Mouton is the French word for sheep.
Mouton Fur is lambskin which has been processed to resemble the fur of another animal, especially beaver or seal. To produce Mouton Fur, the wool (hair) on the lambskin is sheared, straightened, treated and heat set to produce a moisture repellant finish. Mouton is often dyed brown to resemble Beaver, but it is also found in many other colors. Some Mouton Fur is also produce from Sheepskin. Selecting Skins for Mouton Fur
In the UK, Mouton Fur is called 'Beaver Lamb'.
The selection of premium Mouton requires skins with a covering of very dense, almost perfect, uniform wool. Quality of the pelt is less important than other skin selections, although considered should be given to ensure that the pelt is able to withstand the heat setting process. Mouton Fur is generally sourced from Shorn Lambs, although New Season / Spring Lamb Skin, and some Sheepskin can be used depending on the quality/price requirement.
- Lamb Skin: 0.25 inch Australian Shorn Lamb Skin generally becomes available in January, with wool length increasing each month up to 1.50 to 2.50+ inches until the season ends around August. Wool length between 0.25 and 1.50 inches generally produces the best results for Mouton Fur. Mouton is usually finished at a length of 6 to 8mm, and it is easier to assess wool quality in that region when the wool is shorter. Skins skins with shorter wool tend to have better Belly and Flank, providing higher yields. Shorn Lamb over 2.0 inches is more likely to produce open wool, and uneven characteristics, especially in the Belly and Flank areas, reducing Mouton yield.
Many of these skins are affected by seed damage, which means only a proportion of Australia’s Shorn Lamb can be used for garment applications. Light to Medium Seed is generally acceptable, which means that skins from older Lambs are usually used as seed damage and general pelt imperfections do not affect Mouton Fur Quality.
Spring Lamb Skins up to 3.40 inch wool length are suitable for Mouton Fur if well selected.
- Sheep Skin: can be used to produce lower grade Mouton (at a lower cost), however care must be taken to eliminate Rib from the selection, especially with fine wool merino, which may also have the tendency to provide weaker pelts, thick, heavier leather, and excessive fat in the skin, leaving the skin empty, and more susceptible to cracking or separation during the intense heat setting process.
- Faults such as Mushy Belly and Excessive Rib are considered a major imperfection for Mouton Fur.
- Best quality Mouton Fur is generally sourced from high grade livestock with an ideal Wool Count ranging from 54 to 58's. A high proportion of skins with Fine Merino Wool of 60's plus often display excessive Rib, and a Weaker Pelt.