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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I recently got a sweater with an unusual blend, 45% nylon, 30% cotton, 25% merino wool. (from JoS. A Bank's, 1905 Collection)

Being very interested in nylon blends and how they perform, I thought to carefully evaluate it. This might be of interest to others thinking about getting these sort of blends. Now obviously 45% nylon is far higher of a percentage than any common blend, but what it will do is give you a good idea what sort of properties nylon confers in a blend and what effects it has.

It's about 70% as warm as acrylic, and breathes just slightly less than twice as well as acrylic, although I would still say its breathability level is only medium.
The material is equally soft as the level of polyester fleece. Which is to say it's not especially soft but medium in softness.
It has some slight oily feeling like synthetic acrylic, but half as much.

It is definitely warmer than a 50/50 cotton/polyester hoodie.

Having a high level of nylon, that should make the material very durable and resistant to wear. Nylon is very soft and almost silky.

I'm kind of surprised the material is not softer. I'm guessing the roughness must be coming from the wool? Merino is supposed to be a lot smoother than regular wool though. I'm surprised how much this feels like cable-knit low quality acrylic. (From the feel, I would have guessed 70% acrylic, 20% cotton and 10% regular wool) It probably has to do with the weave.

The level of sheen is 85% as high as acrylic, but it strangely looks more wool and cotton-like than that 85% would suggest. (That is, despite the sheen, it doesn't look like 85% acrylic, maybe more like half acrylic)

I think nylon is supposed to be 79-87% as insulating as wool. (whereas acrylic might be more like 87 to 95% as much)
In another thread, I did a rough calculation estimate suggesting nylon might have between 20% less to 56% more of a combined factor of breathability with warmth as cotton does. Which doesn't really say anything, but might suggest the two may perform at least fairly similarly in cold weather situations. (That is, if you layered enough cotton to be as warm as nylon, how well would all those layers breathe, compared to the thinner nylon layer)

Of course, adding cotton into the blend is a way to help add breathability without adding much warmth.

This sweater feels exactly like what it was meant for, a good blend for a young adult, that will be easy to wash, and doesn't require too much finnicky care.

There are many sweaters that combine a high percentage of acrylic into a blend but this one is interesting in that it instead uses nylon. I can tell that the material has a bit more effortless flexibility than an acrylic blend material in the same situation would.
 

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I've never known nylon to be used as an insulating fabric (in place of acrylic or wool), though it does handle moisture better than cotton (absorbs more, dries faster).

I've tried several different qualities of wool, including some of the finest wool made. Most are too itchy for me to wear it at the skin-layer. I prefer acrylic over wool for base-layer garments, such as Uniqlo's Heattech line.

Here's some information from a very old thread from member @Tilton that might be helpful:

Nylon will not "cut" wool fibers when spun and woven together in a sweater/coat. Maybe, if a coat were made alternating nylon-only strands with wool-only strands this could possibly happen in a very limited number of highly unlikely circumstances, but the wool and nylon are blended prior to spinning into yarn.

All else being equal, an 80/20 coat will be more durable, shrink less, mat less, and retain shape better, and be less "scratchy" than a 100% wool garment. It is all about the physical make up of the fibers - nylon doesn't stretch nearly as much and will return to the original shape unlike wool, the fibers are finer with no nap so it is impossible to felt itself together, and nylon is indisputably more durable and abrasion-resistant than wool so a blended item will be harder-wearing than 100% wool.

Of course, this is assuming that identical garments are made using identical methods and fibers (with one having the addition of nylon), which is often not the case.
Maybe expert @Alexander Kabbaz knows?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I think the main reason they used 45% nylon is to try to replace acrylic. They were probably trying to make a high quality sweater that would last (looking presentable) a long time and not pill.
Of course you can't use higher percentages of nylon because nylon is very flexible, has a lot of drape, lacks any rigidity, and would lack any wool-like volume and thickness (although there does exist faux mohair and angora nylon).
It seems like a very experimental blend to me, or something made from some type of uncommon specialty yarn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Nylon will not "cut" wool fibers when spun and woven together in a sweater/coat. Maybe, if a coat were made alternating nylon-only strands with wool-only strands this could possibly happen in a very limited number of highly unlikely circumstances, but the wool and nylon are blended prior to spinning into yarn.
I'm looking very carefully, and the yarn seems to be a single type of yarn. The level of sheen seems to be very homogenous.

The sticker price of this sweater was kind of expensive $129.50 (but I got it at a steep discount). The label says it was made in Madagascar.

It appears that the threads used must indeed be a homogenous blend of nylon, cotton and wool.
(That is if the label is indeed correct and it actually is 45% nylon rather than acrylic)

I know what a cotton wool nylon blend looks like with separate nylon threads because I have one of those sweaters too. In that case, the nylon appears to be used as more of a scaffold netting, throughout into which the wool yarn is woven.

I've also seen 50/50 nylon/acrylic yarn in a knitting store, and the fiber looks very homogenous, without distinct separate nylon fibers.

So while these type of nylon blends may be unusual in sweaters, I don't think they are impossible.
 

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@SoCal2warm - Definitely curious as to how they blend nylon, cotton, and wool into a single fiber.

Maybe something like this (though I don't know how they'd do it with nylon)?


Or maybe they blend cotton & wool into one fiber, and then either make into a pre-spun yarn, or they blend it when they're making the fabric itself.

Quite interesting.
 

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