December 19, 2014

Selecting fabrics for suits



Thought your bespoke suit had to be all-wool? Think again. You have a range of options, with your ultimate choice depending on the time of year, weight and how much care you want to lavish on your suit.

Non-wool suit fabrics

Take the non-wool route and you have four main options: linen, cotton, silk and mohairs.

Linen is a classic summer fabric. It looks great at a garden party or wedding – cocktail in hand – or in tropical climates where its light feel takes the edge off the heat.

On the downside, linen can wrinkle easily and needs plenty of care. Darker shades can fade in direct sunlight.
A cotton suit will allow your skin to breathe, so it’s a good choice for the summer. As it’s a natural fiber, it feels pleasant next to the skin. However, like linen, cotton suits can wrinkle easily. That said, the crumpled look can be quite appealing.

For a wrinkle-free and cost-effective suit, try mohair. It’s a silk-like fabric or yarn that comes from the Angora goat. The mohair suit is a light cloth with an attractive sheen and lustre and a soft and silky texture.

And silk? Silk is a pure fabric with soft fibres that breathe well. They keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. Silk are also available in various weights, so you can wear heavier fabrics in cool weather and lighter fabrics in hot weather.

Wool suit fabrics

Wool fabrics can be processed using worsted or woolen yarn. Worsted is spun tightly, for a strong and smooth feel; woolen yarn is weaker and bulkier.

Another option is tweed, a warm fabric that’s hardwearing and a good choice for the winter. Tweed has a coarse texture and often comes in checks.

A good choice for sports jackets is herringbone. The pattern of this fabric is a broken weave, shaped as its name implies like the bones of a herring. This fabric is less popular now and enjoyed its heyday back in the middle of the last century.

Flannel is a middleweight fabric that comes twill or plain weaved. Ideal for the winter, it can be produced by worsted or woolen yarn. Even though flannel is a soft fabric, it’s long-lasting and has a classic, timeless feel.

Virgin wool has never been previously spun or woven and is taken straight from the lamb’s fleece. With no recycled wool, it has a silky feel.

Merino wool comes from Merino sheep and is finer than worsted. It’s a short, thin fiber that many consider to be premium wool.

Lambs’ wool is taken from very young lambs, to give a very fine and soft feel. You can wear lambs’ wool all year round as it’s comfortable and allows your skin to breathe.