There have been machines developed in the past that can inspect the quality of fabrics and look for possible loopholes to be avoided and amended. But rarely do we find a machine that measures the level of comfort of a fabric or a garment it provides to the wearer. Thanks to technology and results of continuous research, measuring comfort value of a woolen garment just like it would feel on an individual's skin is now a reality.
While buying woolen garments consumers always give priority to the comfort. Woolen clothes especially worn closely to the skin have the tendency to cause itching since the wool fibres of the fabric tend to rub against the skin. This is more commonly known to us as prickle which leads to lack of comfort. There are many aspects of woolen fibres that can be the root of such discomfort. The thickness of the fibre, the diameter of the fibre, the finish and the construction of the fabric are a few factors that determine the comfort level of woolen apparels.
A total quality system like this can help retailers and manufacturers produce better quality and comfortable garments. Investing in such a technologically advanced system can help increase consumer satisfaction and build loyalty. Currently this innovative system is offered by an Australian company and has devised two such instruments to check comfort. One measures the comfort level of woolen garment which is worn closely to the skin. These instruments count the number of fibres coming off a fabric and are causing discomfort. The more the number of fibres the higher is the rate of discomfort to the wearer. A series of experiments with individuals performing different activities and their levels of comfort and discomfort were recorded precisely to develop such an instrument.
The purchase decision of a woolen garment, which is to be worn in direct contact with skin, directly relies on the feel of the fabric. The key fabric handle is decided on seven different parameters like softness, smoothness, warm & dry feel, weight, hairiness, and tightness. This instrument can be extremely useful in discarding the misconception of softer the fabric higher is the level of comfort. The fabric handle instrument is developed on the basis of an age old technique of measuring the quality of a woolen fabric. The method is passing a woolen cloth from a finger ring and the ease with which it slips from one end to another, decides the fate of the quality and value. However, this is definitely a way to measure surface roughness, amount of friction, stiffness, and extensibility of the fabric.
The kinds of yarn twist also play a vital role in deciding the fabric handle and the comfort of woolen garments. Both the instruments were developed by conducting experiments with high twist and low twist yarn qualities and then they were tested on every attribute leading to next to skin comfort. Moreover, the instruments can measure the woolen fabrics with different finishes to identify and evaluate the level of comfort and fabric handle.
These advanced machines also evaluate the woolen fabrics and garments on the fibre diameter. The devices have undergone experiments with three different diameters bearing fibres knitted by the same knitter with a similar finish across all the fibres. The finer the wool, the softer and smoother is the fabric. Seventeen micron or less are considered to be of fine quality and are said to be ideal for woolen knitwear worn next to skin. Currently most manufacturers produce wool products of eighteen or above microns. In order to develop better products and provide improved quality to buyers using monitoring systems like these becomes inevitable.
Since such high-tech instruments are designed with in-depth researches and experiments, a scientific and guaranteed way has been cultivated to calibrate such variable in order to specify why certain fabric does not cause any itchiness and provides a more comfortable experience. Retailers and producers of woolen garments can convince customers of quality and give a justification of the price. The devices also make sure that there is consistency in quality between all batches and also in all seasons.
Until now woolen knitwear was purchased only by feeling and making an individual wear the garment to judge the required comfort. But with the invention of a mechanism that can measure and detect the fabric handle and comfort of woolen apparels worn next to skin it becomes easy for manufacturers to fabricate a product that provides complete comfort without any prickle. Many major retailers have taken trials of the machine and many look forward to investing and purchasing such machines.