Winter coat designs by Clariscia Gill
As I readied myself for the autumn/winter 2015 season, preparing my mind for the forecasted ‘coldest UK’ winter to hit us for 50 years, I reflected upon how much I like to design, make and wear a good wool jacket or coat. I had always found it difficult to find a coat that fitted me in the right places, accommodated what I was wearing underneath and had the right cut to be loose and stylish enough that it did not look, well, frumpy …
So that’s how I started making them myself. I took a delve into the first place I start after the design is done, the fabric which led me to the world of this humble animal, the sheep, from whence it all starts. Well, I can tell you, humble they are not and I encountered a few surprises and striking animals during my research.
Briton became involved with this rapidly growing trade, so much so that by the twelfth century, wool was to become one of England’s most successful assets enabling it to be exported to neighbouring countries around Europe. That strength remains with British wool still being much sought after around the globe.
There are so many breeds of sheep and they can be found in all the five continents. Cross breeding them is the main way to obtain the different qualities and types of the wool. Not being a natural condition to be covered head to foot in a thick hot woolly fleece, the sheep must be sheared within given times in order that they do not encounter harm. As well as the obvious heat problems, the fleeces attract flies whose larvae can cause major havoc.
Some of these creatures are simply majestic and some so cross bred as to not even have a name for the breeds like this one above. I shall however from now on pay more thought to this animal when choosing my wool cloths, they are responsible for giving us so much.
I thank ewe …
Author – Clariscia Gill