Wash, Shape and Cut
People often experience that their woollen clothes shrink when washed. We don’t want that to happen when you do your washing, so instead we wash all knitted material in our factory at 60 degrees. Just with normal water, nothing else. The washing shrinks the material by about 20% to 22% and stabilises it. This provides us with a softer, more pliable material that is easier to work with. After washing the material, we tumble dry it and when the pieces have dried, we shape them using heat and steam on metal forms in our moulding machines.
Meet Clara and Calle
Our moulding machines are called Clara and Calle. Calle shapes all of our torso fabric like a huge mangle, and Clara shapes some 500,000 legs and sleeves per year with the help of different forms. Some of the forms used today were also used when we were called Vinetta and made nylon tights more than 50 years ago.
After the material has been heated up and shaped, it needs to be left for a day before it is time to cut out the pieces that will then be sewn together into garments. We do our best to use as much of the fabric as possible from every tube. The tubes are placed in layers, and the weight of the material determines how many layers can fit in the spreader machine at once. To create as little waste as possible, the length is set based on the size that is to be made. Then each tube is marked up using garment patterns. At this stage, the fabric is checked once again and we mark up any scrap, lines or other defects in the fabric. Once the tube has been laid out it is then moved to the cutting table.
Our cutting moulds works like cookie cutters
To get even and straight edges throughout the entire tube when using such a soft material as Ullfrotté Original, the whole tube must be cut through in one go. To achieve this, we use cutting moulds and a press. The cutting moulds come in different shapes and sizes, depending on what is being made. The moulds have a sharp jagged edge that lies against the material. They are placed out on the fabric like cake forms and are then pushed into the press. This is repeated until the entire tube has been used and the pieces are ready to be sewn into garments.
The waste gets new life
Even though we optimise the material so that there is as little wastage as possible, there is always some leftover material. We press this together to make felt. We then make products such as insoles and sitting pads from the felt. Taking advantage of the waste material and creating other usable products is both smart and sustainable. We also sell the felt material that you can buy to make your own products.
Feel free to share the products you create on social media using the hash tag #woolpowerDIY. We think it’s great to see how our material is used and would love you to inspire others to be creative.