30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

Updated on by Sarina

Wool is the general name given to the fabric made from the fiber derived from the fleece of Sheep and also of Camels, llama, Vicuna, Cashmere goat, and Angora goat. 

There are many many reasons you will find wool fabric as one of the most coveted and expensive fabrics in any fabric shop you go -like its softness, durability, comfort, warmth, luxurious looks. You can check out more about the properties of wool here.

Basically, wool fabrics are categorized as Woolen fabrics and Worsted fabrics depending on the length of the fibers that make up their yarn. Short fibers make woolen fabrics and hence they have a tufted fuzzy surface texture. They are heavy thick and bulky and are less expensive than Worsted fabrics which are made with tightly twisted longer yarns. Worsted fabrics have a hard, smooth surface with a special subtle luster. Woolen fabrics can be plain weave woolens or wool knits.

For yet another general categorization If you hear carpet wool, as the name suggests it is suitable only for making carpets. The fibers are long and coarse. Apparel wool is the fine wool that makes garments. More categorizations of wool fabrics are done according to the animal, type of weaves, where the animal is bred, the texture of the fabric etc as you can see in the list below

Different types of Wool Fabrics

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Sheep Wool

Classification of wool according to the type of sheep, location, etc. 

  • 1. Merino wool
  • 2. Border Leicester Wool
  • 3. Cheviot
  • 4. Shetland wool
  • 5. Melton wool
  • 6. Lambswool
  • 7. Lightweight wool
  • 8. Plain or Twill Worsted wool suitings
  • 9. Virgin wool
  • 10. Boiled Wool
  • 12. Wool Chinchilla
  • 13. Organic wool
  • 14. Gabardine
  • 15. Loden
  • 16. Wool jersey
  • 17. Boucle
  • 18. Wool Batting
  • 20. Herringbone patterned wool
  • 21. Tweed
  • 22. Wool felt
  • 23. Lincoln Wool
  • 24. Flannel
  • 25. Tartan
  • 26. Chenille
  • 27. Wool Sharkskin
  • 28. Alpaca wool
  • 30. Cashmere
  • 31. Vicuna wool
  • 32. Camel hair

1. Merino wool

Merino Wool is the softest and finest of all wool fabrics. This long-lasting fabric is one of the most desirable wool fabrics and expensive as well. It is made from the fleece of Merino sheep and is made mostly in Australia and Newzealand.

Merino wool itself can vary in quality depending on the thickness of its wool fibers. Merino wool sweaters and socks are very popular because it is a lot less itchy than all the other sheep wool fabrics out there. Read more about merino wool here. 

2. Border Leicester Wool

Border Leicester wool is named after the place of origin of the long wool breed sheep whose long fleece is used to make this beautiful fabric. It is a very durable fabric that can last a very long time. It is used for making coats and dresses

3. Cheviot

Cheviot is a woolen fabric made originally from the coarse wool of the Cheviot sheep raised in the Cheviot hills of England; Generally, the term is used to describe medium to heavy woolen fabrics with a shaggy surface texture. It is popular as a coating fabric

4. Shetland wool

This is a wool fabric made from sheep found in Scotland. It has all the fine qualities of the best of wool fabrics – and keeps a person very warm.  It is very suitable for making winter clothing. The fabric is a little rough though

5. Melton wool

Wool Melton is a felted medium or heavy weight somewhat bulky fabric with a smooth nap. It is commonly used for coats.

30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

Classification of wool according to process, quality, etc. 

6. Lambswool

This refers to wool fabric made from fleece that is shorn when a lamb is just six or seven months old as its first shearing. The fabric made with this wool is very strong and soft and does not need much processing. It is considered as the best wool in terms of quality.

7. Lightweight wool

If you think wool fabric is always thick and bulky you are wrong. For a lightweight drapey fabric made with wool fibers – there are many choices. Lightweight wool is loosely but firmly woven and hangs very beautifully. Woolen Batiste is a very soft fine lightweight woolen fabric. Crepe is lightweight worsted wool; Albatross is a lightweight woolen fabric with a slightly crepe surface. Woolen challis is also lightweight. Wool challis is a plain weave woolen fabric and an absolute favorite for dressmaking

8. Plain or Twill Worsted wool suitings

Worsted wool has a smooth finish and is durable. It is the most popular fabric for making coats, jackets trousers etc. Worsted wool is made after wool fibers are spun into yarn which is then knitted or woven into fine fabrics. After the fabric is made it goes through a process in which unwanted fibers are removed which makes it very smooth.

30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

9. Virgin wool

This is wool taken from a lamb’s first shearing, which will be very fine and soft or wool that has never been processed or used in any way. 

10. Boiled Wool

Boiled wool is a special stretchy, felted heavyweight wool fabric with insulating qualities. It is dense, durable and water-resistant because the wool undergoes a special washing process which makes it thick. It is used for making berets, jackets, cardigans, vests, coats etc.

11. Super wool

This is wool that is categorized according to the fine quality of its fibers. It measures the fibers used per inch of the cloth, similar to thread count.   When you go shopping for wool you will hear classifications like Super 100, 110, 120, 150 etc. Higher the number finer the wool

12. Wool Chinchilla

This is a fabric with curled tufts or nubs on the fabric surface. This special texture is made on a chinchilla machine. First, the nap is made using the machine and then rubbed to create the rounded curled tufts.

