Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jantzen Kharafleece Sweaters

I've seen the term "Kharafleece" in many Jantzen ads and on the labels of lots of their sweaters. I've often wondered what the term meant. I finally got a clue when reading the ad above from 1954. In the 1950s, sweater companies would name their exclusive yarn blends as a marketing strategy. Garland had "Dreamspun", Nan Dorsey had "Fabulon", Darlene had "Melospun", etc, etc.

What is "Kharafleece"? It was Jantzen's exclusive blend of lambswool, Vicara, and nylon yarn that was mothproofed by Mitin. Here's an earlier post of mine about Mitin. Vicara was a fiber produced by the Virginia-Carolina Corporation. It was made from the extruded plant protein Zein, which comes from corn. Vicara was soft as cashmere, washable, and took dyes well. It had to be blended with other fibers, though, as it was not as durable. Vicara production was discontinued in 1958 due to the advent of better performing synthetic fibers. If you have a Kharafleece sweater by Jantzen, you can properly date it prior to 1959.

6 comments:

Trudy Callan said...

You have an amazing blog. I am adding you to my blog roll.

Trudy
www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

K.Line said...

Fascinating! I'm becoming ever more gripped by the history of textiles...

Gladys said...

I am so digging those outfits. I want one of each. I love that they called it Kharafleece. just exactly what animal is a Khara? Is it kin to the Nauga-hide?

(oh and my word verification was skin-gin. how funny is that?)

Anonymous said...

I just picked up a Kharafleece sweater today at an estate. This was incredibly helpful in both dating it and identifying the fibers for cleaning! Thank you!

Lindsey G said...

Thank you for this. I picked up a black Jantzen Kharafleece dress at Goodwill yesterday, it fits beautifully, I want to make sure I take good care of it. They say it's washable, but any tips? I'm thinking cold water, delicate cycle, maybe turn it inside out, lay flat to dry?

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion said...

Lindsey, I would hand wash, not machine. I use a product called Eucalan for all my vintage sweaters.

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