Woolwalk Part 1: Types, properties, washing, feeding

Sewing tips, Woolwalk

Als ich vor vielen Jahren Walk zum ersten Mal vernäht habe, stand ich gefühlt vor einem Buch mit sieben Siegeln. Es war unglaublich aufregend, als ich das erste Mal einen teuren Walk zugeschnitten habe.
Mittlerweile vernähe ich Walk fast zu jeder Jahreszeit (außer im Hochsommer 🙂 ), weil ich die wunderbaren Eigenschaften einfach sehr mag. Wenn ihr damit auch starten möchtet oder noch mehr über Walk erfahren möchtet, solltet ihr noch ein paar Sachen über dieses wunderbare Material wissen. Denn Walk “braucht” eine andere Verarbeitung als Jersey & Co.
Dieser Blogbeitrag ist der erste von drei Beiträgen. Nach dem dritten Beitrag seid ihr richtige Walkprofis. Ihr erfahrt Wichtiges rund um die Themen Zuschneiden, Füttern, Eigenschaften, Waschen, Pflegen und spezielle Walknähte.

I have acquired my knowledge of Walk over the last few years through a lot of research and experience. I would like to share this with you. As is so often the case, there are of course different opinions on the subject of the walk. In the blog, I tell you how, to the best of my knowledge and experience, whale is best processed. There will certainly be other options that are just as suitable.

What types of walk are there (walk, cuddly walk, merion fleece etc.) ?
You may have heard the various terms used in connection with walk: walk, wool walk, cuddly walk, merino fleece.

Wollwalk is also often used synonymously with Walk or Walkloden. Roughly speaking, it is ultimately knitted and not woven fabric. As a result, the walk is slightly stretchy and adapts well to the body. Most of the fulling fabrics that you can order from well-known fabric retailers have a weight of 380-430 g/m2.
This walk is very robust. Depending on the retailer and personal preference, some people find it a little scratchy. The “cozy solution” is a little better. However, please don’t expect that a walk will turn into a fleece 🙂
I usually buy this type of walk for my children and myself. Tip: you can order samples from most fabric retailers. This will give you a feel for how soft it is at the respective retailer.

Feinwalk/Kuschelwalk: Then there is a slightly softer walk. This is often referred to as a fine walk or snuggle walk. It is usually a little softer, but also generally a little more expensive.

Merino fleece: The third category is merino fleece. Pure merino fleece is also made from 100% wool. You can imagine the fleece as being similar to terry cloth. The merino wool is roughened by brushing until it is so fluffy. However, merino fleece is not quite as robust as wool. I would use merino fleece for very small babies. As they are not yet playing in the dirt, robustness is not yet so important.

Why do people like to sew woolen fabrics for cozy overalls and jackets? What special properties does whale actually have?
Real woolwalk is made from 100% virgin wool. You can also often find wool blends on the market. Then, for example, 10% or more synthetic fibers are mixed in. Whenever I buy wool, I always make sure that it is 100% virgin wool. I also make sure that the walk is mulesing-free (this means that the skin around the tail of the sheep is not removed).

Properties of Walk
Pure boiled wool fabric is made from 100% virgin wool. Virgin wool has a high proportion of natural wool grease. The wool grease makes Walk very resistant to dirt and water. In fact, well-maintained walk is quite water-repellent. Would you have thought so? Pure new wool has self-cleaning properties! Wollwalk likes to be aired. This is the best way to remove odors. Even wet dirt is best allowed to dry first and then brushed out lightly with a soft brush.
Walk only needs to be washed very rarely. Nevertheless, it can sometimes be necessary.

Wool and therefore also wool absorb water vapor excellently. This also means sweat from perspiration. At the same time, wool also repels water vapor (hydrophobic). That’s why Walk is so beautifully rain-repellent. Just do the test with some water at home 🙂 Due to its hydrophobic properties, wool is often worn as the first layer on the skin during sports.
Then there is another property. The tiny hollow chambers in Wollwalk. That’s why woolwalk keeps you so warm. The compacted fibers create these small hollow chambers. These store heat from the body and keep the cold out.

Woolwalk is very easy to care for if you follow a few basic principles.

