
And so in January 2015 we began making our first lots of Merino wool fabrics using the Merino wool yarns from Vermont farms. And after much delay because of production schedules they were delivered at our facility at the end of March 2015 – our first lots of 100% Merino Wool Jersey and Merino Wool Interlock! Made in USA from locally sourced wool fiber.
A Tale of Price Comparisons
A few days ago I was trying to compare the prices of fabrics from different sites. But it was difficult because each site had a different weight and width of the particular fabric. Fabrics are sold by the yard, so that being a common factor there are still two variables – the width and the weight. I wanted to be able to compare pricing to see where I am getting more value for the money spent.
How to find the comparison yardstick ?
After lengthy discussions, we came up with the Lowest Common Denominator as the Price Per Ounce of fabric or $/ounces. Finally I had a way to compare the prices of the fabrics using a common factor.
As an example I tried making a comparison for the Wazoodle 100% Merino Wool jersey with two other retail sites and here’s what we found:
Merino Wool Jersey Price Comparison
Then we looked for 100% Merino Wool Interlock, but we could not find it at any site. (If you know of some place that sells 100% Wool interlock please let us know). The closest we found were 97% wool/3% spandex combinations, so that’s what we used for comparison:
Merino Wool Interlock Price Comparison
This is exciting, I am going to try doing the same comparative for other fabrics too. Maybe we can design a calculator to do that easily.