SPRING 2023 UPDATE:
I have updated this blog to educate on my new line of Merino Wool.
I am now crafting with 3 variations, I have labeled each variation with a code to differentiate what I use in each hoodie. You will notice these codes next to colors to show what each colors fiber content is.
OG - The Merino I have been using the past 4 years is 100% Merino & weighs 4.4 oz/150 gsm (grams per square meter)
This merino is produced under what the Textile Exchange calls “Responsible Wool Standard” - RWS farms and ranchers must meet animal welfare, land management, and social requirements.
ZQ - My brand new 100% Merino weighs 6 oz/200 gsm
This Merino has a ZQ Premium certification which states - Growers are committed to protecting the environment, as well as the animal welfare.
I added links to the certifications if you care to read more.
*Although this weighs more than my OG, I think it breathes the same.*
The weave is a more open/porous jersey knit, where the OG is a tighter woven material.
I have product tested since last summer.
I made myself a tank top to back pack in for the true test. I didn’t notice a difference - I was carrying a very heavy pack - we were rock climbing, so both that gear and typical backpack gear. It was HOT too.
I really like this new Merino - it’s easier to sew with and the colors are gorgeous.
MN - Merino/Nylon Jersey - 87% Merino Wool 13% Nylon - I am calling it Eco Nylon since it meets all the blue sign certifications and is blended with ZQ Merino.
It weighs 4 oz/150gsm
This versatile fabric is knitted from superfine ZQ merino with nylon core for added performance. The best of both worlds, all the comfort and thermal properties of merino with the strength and lightness of nylon, with the nylon at the core of the yarn and the merino wrapped around so only the merino fibre touches your skin. Nylon core merino gives extra durability, strength and recovery and remains lightweight. The single jersey knit structure gives this fabric mechanical stretch and great drape with a subtle texture due to the naturally occurring slubs throughout.
I also have been product testing this fabric since the summer. Some of my new Lady TBH’s are mixed with both this fabric and the ZQ.
Say the sleeves are the MN, Bodice ZQ or vice versa. The hoodie I made myself was like this, and I really enjoy it. Some of these fabrics are dead stock, so once they are gone from my studio, I can no longer re-order.
Dead Stock fabric comes from bigger fabric companies that didn’t use the whole production. It’s a great way to purchase fabric, I’m buying the surplus - makes it even more sustainable.
I took one of these tank tops to Mexico, hiked in 80 plus degree weather, it was fabulous.
THANKS for taking your time to read, I appreciate it, & of course please me let know if you need help or have a question. 🧡
Everything written below still stands from my original 2019 Blog Post.
I’m utterly ecstatic to be offering you all hand-made Merino Wool Clothing. 🤗
For 3 years now, I’ve been making hoodies for myself, Pitkin, and close friends. We absolutely love them for any adventure we go on in the Mountains. I have been wanting to share them with you, but I could never find a sustainable source for the fabric. Just this year, I’ve found a reliable source for Wool and I am happy to be able to finally share my hoodies with you. Stay tuned for more Merino designs coming as well…
If you are unfamiliar with Merino Wool, and why it makes such a great layer for outdoor activities, then read on…
Merino wool breathes and manages moisture better than any other fiber. For those unfamiliar, moisture wicking fabrics pull moisture away from your skin by absorbing it into the fibers. The moisture then moves through the fabric and evaporates through the exterior.
For the same reason merino wool keeps you comfortable by keeping you dry, it also encourages breathability. We’ve found the most breathable articles to be lightweight and thin, which makes sense because air can pass through easily, allowing the fabrics to dry out.
Merino naturally helps regulate body temperature, therefore, just like hemp, its designed to keep you warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.
My favorite layering system in the mountains is my Trail-Breaker hoodie and a wind jacket - top notch layering system for any adventure.
Merino turns the notion that wool is itchy and uncomfortable completely on its head. Merino fibers are much finer and softer than standard wool and easy to wear all day. A high-end merino shirt feels softer and lighter than cotton while outperforming it in warmth, moisture wicking, and temperature regulation. As a next to skin, merino wool is hard to beat.
