*By: Christi Shingara*
Fall is here, and when it comes to your wardrobe, it’s time to break out those popular and seasonal fabrics! Suede, tweed, corduroy, flannel and velvet are the essential fabrics for fall. You will not only see these fabrics featured among most clothing brands, but also on items such as purses, shoes, and hair accessories.
As much as we may love wearing these plush and stylish fabrics, caring for them can be a little tricky. Below is a guide about each fabric and how to care for it. Remember to always read the care instructions on your garment first. The information below is general instructions.
Suede is a type of leather with a fuzzy finish and has a soft feel to it. The term comes from the French gants de Suède, which literally means “gloves from Sweden.” Since it is soft, it is less durable than standard leather.
Care Instructions: If the weather calls for rain leave your suede at home. Water will stain suede easily. If you have a repellant spray to protect your suede that should be used. Regular brushing of suede is another must. A great kit that includes the brush and spray is the GEAR AID Revivex Suede, Nubuck and Fabric Boot and Shoe Care Kit with Protector Spray.
Tweed is a closely woven wool fabric. It can be rough to the touch and is woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Tweeds are usually found in Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English clothing but has become popular commercially. It was made for harsh weather and due to its durability and being water resistant.
Care Instructions: There are different ways to care for tweed and it all depends on how the tweed is structured. Certain types of tweed need to be dry cleaned and other hand-washed. A Hume’s guide to caring for country tweeds is a great reference to help with caring for any type of tweed.
Corduroy has a unique texture of a raised cord. It looks as if it is made from multiple cords parallel to each other and then stitched together. Corduroy became popular among British country clothing and has been used in Europe since the 18th century. It is a very durable material and long lasting.
Care Instructions: Special care will help keep your corduroy looking new. It is best to turn corduroy clothing inside out before washing to lessen the matting of the pile and wrinkling of the fabric. For dark colored corduroy fabrics, use cold water. White or pastel colors can be washed in warm water. To dry, tumble for about 10-minutes on low heat to remove wrinkles. Remove corduroy from the dryer while it is still damp. Smooth seams, pockets, and shirt plackets and hang clothes to finish air drying.
Flannel is a soft, woven fabric. To create extra softness it can be brushed. Flannel sometimes is confused with plaid. Flannel is the the actual fabric and plaid is the pattern. Also, not all flannel is plaid. Flannel dates back at far as the 16th century and used in Wales. Flannel is also a great fabric to keep warm. Air is a great insulator, and the many air pockets in flannel fabric are what helps it retain so much body heat in cold winter temperatures. Also, cotton flannel will help you stay warmer than synthetic or even wool flannel.
Care Instructions: Flannel should be handled with care to maintain its softness and ensure it doesn’t shrink. A gentle detergent should be used and low heat for drying. How to Care For Flannel Shirts is a great article on extensive care for flannel.
Velvet is a woven tufts fabric that has a soft feel that can be made from natural or synthetic materials. Velvet is usually associated with nobility due to its high cost of production and softness. It originated from the Far East and was introduced in Baghdad as far back as the late 700’s. There are many different kinds of velvet from crushed to embossed velvet.
Care Instructions: Most velvet garments need to be dry cleaned due to the fact that it can be ruined if washed. Velvet shouldn’t be ironed and if there are creases the best way to get them out is by hanging the garment up in a steamy bathroom or using a steamer. If the garment has a stain, gently brush the velvet around the area of the stain with a soft clothes brush or lint free cloth to try and remove it. Use a clean lint-free damp cloth, dab the stain gently, moving up and down with delicate pressure.
Have a favorite fall fabric? Let me know in the comments below!