13. Organic wool

Various toxic materials like harsh scouring agents, dyes and bleaches used to clean and whiten the wool, formaldehyde, conditioners, moth-proofing, harsh chemical dyes, and other, often toxic additives to finish the fabric and garments are used in conventional wool production. Organically grown wool fabric and wool garments are free of all these.

Organic wool is obtained from sheep that have been raised without synthetic or harmful chemicals under healthy, natural, and responsible animal husbandry methods. The sheep graze on pesticide-free land and they are raised with such organic animal husbandry methods that they do not have external and internal parasites which may have had to be treated with antibiotics. Chemicals are not used in the wool production process resulting in the organic wool fabric which is free of all carcinogenic or allergy creating particles.

Classification of wool according to the type of fabric made 

14. Gabardine

Gabardine is a firm tightly woven fabric with a diagonally ribbed surface (twill weave) on one side and smooth texture on the other. It is very durable and strong and is used to make trousers, suits, jackets, overcoats etc. It is also suitable for making bags.

15. Loden

This is a water-resistant woolen material. It is used for making coats.

16. Wool jersey

This is a knit fabric (hand knitted or machine knitted) made with wool yarn. It is used to make sweaters, cardigans etc.

17. Boucle

This refers to woolen fabrics with curly twisted loops on the surface. This is a result of its special construction. The curled loopy surface texture makes this fabric unique.

18. Wool Batting

This is the inside layer used in quilts and beddings for insulation – you will get batting made with wool fibers which are superior to the batting made with cotton or polyester.

19. Broadcloth

Broadcloth is a dense, strong woolen cloth

30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

20. Herringbone patterned wool

This wool fabric has a distinctive zigzag weaving pattern which looks like the skeleton of a herring fish. This is a much in demand fabric for making jackets and trousers.


30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

21. Tweed

Wool tweed is a very popular wool fabric best suited for making jackets, waistcoats, hats and other winter clothing. The fabric is so named after the Tweed River in Scotland where it was first made.

It may have a plain or twill weave and has an attractive check or herringbone pattern with a subtle rough texture. It is traditionally made from coarse homespun wool.

Subtle color effects are seen on its surface because of the way it is made by twisting differently colored woolen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn. It is a very durable fabric, moisture-resistant, breathable and warm. Read more in detail about Tweed here.

22. Wool felt

Felted wool is a non-woven fabric. Wool felt is the most common and very popular felt fabric. It is soft and more supple than acrylic felt and is very durable. It is used for making home decor items, hats, and jackets and for craft projects.

You can make your own wool-felt easily at home with some wool fibers. Read more about felting here. Know more about felt fabric here.

23. Lincoln Wool

Lincoln wool fabrics is a high-quality wool fabric that is very popular for making suits and other garments. It is expensive and highly regarded for its appearance.

30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

24. Flannel

Flannel is a popular wool fabric in plain or twill weave which has a brushed or napped surface on either one or both sides. It is popularly used to make night wear clothes like pajamas. 

30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

25. Tartan

This is a traditional Scottish woolen cloth with a distinctive plain or check fabric pattern. The most famous use of tartan cloth is to make Scottish kilts. It is also used for making jackets, suits and skirts. 

26. Chenille

This is a velvety textured fabric with a soft tufted pile surface made with woolen fibers

27. Wool Sharkskin

This is a wool fabric with a pronounced twill weave and smooth surfaced two-toned woven appearance. The yarns in warp and weft are alternated with two colors like white and another color which results in the two-toned look.

Classification of wool made from other animals than sheep 

28. Alpaca wool

This is a soft luxurious fuzzy textured wool fabric made from fleece of Alpaca(camel family) with a cotton knitted or woven back. The best advantage of using this wool is that it is hypoallergenic. Other than that it is as soft and warm as any other superior wool like merino or cashmere.

29. Mohair

Mohair is a very soft silky and lustrous heavy-weight woolen fabric made from Angora goat. The fabric has a very fuzzy surface. It is very expensive but because of the beautifully luxurious and lustrous look, it is much coveted. It is mainly used for making coats and jackets.

30. Cashmere

This is one of the finest and softest of all textiles. It is made from fiber obtained from the Tibetan Wild (Cashmere) goat. The clothes made from this fabric is very warm but the weight of the fabric as such is very light

31. Vicuna wool

This is wool made from the fleece obtained from the vicuna; it is said to be the most expensive of all fabrics as vicuna wool is rare wool. A Vicuna Jacket can cost up to $21,000 as seen here.

32. Camel hair

This is the fabric made from the undercoat of the Bactrian camel. The resultant tan or brown colored fabric is very soft and is used to make scares sweaters jackets and blankets. General use of the term describes soft heavy woolen fabrics without any genuine camel’s hair in it

These fibers are usually mixed with sheep wool to create superior fabrics. There are many others ; you can read more about the Animal fibers and fabrics.

Related post :10 things to note when sewing with wool; How to care for wool fabric.; Different types of fur

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30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

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30+ main types of WOOL FABRIC

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