How is Cashmere made?
Cashmere is a wool fibre which is produced from the fine underhair of the Kel goat. This comes from India, Mongolia and Iran. Cashmere is produced as a staple fibre and each goat only produces around 200-250 grams per year. This is approximately enough for a scarf. It takes two goats to produce enough yarn for a sweater, and around 24 goats to make enough cashmere for a coat.
As well as having a limited supply and this increasing the cost of Cashmere, it also has very high processing costs. It is an expensive fibre and is therefore reserved for high-end garments. Cashmere is produced in a similar way to wool, except that because Cashmere fibres come from the underdown of the goat’s coat, there is another layer of hair called ‘Guard Hair,’ during the washing and combing process, these longer, coarser hairs must be removed, leaving only the softer downy ones. The ‘Guard Hair’ layer is typically used in brushes and interlinings.
Main physical properties of Cashmere Fabric
- Cashmere has a soft, luxurious handle and appearance.
- Very light and Lustrous
- Good Thermal Insulation
- Cashmere has excellent crease resistance
- Fire-resistant in the same way that wool is as they are closely related.
- Expensive due to limited supply.
- Commonly blended with other fibres to reduce end costs.
- Slightly elastic.
- Doesn’t react well to excessive heat, as it has a tendency to shrink.
- Cashmere must usually be dry-cleaned although machine washable varieties are being created recently.
- High quality Cashmere tends to be resistant to pilling.
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