You can usually recognize wool broadcloth by its distinctive, fulled surface and its heft. This burgundy version of the classic, however, is significantly lighter and more versatile. While classic, heavyweight broadcloth is used primarily for historical costuming, this lighter version can make a cozy men’s or ladies’ blazer or an autumn jacket. With its slightly stiff hand, it may not be the best choice for trousers, but it is perfect for a winter skirt or tailored dress. This fabric is popular in the re-enactment community for making cotehardies, tunics, and light cloaks.
In terms of weight and range of uses, this fabric is similar to our wool broadcloth in twill weave.
Because this broadcloth is made of pure merino wool it is breathable, it maintains a comfortable microclimate in both winter and summer, it keeps you warm even when it’s wet, and it has wonderful self-cleaning properties. The latter two traits will come in handy at historical re-enactments or LARP events. (Learn more about the history of wool broadcloth in our post on wool fabrics through the ages.)
Merino wool comes from the sheep of the same name and is the finest sheep’s wool in the world. Merino fabrics have a wonderful, soft feel and don’t itch as much as ordinary wool. Unless you have especially sensitive skin, you can comfortably wear merino against bare skin.
It’s a good idea to pre-shrink this fabric with a steam iron before sewing. To ensure you preserve the benefits of wool, choose a quality lining that breathes, such as silk twill (serge).
We recommend dry cleaning this wool fabric at a reliable dry cleaner. You may hand wash or machine wash using the woolens program; use a special detergent for woolens; wash at a low temperature (30°C) with the spin cycle switched off. Do not wash on your machine’s default program and do not use your usual detergent; doing so can cause the fabric to shrink by 30% and thicken significantly. Wool garments do not need to be ironed; simply hang on a good hanger while damp to dry. When sewing, press on the back side using your iron’s wool setting.