The long, lustrous hair of the Angora goat is mixed with wool and woven into a spongy, soft, plain-weave fabric.
Mohair refers to the hair of the Angora goat and to the fabric made from that fiber. It is one of the oldest fibers in use.
Mohair fabric may be knitted or woven; the yarn is popular with hand knitters for its high loft and lovely appearance. Woven mohair fabric is lightweight and fluffy, with a lustrous surface. It doesn't wrinkle, which makes it a good choice for travel garments. The fabric is silky to the touch and warm because of the insulating properties of the yarn. It takes dye well and is strong and durable, with great resiliency.
Mohair alone is more expensive than wool, falling into the category of luxury fibers like cashmere, silk, or camel's hair. Mohair is sometimes blended with wool or nylon. Its characteristics include a luxurious, soft hand, resiliency, high insulating qualities for warmth, resistance to fading, relatively light weight for the warmth it provides, resistance to matting and pilling. Kid mohair, from young goats, is considered the finest quality.
Mohair fabric is used for sweaters, coats and jackets; scarves, gloves and hats; and blankets or lap robes. Heavier, coarser grades of mohair fiber, from older goats, is made into material for rugs and carpets.
Mohair is one of the oldest fibers, its use dating back to the 8th century. Charles V (1500 - 1558) was thought to be the first to introduce Angora goats into Europe.
Angora goats are thought to have originated in Tibet. Over time they were exported to Turkey, where their hair was used in the manufacture of fabrics. Mohair in fiber form was later exported from Turkey to England, where it was spun into yarns and then exported to other textile-producing countries. Until around 1850, the Turkish province of Ankara was the center and main producer of Angora goats.
In the mid- to late 1800s, demand for mohair fiber became so great that it led to crossbreeding Angora goats with common goats to increase fiber production.
Angora goats were exported to South Africa in 1838, to the United States in 1849, and to Australia and New Zealand in the late 1800s. Much of today's mohair comes from South Africa in raw form and is converted to fabric in Europe, Great Britain, and Asia. The two largest mohair-producing areas today are South Africa and Texas.
The name mohair was adapted into the English language from the Arabic word mukhayyar.
Tips & Tricks
Preshrink by holding the iron just above the fabric and shooting steam through it.
Use the "with nap" guidelines when laying out the fabric and pattern pieces.
Bind seam allowances with lightweight silk or organza. Bind the hem with a Hong Kong finish.
Press over a needle board. Press lightly on the wrong side only, covering the fabric with a press cloth and setting the iron on the wool setting.
To hide seamlines on the outside of the garment, gently brush the nap of the fabric over the well of the seam.