Opinions are divided as to whether or not you should wash your walk before sewing and wearing it for the first time. Personally, I wouldn’t put unwashed clothes on my children or myself. Regardless of whether the substance comes into direct contact with the skin or not. Not even an unwashed walk. What’s more, sometimes the walk can shrink a little the first time you wash it. What a shame it would be if the good piece you made yourself became too small after the first wash. Washing makes Walk even more robust and thicker. And there is another advantage of washing: with the right detergent and care, Walk becomes even softer. Especially if you don’t take a cuddle walk, I find this very pleasant.

Wash your walk properly
I have tried many different washing methods and detergents. It is important that the wool does not lose its moisturizing properties during washing. That is why the detergent is very important. My favorite detergent is Sonett Olive Detergent for Wool and Silk, 1l*. I also use it to wash our wool/silk clothing. It is 100% from controlled, organic cultivation and smells good like lavender. I wash the Walk first by the meter.

Wash the walk in the washing machine:

– Wool wash program at 30 degrees
– No spin cycles
– Add wool detergent to the dosing ball in the washing machine

After washing, it is essential to leave the walker to dry flat (e.g. on a clothes horse). Do not hang and do not expose to direct sunlight.

I also wash the finished sewn garment in the same way, if a wash is really necessary. However, before I sew up the fulling fabric after washing, I do one more step, the“cuddly solution“. You can find out more about this in the next article.


Feeding wool – yes or no?
Opinions differ as to whether whale should be fed or not. The most common argument against feeding is that whale would lose its positive properties as a result. I can’t really understand this argument. Each of us probably wears other clothes underneath the whale garment. Therefore, there is already at least one layer of clothing between us and the woolwalk. Strictly speaking, even our first layer of clothing contributes to a disruption of moisture exchange. If someone does not want to do without 100% of the positive properties, all the layers underneath the fulling would also have to be made of wool, e.g. wool/silk.

For these reasons, I can’t quite understand the vehement opponents of “don’t feed the walk with jersey”.

For me personally, a much more important argument is that jersey or cuffed fabric gets dirty much more quickly than wool and is also not self-cleaning. Even in the wool wash program, cuffs are not as clean as at 40-60 degrees. That’s why I like to sew patterns made only from fleece, without jersey or cuffs. Especially if it is the “last” layer to put on.

The most similar material, which is probably the best match for Walk, is wool/silk. It is also a natural material and has similar self-cleaning properties to whale. But hemp jersey, for example, is also an alternative.

Personally, I prefer the walk unlined. Also because, in my opinion, it is easier to put on, as jersey often “slows you down” on the inside. As we still wear something long under the overall or jacket, it can’t scratch. I only line the hood with wool/silk or hemp jersey. I also think muslin is really nice for lining the hood.


Feeding the whale with muslin

For babies, I sew a small piece of jersey to the back of the neck, as babies do not yet wear scarves. If you do want to line the whole piece, I would use muslin rather than jersey, as muslin does not “slow down” as much as jersey when you put it on.


Excursus: Walk or softshell?
Since I’ve had a few questions as to whether I think walk or softshell is suitable, I’d like to give you a little digression 🙂 The question is, “suitable for what”? That is why the question cannot be answered so simply. I’ll simply summarize the advantages and disadvantages of both materials.
Walk keeps you incredibly warm and is very breathable. The children can move around easily because it is quite thin and flexible compared to a soft snowsuit. Walk is robust and can withstand a rain shower. The walk can also withstand a short romp in the snow. At the same time, Walk is also very wind-permeable.
In contrast to Walk, Softschnell is wind-repellent. However, children also sweat much faster because softshell is not really breathable. Softshell is easier to care for, especially in daycare centers where little attention is paid to clothing, as it can simply be washed in the washing machine. Softshell can also withstand a short rain shower. When it’s really cold in winter and the children are out in the snow for a long time, a high-quality snowsuit is the right choice for us. In my opinion, walk and softshell do not keep you warm enough and are not waterproof enough.
My personal conclusion: we always have pants and jackets made from Walk. Most of the time this is enough for us. But when it’s really stormy and wet/cold, I’m glad to have a brushed softshell suit. For a really cold winter with snow, we also have a snowsuit.

In the next blog post you will find out which materials you need for cutting and sewing. And I’ll show you my “cuddly solution” for making the walk a little softer and even more robust.

* The links marked with an asterisk (*) are so-called affiliate links. If you click on such an affiliate link and make a purchase via this link, I will receive a commission from the online store or provider in question. The price does not change for you.




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