One of the reasons that merino wool is so popular is its warmth relative to weight. The fabric has a natural loft that traps heat very efficiently between the fibers, making it warmer than a synthetic of the same weight. But it’s also good in the heat as merino regulates your body temperature really well. Arguably, it’s just as good of a summertime material as it is winter. My first choice for any active, outdoor activity is Merino Wool. I particularly love it for trail running, hiking, alpine rock climbing & skiing, mountain biking, and yoga because of its comfort across a range of temperatures. Sleeping in your hoodie is the best as well. 🙃
Another benefit is merino wool’s ability to insulate when wet. If you’re sweating heavily, the Trail-Breaker Hoodie (TBH) will still keep you warm and it dries quickly. If I sweated at all while breaking trail, I put on a layer over my TBH when it’s my turn to go to the back, and it’s dry by the time it’s my turn to break trail again.
Are you sick of wearing synthetic, activewear clothing that smells horrible after one use? I know I was.
Like Hemp, Wool is a porous fiber and breathes extremely well.
Because of wool’s ability to effectively manage moisture; Odor-causing bacteria don’t have the moist environment they need to thrive. Merino’s ability to absorb moisture without creating an environment to grow smelly bacteria is one of its “miracles.”
Merino Wool is a great choice for traveling in environments where laundry is a hard to a find option. It’s also great for multi-day adventures, as your body odor does not absorb into the fiber as well.
4 of my friends did a 3 week trip into the Arrigetch Range in AK this past August. Steph Williams wore her Trail-Breaker Hoodie every single day. She is not only a Mountain Guide, both here in the Methow Valley, and Alaska, Most importantly she’s the women behind the Cascade Wolverine Project.
This is her quote she made on Instagram about her Hoodie: “I slept in my Betsy merino wool hoodie three weeks straight on a climbing trip in AK last summer. It’s still in great shape. Best layer ever! Thanks for crafting these hoodies Betsy.”
2 summers ago when I was so lucky to spend a month in Chile & Argentina, I brought 2 TBH’s with me, Chile doesn’t have laundromats, only dry-cleaning services. I was never in a town long enough, or had extra clothes to spare to do that. I was so thankful to have my Merino with me, especially since we lived in an extremely small van for a month.
I gave my friend Will Nielson (the male model) a hoodie to test. He grew up in Stehekin, WA, with his father Bob who is a true advocate of wool. I thought Will would make a great test-piece because of this. I gave him the shirt, he wore it everyday for 3 weeks without washing, and still it did not stink. (He must smell like roses too right. 😅) I think I have Will hooked on the TBH!!!
Are you sold yet 😉
I’ve always said, “The 2 best fibers on the planet are Hemp & Wool - I’m so happy to be able to create high-quality, comfortable clothing out of both these materials.
~WEAR & CARE~
~How to Care for your TBH:
The Trail-Breaker hoodie is preshrunk - I wash the merino wool in cold water, and put in the dryer on low for a short amount of time to ensure this, before sewing every garment.
I do recommend Machine Wash COLD, Air Dry.
~Fit & Wear:
I am wearing an XS in the photos. Pitkin is wearing a large, Will is wearing an XL.
I have a small torso, and do like my shirts a little bit more fitted. If you are unsure of what size to order, please email me, and I am more than happy to help.
As a general rule, if you like fitted, either size down, or order your normal size. If you like a little looser, size up.
My TBH pattern uses the Raglan sleeve cut which naturally adds extra room to the bodice of the shirt. The diagonal seam of the “raglan” provides more room in the shoulder area giving maximum comfort and performance for the many activities you will find yourself doing in the Trail-Breaker Hoodie.
The only downfall I have found about Merino Wool, is it doesn’t last as long as my other fabrics I’ve been making clothing with for 18 years.
I’ve been sewing myself Merino clothing for 3 years now, and usually towards the end of the first year of HARD wear into my shirt, I’ve seen little holes develop in the fabric. If you’ve worn merino from any brand, you know this is a possibility.
I recommend being gentle when taking on and off, that way you’re not stressing those points of where you grab your shirt to do that - this will help with holes - as that’s where I usually see them develop.
As Always, Thanks for taking your time to read, and your dedicated support to buying hand-made and sustainably made clothing.