Since the beginning B SIDES HANDMADE is known as a brand with a strong focus on precious natural fibers, especially Australian merino wool, Peruvian alpaca and selected natural blends. We work only with suppliers who protect animal welfare using wools from the sheering of sheep breeded in organic and mulesing free farms of New England, Mudgee, Yass, Geelong regions. Where the sheep flocks have been bred and selected for many years in order to obtain the finest wool in the world.
Here, we want to highlight some relevant facts regarding precious wool varieties we use and some tips to make caring for your wool apparel easy.
Merino is an entirely natural fibre grown year-round by Australia’s 70 million Merino sheep, consuming a simple blend of air, sunshine and grass.
Unlike most man-made fibres, when Merino fibre is disposed of, it naturally decomposes back into the earth in a matter of years.
Every year Australian Merino sheep produce a new fleece, making Merino wool a completely renewable fibre source.
Merino fibre has a natural crimp, which provides Merino wool garments with superior insulation and breathability. Merino garments protect the wearer from extremes of temperature, keeping the wearer warm when the outside temperature is cold, yet cool when the temperature is hot.
Merino wool stays fresher for longer as the fibre structure and moisture absorption properties reduce the tendency for build-up of body odours. Its complex structure locks the odour molecules within the fibre and releases them upon washing.
One of a kind
There are two types of Alpaca: Huacayo and Suri, which differ from each other in both their appearance and the characteristics of the fibre.
Population: 4 million
Habitat: Peru, Chile & Bolivia
Is the predominant Alpaca type. Its bulky, yet fine fleece offers the widest range of natural shades.
Population: 400 000
Habitat: Peru, Chile & Bolivia
Is the least predominant Alpaca type. It has a curly, shiny and silky fibre. Its fleece comes in a narrow range of pale, natural shades, such as white, fawns and light browns.
Alpaca fibre is prized thanks to its natural properties. The combination of unique weather conditions and low protein diet allows Alpacas to grow fine hair that is comparable to other special, high-quality fibres such as Cashmere, Angora and Mohair.
Alpaca is a silky, soft and durable fibre that has unique thermal properties due to the microscopic air pockets found in the fibre. These pockets allow the user to breathe through it on warm days and likewise trap body heat in cold weather.
Alpaca hair comes in more than 15 natural shades, which makes it an attractive alternative for top designers worldwide. The versatility of the Alpaca fibre allows it to be transformed into: Knitted and Woven Garments, Accessories, Crafts. Alpaca fibre is also elastic and non-flammable.
*More information about Merino wool on www.woolmark.com
Caring for your merino wool and alpaca sweater
Sweater made from Merino & Alpaca wool is soft, has excellent fluidity, is very comfortable to wear, has great stretch recovery properties and excellent wear performance. Of all the many types of wool available, Australian Merino & Alpaca wool are regarded as the finest.
They’re an excellent fibre for producing sweaters, as it not only offers breathability, but has natural stretch and recovery, great drape and outstanding wear performance.
However Merino & Alpaca wool is a delicate fibre and a little bit of care and attention will ensure your sweater will last for a very long time.
Hand wash in clean water, approximately 30 C, using special wool detergent. Allow to soak for a period of 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly firstly in lukewarm water, then finally in cold water. Gently press the water out of the garment, do not grate nor wring. Drain off, wrap in a towel and leave for a couple of minutes. Spread the sweater on a dry towel, away from heat sources. When placing the sweater on a towel to dry, gently knead it by hand into shape and size, and remove as many creases or folds as possible. Always flat dry sweaters if possible. After the first wash (when it’s completely dry), your sweater can stretch delicately as it’s natural fibre process. We do not recommend a frequent wash.
Dealing with problems that may occur
Sweter goes out of shape
The sweater normally reverts to its normal shape after drying. The exception, where recovery is not possible, is in the event that a sweater which is labeled “Hand wash” has inadvertently been washed in a washing machine and has severely felted i.e. formed a felt, which unfortunately is irreversible, and results in the sweater being unwearable.
Sweater develops “pills”
Plling is a natural and complex process where the friction causes the short fibres to migrate to the surface of a sweater. It’s a complex phenomenon, and depends on many factors including the action of the wearer i.e. the sweater during wear constantly comes into contact with other surfaces that tend to cause abrasion. Because pilling is so complex, nobody can guarantee that it won’t occur, but there’re numbers of ways that the chances of pilling can be minimised.
Minimising the risk of pilling
To reduce the risk of piling occurring, always turn a sweater inside out when laundering. Any migration of fibres due to abrasion during tumble drying will cause protruding fibres, which can result in pilling, to be formed on the inside rather than the outside of the sweater.
If not too many pills have been formed then they can usually be removed by hand. This should be done routinely after drying. Another advice on pills removal is a “fabric shaver / brush”, low cost and very effective device giving your sweater an “as new” appearance again.