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Women's Shearling Coat - Women’s Shearling Coats are Worth the Cost

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In very cold climates around the globe, people have worn coats made from animal skins since time began. While most wild animal furriers have been driven out of the marketplace to prevent extinction of animal species, domestic animals are raised for their skins. Market-age lambs are raised for hide that is tanned with the wool intact on the skin. Shearling lambskin is what most people call sheepskin. The distinction is important because sheepskin actually comes from a grown sheep, which is not as soft to the touch. Shearling is the industry term that means 100% wool from a young lamb. Only one tannery still operates in the United States so most leather product manufacturers acquire pelts from various tanneries around the globe. Spain and Iceland are to the two largest suppliers of shearling lambskin. A women’s shearling coat is specially made, has unique features, and lasts for years with the proper care.

Prior to sewing together the pieces of a women’s shearling coat, more than fifty preparatory steps are taken. Selection of matching pelts will give a realistic look to the coat, as though one lamb provided all the wool necessary for the coat. Consistent density of the wool is important so that each sleeve, and the front and back of the coat, has the same weight and feel to the consumer. Streaks of color within the wool are coveted because the pelts naturally have such variations. Pattern cutting is done by hand with a very sharp knife by a skilled craftsman with years of experience. Approximately thirty to fifty percent of the purchased shearling pelts are used by the coat manufacturers. Defects in a pelt mean that it cannot be used in a high-quality product. Some of these pelts are sold to the makers of smaller products who can cut the imperfections out of the pelt and use the rest. Because of the extensive effort to collect matching shearling pelts and create a coat, most retailers will charge more than $1000 U.S. for a women’s shearling coat.

When the pelts are cut and then sewn together, some loose wool fibers can be caught in the seams and will work out of the seam as the coat is worn, which causes some concern that the coat is shedding. Natural wool does not ever shed and will last for years. Shearling pelts of the highest quality come from tanneries around the world with the reputation for handling the raw skins with care and achieving consistent colors in the tanned pelts. After the shearling pelts are sewn together, the coat is given an outer shell of glove-suede leather. Many women’s shearling coat patterns include interior pockets for securing personal belongings. Deep hand pockets create warmth for the gloved or bare hand. Large cuffs warm the wrists and prevent cold air from entering the sleeve. A turned collar and cuffs show off the beautiful shearling inside the coat.

The most frequent question concerning a women’s shearling coat concerns the care of the coat. A leather dry cleaner can clean the coat without damage, but should be used only if the coat is soiled with visible stains or dirt. Water resistance is important so that water stains from inclement will not remain. Natural leather sheds water and only improper care can change that quality. If the coat has been worn outside in the rain or snow, allow the coat to dry at room temperature, and brush water spots off after the leather has dried completely. During the warm season, store the coat in a dry place because mildew that penetrates leather can never be removed completely. Wrap the coat in paper or store it in a cardboard box, but never wrap the coat in plastic for storage. Moths are not a threat to leather so insect damage should not be a problem.

Shearling is considered stronger than any cloth, warmer than goose or duck down, and lighter in weight than fur. This soft and supple leather is perfect for women’s shearling coats. Although the price of the shearling coat may exceed the normal budget, the purchase of a coat made by a reputable manufacturer will probably be the final coat purchase made. These coats are meant to last for many years and can be passed to the next generation when appropriate.

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