Finishing of wool, whether it is in woven or knitted form, is a very important and integral step during the manufacturing process.

Worsted-Spun Wool Products

Finishing is very important to ensure the appearance and shape of the garment is consistent with the requirements at retail.

The objectives of finishing include:

  • making the fabric or garment dimensionally stable, by the relaxation of stains and tensions imposed during manufacturing
  • removing additives including oils, lubricants, waxes, which were applied earlier on in manufacturing in order to assist processing
  • improving both the appearance and hand feel, and making it “fit for purpose” and “ready for sale”
  • provides an opportunity to add “added value” finishes such as showerproofing and anti-microbial.

Conducting finishing at optimum conditions and in a controlled manner is essential to ensure consistency; otherwise it is likely to have an adverse effect on both the wear and laundering performance of the final product.

Worsted fabrics and products require a very smooth surface and appearance, so it important that minimal disruption of the fabric surface due to abrasive forces takes place during the finishing processes.

Woven fabrics

Woven fabrics are first subjected to “wet” finishing - scouring in warm water containing detergent to remove additives (processing lubricants) and contaminants (oil, dirt).

After dyeing, the fabric then undergoes a number of “dry” finishing operations to remove protruding fibres, which if remaining would give the fabric an unsmooth hairy appearance, further flatten the fabric by pressing to make it smoother, and to make it dimensionally stable.

Knitted fabrics

Circular knit fabrics are finished on equipment and in a very similar manner, and with similar objectives to that of woven fabrics as described above.

During finishing most circular knit fabrics are dyed at this stage, to reduce production lead times and to enable quick response to market requirements.

Knitwear (Sweaters)

Worsted-spun knitwear is usually finished in one of two ways.

  • Steam finished only by steaming, vacuuming then pressing. This is a very common method in the case of uniforms, where wear performance is the perquisite and it also saves time
  • In the case of wool knitwear for the fashion sector, where softness and appearance is essential, a very light and gentle action of scouring (washing) in warm water and detergent is undergone, followed by rinsing, then adding softener application. The garments are then dried and pressed to make them ready for sale.