In winter, the mesh counts just as much as your coat: a superposition of several fine mesh, or a big robust mesh, are there to keep you warm under your jacket or overcoat.
But what is that mesh exactly? Contrast to tissue to a string and frame, whose sons are interlocking horizontally and vertically. The mesh is not woven but knitted, boys are hugging forming little loops.
Often referred to as mesh to evoke the sweaters and cardigans, but underwear and t-shirts are also part. It’s not always easy to distinguish with the woven pieces. A good way to navigate is to stretch the material: Unlike the tissues, the mesh is extensible.
It is often said that a big mesh is essential for the winter and that it requires an investment. We explain why and how to recognize its quality.
How to recognize a sweater or a cardigan of quality?
You have programmed a shopping for winter this weekend outing ? A particular need in sweaters or cardigans? First thing you should look at: the composition1.
Overview of good or bad material for the mesh
The most common material for the mesh of winter of wool.
For the summer and finer meshes, you also find a lot of cotton and linen, or even silk.
The wool is much hotter through its power of insulating more high, but it is also heavier and sometimes rougher than the other materials (for Virgin wool).
Wool Virgin vs. mixed wool: what did this mean?
Pure and pristine, it can be much less pleasant to wear2. But also, why? What does it mean?
- “Virgin wool”: a wool mixed with 7% other fibers
- “Pure wool”, mixed with 0.3% maximum.
Virgin wool sting more because they are not processed and retain small scales that surround each fiber. This are biting us when we wear them to the skin. The interest of Virgin wool is the Visual rendering, which is richer, more “raw”.
If you are absolutely looking for softness, this is not for you. On the other hand, if you want a room look more rustic, to break the side “little boy” of a mesh, the wool is a good option.
In France, it’s merchant Draper, who has been noted with the use of Virgin wool on his jacket Masada, that Benedict has in two colors. At the level of sweetness, just wear a shirt underneath, and won’t you have no problem, slightly, the material will soften with time.
Digression: the Woolmark label designates a result wool of the shearing of animals alive and healthy. All other designations – 100% wool, pure wool or simply wool – evoke potential treatments of the material or recycled wool.
But for a sweater or a cardigan more soft and comfortable to wear, there are blends with cotton or cashmere. There are also synthetic material: viscose, modal, polyester, acrylic, etc.3.
Concerning these, make sure that the share of synthetic is not 30% (20% that would be even better), but keep in mind that these 20 or 30% are not necessarily a bad thing. Add a share of synthetic can bring more strength to the mesh, and dress while keeping a small price.
The downside of the synthetic, it’s thermal regulation is done less well with 100% wool: matter more easily takes odors and manages bad the excess heat. But sometimes, the addition of synthetic remains the only way to have a play with the appearance of a big mesh to a very good price.
On the other hand, more than 30% of synthetic, it is a firm “no” !
The Merino Wool: the ally against the cold
Another alternative: Merino, which I prefer. It is made from Merino sheep, which were originally from Spain (now there all over the world, especially in New Zealand and Australia). She is:
- More hot,.
- And more robust than a classic wool.
That more could you ask for?
Sometimes, you will see the name or Superfine Merino Extrafine . This corresponds to the diameter of the hair but, despite my many searches, figures are never the same.
For example, Superfine grade corresponds to a diameter of fiber between 17.6 and 18.5 micron on the official website of the Australian breeders.
Except that… on the site of the Australian wool promotion association (an organization different but nevertheless State), the Superfine grade is equivalent to a diameter between 15.6 and 18.5 microns.
Except that… the side of Australian farmers, a rank below 17.5 microns corresponds to another name: thehair !
Except that… on the page Wikipedia of Merino, thehair means diameters between 15 and 11.5 microns!
As for the extraappellation, it is even more problematic: some say it is the other name ofSuperfine, and others that it is a still finer than thehairwool. In short, it’s a mess!
