Now that autumn is firmly ensconced, I turn my attention once again to those lovely angora sweaters. I love angora sweaters, but my special devotion lies with vintage angora! You see, most of the new angora sweaters that you find today are flimsy, thin, and in a blend with about five other fibers, leaving the angora content around 10%. They tend to pill very easily, and are not soft, furry, or have that extreme hairy fluffiness that vintage angora has.
I am always on the hunt for quality vintage angora. The best decade for FABULOUS angora sweaters was the 1980s. OMG, those sweaters are just the bomb! Usually made in Korea (where I think the best angora comes from), and in incredibly bright colors, with bold shoulder pads and ornate beading and embroidery embellishments. Just completely out there in that bold 80s way!
But the most fabulous thing about the 80s angora is that is almost always 80%, 90% or 100% pure angora rabbit hair. It is just incredibly thick and plush, with long fluffy hair. The softness is not to be believed! I have sensitive skin, and cannot wear wool or mohair next to my skin. But angora (and cashmere) is so soft and nonirritating against the skin. Very warm too, without the heaviness of wool.
I gently wash my vintage angora sweaters in lukewarm water and Woolite. I air dry, and then carefully comb out any pills with a fine tooth comb. Never, never, NEVER dry clean angora! The natural rabbit hair was meant to be washed, not bathed in chemical solvent. It will turn out sparking clean, soft, glossy and fluffy.
The vintage 1980s white angora bolero and pink angora sweater shown are two that I have sold recently. They are off to new homes with appreciative angora lovers.
So don’t be afraid of angora! It is truly a glorious fiber, brought to you by mother nature.
I cannot agree with you more! I am always hunting the vintage angoras!!!
They are getting harder and harder to find, to be sure! It is always a thrill when I do find one.
I agree that hand washing angora is the ONLY way! I have had dry cleaned angora in the past and after a few trips to the toxic wash it becomes noticeably becomes less soft and flashing occurs threw-out the fabric. By flashing I mean balding where the rabbit hair is eroded from the surface.
Very few people will recommend hand washing angora, you will only here this from the pro’s or people who are enthusiast or these beautiful sweaters.
I have hand washed at least a hundred or more as I sell them on eBay and not once has one shrunken. I use whoolite Delicates Care in a supper cold water. No salt for color running as I wash everything solo or exact same color together. I roll them in a towel and to remove excess dampness then dry flat.
At this stage in the cleaning I have actually taken pre-owned sweaters that were somewhat shrunken and worked them a few time with a firm pull in the direction needed and gained back a good inch or more to length that is noticeable after drying. Experiment on old sweater please and at your own risk, I am just sharing my experiences and NOT making recommendations to anyone.
Angora is actually pretty tough in a lot of ways. I have even dried them in the sun in the Spring and early Fall when it is cool and breezy and wow they look AND smell Heavenly! NEVER in HOT sun though, never!!!
Sleeping in angora: I personally enjoy sleeping in the comfort of an oversize angora pull-over and for those of you with an affinity for angora who enjoy the same this can be fine in the winter months when you do not get too hot or sweat a lot. I found out that body heat moisture from your skin is much like washing in hot water and will definitely shrink your sweater so be careful and choose one that’s older for sleeping in.
Thank for listening and hope you’re all enjoying the comfort and feel of a soft sweater today!
Thanks for your thoughts, Magda!
I have wondered about the bald patches I see on some vintage angora, so thanks for telling me it’s from (EVIL!) dry cleaning. Dry cleaning ruins natural fibers, and it just pains me when people do it.
I am getting a stash of angora sweaters ready for selling this autumn! I will be in full hand washing sweater mode soon. I love washing angora sweaters – it is just so satisfying to see how beautiful they turn out with a gentle wash.
I’ll have to try sleeping in angora this winter – it sounds great!
Great to hear! I too really enjoy washing them, not sure what but there is something very satisfying about it. The best part is when its all dry and you give one final brush and walla! I wear them often hoping to bring them back into style. These days so many are wearing the flannel pajamas and t-shirts makes me nuts. Will put some class back in this country!!
Best of luck with you selling!!
I purchased several Korean Angora sweaters in Korea when I lived there in the 80s. The merchants were always adamant about only washing with shampoo. I have done so since purchase and still enjoy wearing all of them. I have worn them since 1986 when I purchased them!! I recommend shampoo, lay flat to dry.
I now use shampoo to wash my angora sweaters too. It works so well – it is hair, after all!
Yes! Angora is the best and I too love the way it feels when you wear it. I have quite a few of them in my closet and can’t wait for the colder months. I have a particular 100% oversize angora sweater that I love to sleep in when it gets chilly. A gentle hand wash in cold water does the trick!
Oh that 100% angora oversize sweater sounds heavenly to sleep in! Like a cloud 🙂
Isn’t it amazing how soft and fluffy a gentle hand wash makes them?
I love this information you shared with us. I am waiting for your next post. Keep it up. What a great idea! thanks. 🙂