View Full Version : Jean Wool Shortage
04-04-2011, 10:37 PM
Was at an event and according to the sutlers, there is a shortage of Jean Wool. Looked on this web forum and could not find a reference to this.
So, true or false?
If true, when might the shortage be address?
Is this shortage producer/manufacture wide, or just one or two companies not providing the material?
If just a couple of sources that are not providing the material, are there other sources that might have jean wool available? Names and web sites would be nice to have for those that have material available.
Ross L. Lamoreaux
04-04-2011, 10:52 PM
One of the few vendors to have any right now is Wambaugh, White, & CO, but even they have less than normal I believe. There is a shortage due to very few people/companies making it. Family Heirloom Weavers was one of the larger entities, but they only make wholesale large batches, and only when the customer provides the wool yarn. The small craftsmen vendors like Charlie Childs (County Cloth) and Ben Tart (Tart, Brantley, & Benjamin) are slowing production for a variety of reasons. Some of it is demand down, quality yarn hard to come by, takes a long time to make a run, etc. Woolrich was making some fair to middling jeancloth awhile back, but they didn't see a large demand and haven't made any in some time. You've got to check around, first with the above mentioned WW&Co, and some smaller vendors, but all-in-all, there is a shortage. Its hard to make, costly to make well, and most folks outside of a small circle of reenactors (many of which already have what they need) don't care to pay $30 yard for cloth.
Ross L. Lamoreaux
04-04-2011, 10:53 PM
http://wwandcompany.com/index.php/fabrics-supplies/cs-fabrics For the current selection of jeans from Wambaugh and White
04-04-2011, 11:18 PM
The Jean is to be had, if you want to pay the price for it. Woolrich has a slightly better offering than they used to, but be prepared to drop $25+/yd for it. Not quite worth it in my opinion.
The stuff is out there, so I wouldn't be worried about not being able to get a garment due to the shortage. Ross is correct, there isn't much demand for it this year. Next year, I'll bet it files off the shelf...
04-04-2011, 11:25 PM
Last year the announcement was made the Woolrich had ceased production of their cotton wool jean--that fabric is the lifeline for mainstream sutlers.
It still shows on their website, and its worth an inquiry with the manufacturer to get any new information
The better grades of wool jean, by Tart, Childs, and Klien (commissioned by Dan Wambaugh) are still available for the discerning reenactor. All of these suppliers do limited runs of particular fabrics, and specific items can get out of stock. Bottom line, as with all speciality goods---better get it when you can find it.
04-05-2011, 12:48 AM
just got a bunch of sample swatches from Woolrich and they do have some jean. Its no Ben Tart, but it'll do. Haven't inquired about availability of yardage yet...
04-05-2011, 10:27 AM
The new jean (judging only from the swatches I received) seems to be a little more tightly woven, and/or they are using a smaller size wool yarn. This should help with the fraying issues I've experienced with the old Woolrich stuff.
04-05-2011, 11:10 AM
Thanks for the quick responses and good information, links too
04-05-2011, 11:11 AM
Though I haven't worked with it yet I like the look of the new Woolrich jean, and it has the added quality of having been professionally finished, which accounts for an extra couple bucks per yard. The down side is to order it directly from the mill you have to order in 15 yard minimums (enter the retailer.) I'm planning to stock it sometime this spring just to keep a bit more variety on the racks. At this time I have only one jean cloth in stock suitable for coats, jackets, and trousers, and it is selling like mad.
04-05-2011, 11:12 AM
Woolrich is still making jean but in smaller quantity and in only two colors (last time I received samples). Mark is correct about it being different; they are using a smaller weft yarn that makes the material very light weight. I strongly suggest machine hemming the raw ends and washing it in warm water then drying it on low heat. This should help a little with the fraying.
As for our own uniform fabrics we do have some limited varieties in stock. The good news is that we're planning on two deliveries of new fabric within a few weeks, so stay tuned!
04-05-2011, 09:30 PM
"Now that it is warming up, and Ben traditionally dyes the fabric outside, because he does not use modern manfacturers, fresh runs of wheat jean, sumac mix jean, blue gray jean,and patina jean will be available by May. Currently available are natural sheep's gray jean, and bark jean." Fresh dye lots will posted on http://www.bentart.com/ and keep an eye out on facebook as well for updates. Plenty of jean to be had!!
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