The only thing that we can learn, it’s that Superfine or Superfine mentions are a good sign, the matter being sweeter than a normal Merino Wool. Good luck for you find your way.
For comparison, the diameter of a fiber of cashmere is between 14 and 18 microns… So it is possible to have a too soft wool of cashmere, and it can go even further! For example, Loro Piana has managed to produce a wool of less than 11 microns in diameter.
Alpaca, cashmere, vicuna: “precious” wools are worth?
Alpaca, camel and (from camelids) vicuna, cashmere and mohair (from goats), angora (from Rabbit) or even yak wool are more rare and noblest materials. What are their real strengths?
Kashmir is the down or “Undercoat” produced by cashmere goats4. It is part of the finest hairs with the vicuna and the angora (the diameter of these fibers varies between 10 and 15 microns, against a range between 18 and 25 on Merino already very thin). And more the hair is thin, it is sweet!
Another fiber out of the goat, Turkey this time, is the mohair. Such as cashmere, it’s a light, silky, shiny, elastic, soft and warm material. If you see the mesh with long hairs sticking out, there are strong bet that there is the mohair in this room.
The alpaca and vicuña are two species of camelid relatively close, from South America. Their fibers are very soft, light and protect against very low temperatures.
The vicuna is the most luxurious of all because the thinner, making it unaffordable for the common man. Allow around €10,000 for a jacket in vicuna. Its insulating power and gentleness are, it seems, exceptional. The price of the vicuña is simply explained by the extreme rarity of world production.
Regarding the name baby alpaca, it designates the fibers from the first shearing, which are thinner (around 22.5 microns in diameter on average).
There is much less information on the camel wool. We know that this is a fine and soft, fiber which resembles Kashmir and is difficult to spin. In addition, the quality varies greatly according to the different species and their origins!
One rarely dyes these camelid wool. On the one hand, to preserve the softness of fibers; on the other hand, because their original color offers a much more beautiful rendering natural.
Angora is also popular in luxury. The hair, once combed, are very long and easy to work: two important benefits. His absorption power is very high.
Finally, there is also yak wool. This native animal of the Himalayas has a very long fleece which can protect him temperatures around – 40 ° C. So it produces one of the warmest wool that exist.
All of these materials are more rare but also more fragile. They are very rarely found in a percentage on a label. They are often shuffled between them or to classic wool, or synthetic fiber. Without it, the evidence would be too fragile… and much too expensive5.
What makes a high mesh of range and why invest in?
A case of editing…
First, the way in which designed the piece plays an important role. There are two ways to do:
- The sewn (or cut and sewn Cup),
- And the remaille (or fully fashioned).
The stitched cut is to cut out the different parts of the room in a big pan of knitting and sewing them together. The problem is that there is necessarily some loss of material.
The technique of the fully fashioned is different: it shapes the piece completely by knitting,there is no seam. Are directly assembled a round in her knitting to the armhole. Similarly, the pockets will be knitted and not plated.
This second technique is a must in terms of quality. More refined, more solid and less waste of material. Necessarily, a fully-fashioned room will be more expensive because it takes more time and superior expertise.
Lead, with whom we worked for our cardigan in collaboration with Inis Meain, explained us very well to this technique. You can find more details in our introductory article.
Be careful, as usual in the garment, nothing is all white or all black. The cut and sewn is sometimes handy on large meshes very highlight, where the Stoll technique would be long and difficult to develop, while significantly increasing the price.
In the meantime, here is a very good article (in English, but very visual) you learn to distinguish between a cut and sewn to a re-Threading. You see, after learning the “trick”, it becomes fun to see how it is!
One thing to know about the mesh: as for shoes or leather, we can’t cheat on quality. Here, it is less for the visual aspect of the material for its duration in time: a mesh of poor quality will quickly wear out and to perforate.
