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Thread: (Used) Austrian Heavyweight Wool Sweater, Olive Drab

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    Default (Used) Austrian Heavyweight Wool Sweater, Olive Drab

    Product
    Translated tag (via some brief Googling)
    (front) textile / productions / company with limited liability / city name / 10 44 / 100% virgin wool
    (back) army property / 1985

    Materials
    100% virgin wool (rib-knit and boiled)
    ???% cotton patches on top for durability

    Color
    OD green

    Size
    L (according to SG)

    Measurements
    21.5" (55 cm) armpit to armpit
    33" (84 cm) waist/hem circumference
    26.5" (68 cm) center back length from base of hood
    32" (81 cm) sleeve length from center back

    Wool fabric
    From what I've read about boiled wool at Wikipedia, it sounds like this fabric was mechanically knitted in large sheets, then boiled, then cut and sewn into a sweater. This makes sense, since I suppose it would be hard to make the wool shrink to the exact size you wanted. Anyway, the result is a thick, ribbed wool fabric about the weight of a wool blanket, the advantage of knitting being stretchiness (with of course more stretch perpendicular to the ribbing). The cost, however, is breathability; this sweater lets through more than twice as much wind as a similar-weight pullover I made from an Italian army blanket. The fabric feels pretty poky on the skin (after all, virgin = long fibers), and I can't tell if the boiling removed the wool's natural oils (anyone know more about this process?). If the lanolin is gone, then the pokiness might be fixed by treating the wool.

    Cotton patches
    SG says "cotton," but I claim "cotton blend." My guess is cotton/nylon, but it could be cotton/polyester or something else. I have mixed feelings about these. Obviously they add durability to the shoulders/elbows, which is nice for, say, wearing a backpack on this. But two things: (1) they make those areas quite stiff, causing for instance the shoulders to hang a bit strangely, and (2) since they are sewn on top of the wool, the sweater cannot stretch in those areas. If I were keeping this sweater, I would remove them. They look relatively easy to remove; just two lines of a running stitch, and if you go from the cotton side it should protect the wool while you're poking around with the seam-ripper.

    Cut/fit
    Although I've never purchased other military sweaters, I think this follows the typical design: relatively tight waist and short arms, with a lot of material in the armpits. Like all sweaters of this neck/collar design, the neckhole wants to travel down your shoulders when you have the buttons undone. I won't say much more about fit because this sweater was too small for me (6', 130#), and in any case I have a feeling it would fit better if I had a bigger chest and shorter arms.

    Cleanliness/smell
    Although used, this sweater arrived in a very clean and nice condition. The cotton patches looked brand new, and the entire sweater had virtually no smell (viz. did not smell like naphthalene). In several places, the cuff material was beginning to separate from the sweater (again, the sweater parts are sewn together). However, they could be sewn shut again relatively easily, ideally with wool yarn.

    Verdict
    I won't keep this sweater, but if I could have gotten an XL or XXL I would have. The fabric makes a very warm and heavy sweater while retaining the breathability and flexibility of rib knitting. Proportionally, it is a bit short in the arms, but this is less of a problem with winter clothing due to gauntleted handwear (not to mention that the problem is usually too much fabric near the wrist). Secondly, 100% virgin wool for $23 is unreal. I suppose I'll find someone to give it to, or maybe put it in the "goodie box" if I ever get around to signing up for that.

    More pictures

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    Looks like a good product. Are they cut small or are you just a big guy and should have gotten an XL? I'm 6ft 235lbs and wear either a large or XL depending on the cut. How would you rate the sizing?

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    Well, the measurements are from the sweater I got (size L), but I don't know how tight people like these. If you want it tight-fitting, a L might be borderline okay for you. I was intending to wear it sort of like a coat, over a midweight baselayer (for example level2 ECW fleece), so for this I would have liked an XXL, I think. (SG only has up to size L.)

    I see neither size nor brand on the tag (maybe 44-inch chest from "10 44", but why would Austria use inches?), so I don't know how SG determined sizing. The size L that I have is consistent with other WWII-ish European sizing, at least in my experience. For example, one wearing a size L Swedish army anorak would want this sweater in size L to wear underneath.

    My feeling is that you would also want a larger size than SG offers. (And let me know if you happen to find larger sizes somewhere else with similar pricing.)
    Last edited by pik; 06-19-2010 at 01:22 PM. Reason: clarity

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    pik,
    thanks for the review.

    I saw one of these at a flea market and was considering getting it.

    This wool sweater-do you think if you hand washed it you could gently stretch the wool whilst wet for a more looser garment fit?

    I had a woolly pully made in UK sweater ages ago and as long as you got the sweater a little bit bigger than your actual size I found it to be quite good-warm. Did have to wear a long sleeved cotton top underneath it but it would keep you warm.

    Sadly, I made a slip on the washing instructions and it shrank...much smaller so ended up giving it away.

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    Forget about the recruiting posters,I have found that with a wool pully always go 1 size larger.Wool and air make very good insulation.

    I'am a Gerontologist,Look it up
    Mischief
    Last edited by mischief; 06-20-2010 at 10:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by traveller View Post
    This wool sweater-do you think if you hand washed it you could gently stretch the wool whilst wet for a more looser garment fit?
    Seems like that might open up the knitting a little too much and you'd end up with a double-duty wool shirt/net , but I'm new here and don't know much... I bet hushnel could give you a higher-confidence answer because he knits sweaters.

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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by pik View Post
    I bet hushnel could give you a higher-confidence answer because he knits sweaters.
    I did not know that:The man is very talented

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    Quote Originally Posted by mischief View Post
    I did not know that:The man is very talented
    Yep! http://bushcraftusa.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9771

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    Default got some XL's

    I saw that SG had XL's available, so I got two. Both arrived in what I would call "like new" condition. One is the same maker, same thing; the other's tag says "1982 / RACK / 9853 Gmünd" besides the obligatory "Heereseigentum" and "Reine Schur Wolle." Gmünd is a town.



    The Gmünd has no epaulets, which saves me the trouble of taking them off. It has a velcro bar on the front right breast and a patch on the left arm that says "Österreich Bundesheer" ("Austrian Army").



    Gmünd "XL" measurements
    23" (58 cm) armpit to armpit
    32" (81 cm) waist/hem circumference
    28" (71 cm) center back length from base of hood
    33" (84 cm) sleeve length from center back

    Haugschlag "XL" measurements
    23" (58 cm) armpit to armpit
    31" (79 cm) waist/hem circumference
    27.5" (70 cm) center back length from base of hood
    32.5" (83 cm) sleeve length from center back

    The wool of both of these feels way better than my first (L) - I didn't even bother wearing another shirt when trying them on. The Haugschlag has two pinkish spots that look like bleach action, but I don't see any structural damage between the two. I maybe didn't measure perfectly all three times , but these are a bit larger overall and I will keep them.

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    I've had my eye on these for about a year now.
    Thanks to your fine review I pulled the trigger, and an XL is on it's way to "Santa in the brown truck".
    I'm looking forward to it's arrival on my porch!

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