Animal natural fibres for baby and children's clothing
Natural animal fibres are mainly obtained from the hair or fur of animals. The best-known animal fibres include sheep's wool, alpaca wool, merino wool and cashmere. Silk, on the other hand, is obtained from the cocoon of the silkworm. We have compiled a lot of interesting information about the properties of the fibres and their production.
Materials for children's clothing of natural & animal origin
Alpaca wool is one of the highest quality and most expensive fibres in the world. It is obtained from the wool of the alpaca, which comes from Peru but is also bred in Germany, among other places. Alpaca wool has unique thermal properties. Due to the hollow fibre inside, alpaca wool has a high insulation and thus a first-class heat retention capacity. Especially at low temperatures, alpaca wool stores body heat better than any other wool. However, alpaca wool is not only suitable for cold winter days, but is also very comfortable to wear in summer thanks to its heat-repelling function.
Cashmere or cashmere wool is a natural material obtained from the cashmere goat and shines with its fineness. Cashmere, like alpaca wool, is known as one of the highest quality types of wool due to its very fine fibres, the cashmere fibres, and is therefore considered a fine wool. The most remarkable property is that cashmere stores heat up to 6 times better than sheep's wool. The fibre has very good thermal insulation and is therefore ideal for particularly cold days in winter. Unlike sheep's wool, cashmere is very fine, does not scratch and is pleasantly soft on the skin.
It is a natural animal fibre and is obtained from the cocoons of silkworm caterpillars (the silkworm moth). Only the silk threads from the silkworms of a particular butterfly larva can be used. Silk consists mainly of proteins and is the only textile continuous fibre in nature. Its advantages are that it is kind to the skin, can regulate temperature, dries quickly and does not wrinkle.
Just as it has advantages, it also has disadvantages. Because it has a high protein content, it is extremely sensitive to UV radiation. It is also sensitive to perspiration, heat, acid and alkaline solutions, which means that it is very time-consuming to care for, and it can often only be dry-cleaned.
Sheep's wool is wool obtained from domestic sheep. It is obtained by shearing or, in the case of certain types of sheep, by plucking the sheep. Shearing is mainly carried out in spring, when stronger and longer fibres are obtained. The wool is then washed, combed, dyed or bleached and spun into yarn. Wool is demonstrably a renewable resource. It wicks moisture away quickly and can absorb 33% of its dry weight in moisture and is malleable both wet and dry. Wool warms well, or rather reflects the body's heat radiation well, absorbs dirt poorly, is elastic and creases very little. Its good properties also include the less good ones. It is easily combustible, shrinks easily, feels scratchy to wear, forms lint and knots, is not resistant to pests, moth protection is always necessary.
This wool is obtained from merino sheep, is softer than normal wool and does not scratch the skin.
It insulates the cold in winter and the heat in summer, hardly absorbs odours, does not crease and protects against UV rays. Because of its functionality and because it is breathable, it is often used in the manufacture of outdoor and functional clothing. When buying products made from merino wool, make sure that they are mulesing-free. Mulesing is a cruel method in which the sheep suffer greatly due to breeding.
Frequently asked questions about animal materials of natural origin
The advantage of wool is the temperature balance, it warms on cold days and cools on warm days. This is especially important for the smallest babies, as they are not yet able to regulate their temperature. On the other hand, wool is breathable, windproof and waterproof. It can absorb liquid and release it into the surrounding air. The fibres are elastic and have a high resilience. The surface of the fibre repels or hardly absorbs dirt, so clothes made of wool also do not need to be washed often.
If clothes made of wool are washed too hot, they usually become too small. If high-quality dyes are not used for colouring, they fade quickly and make the clothes look washed out.
Wool hardly needs to be washed, usually only airing is enough, which is of course very difficult with children's clothes made of wool, as especially the smallest ones get dirty quickly. So if you wash wool products, make sure you don't wash them over 30 degrees. Many washing machines are also equipped with a wool or hand wash programme. When machine washing, make sure you only fill the drum halfway. Use a wool detergent (organic) or a natural shampoo.
Of course, textiles made of wool are also suitable for children. Merino wool is special, it is also suitable for baby clothes because it is very soft, does not scratch and is warming. On the other hand, merino wool is antibacterial, which is a great advantage especially in children's clothing.