… And density
Another important criterion of quality is the density of the mesh. In fact, when you look at a piece, you have to ask yourself if the knit is tight and looks solid, or not. Even if put to the test the material by slightly stretching6.
What about maintenance and why the mesh pilling?
The sweater that pilling
My sweater Pilling, help? No, don’t be not radical. Everyone has the right to a second chance.
As Geoffrey in his article on dead alive clothing VS clothes, very well explained a sweater that pilling is not a sign of poor quality.
It is a natural process of rejection of the material. On the other hand, pills them must appear during the first washes and then disappear7.
In fact, the phenomenon of pilling is particularly present on Kashmir. Don’t panic so let the material live.
Attention to conventional wisdom on the sweetness
Conversely, beware of clothing that are no pilling when buying: they hide probably several treatment sessions, which have damaged the material. Pilling them may appear… but later for a long time. Too bad!
It’s exactly the same problem with the softness of a sweater. Beware as if nothing on the label justifies this softness (type wool Merino or cashmere): matter has probably been processed and therefore necessarily damaged!
A wool can be rough – as we saw previously – and yet when the quality is very good. It will soften with time. Well, it is no miracle either huh! I’ll never wear my sweater in wool on the skin, even after 10 years of common life.
Maintenance of the mesh
Regarding the maintenance of the wool, the washing machine is allowed to 30 degrees maximum. Ditto for the stitches in cotton. For other materials, more valuable, only and cold hand wash.
There are special shampoos for wool. Be careful, don’t put a lot! More you put product, the material will be damaged. As the wool breathes and gets dirty little, so it doesn’t help. Oh, and no need to soak her sweater for an hour; immerse the garment a minute here!
Finally, we will never have a mesh in the dryer and it does not dry on hanger. FORBIDDEN. Drying dish only, otherwise the garment deforms.
Benedict Note: For talking with professionals of the sector, among them, well rare are those who wash their big mesh more than once a year… while knowing that there are people who don’t wash it never. Remember: due to its hydrophobic wool, it does not smell and perspiration not crashing.
How to wear the mesh?
The mesh is so all knitted items. Finally, a large number of pieces of the menswear belongs to this category:
- Sweatshirts (in cotton fleece).
- Polos (in jersey of cotton).
- And even t-shirts.
But here it will not focus on these parts that it has already addressed. So, what shall we talk about?
Wear a cardigans and sweaters in small mesh
The small mesh is often more difficult to wear and offer a smaller range of use than the big mesh well thick. Already, because what it does not have the gross side that can have this last, but also because it’s less warm.
Logically, it should be so more for mid-season, although it may find interest in of layering in the winter.
The relatively thin and light wool sweaters are particularly interesting. They are usually comfortable – especially if we choose Merino or cashmere wool – and can be worn under cardigans thicker, or even under a coat if it is quite curved and hot.
They are also practical on a shirt in winter, when temperatures drop. I find that the turtlenecks are easier to carry and more modern. Now, if you want more add a tie, you can opt for a V-neck as long as you don’t choose too deep.
In General, the neck of your sweater should reach the level of your collarbones.
There are many retro sweaters to the textured material. They are ideal to be worn only as are less “boring” than conventional models. But if you prefer a smooth texture, don’t be afraid to choose bright colors that are a bit out of the ordinary: green, yellow mustard, red…
Another fine mesh that we tend to forget: the light sous-pulls turtleneck. They offer stylish outfits worn under a jacket or any other jacket a little original blue type of work, military jacket, Barbour, etc. It will be most of the time in cotton because these are very fine pieces.
Personally, as a woman, I’m not very fan of cardigans in fine mesh for a man. I never really saw outfits successful with such a piece. In fact, I can’t imagine with what a man might wear. On a shirt, we might see the folds of the sleeves. On a t-shirt, I find the render either too feminine or too flat.
Accordingly, I find that the large cracks have much more interest!
Benoit Note: I am not agree, a thin cardigan under a suit jacket can be great.