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Tell me about Fabrics

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
So I'm still researching getting a MTM suit, sportcoat, trousers, shirts, etc. I've done some searching, but found nothing that's comprehensive. Can someone direct me to a thread/link/book, or just give me a general method for evaluating suit fabrics? What is the number after 'Wool'? I'm guessing it's thread count, in which case, higher number means better quality, I'd guess (among the same material). But what is the general scale? I'm also wanting to get a cotton or linen summer suit made. How are those fabrics ranked? I am sure this question has arisen tens of thousands of times on SF, but I don't think my searching was effective. I know this is an enormous can of worms, but I have always been into finer fabrics, etc. Also, do finer materials necessarily have lower life expectancies or durabilities? Thanks for any input. PS I've read through A Flusser's 'Dressing the Man,' and I've looked over his included swatches, but I didn't find them totally helpful, other than to give me an idea of the seasonality of fabrics.
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sartorian View Post
I've done some searching, but found nothing that's comprehensive. Can someone direct me to a thread/link/book, or just give me a general method for evaluating suit fabrics?
Are you sure you searched all that thoroughly? I recall dozens of threads on this.

Quote:
What is the number after 'Wool'? I'm guessing it's thread count, in which case, higher number means better quality, I'd guess (among the same material). But what is the general scale?
It's not thread count. It refers to micronage. It's pretty well explained here:

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...ighlight=super

Quote:
I'm also wanting to get a cotton or linen summer suit made. How are those fabrics ranked?
Ranked how? They are not expensive, but great for certain limited uses. They wrinkle and don't perform like wool, but are nice for summer.

Quote:
Also, do finer materials necessarily have lower life expectancies or durabilities?
All other things being equal, yes.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
Are you sure you searched all that thoroughly? I recall dozens of threads on this.


It's not thread count. It refers to micronage. It's pretty well explained here:

http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...ighlight=super

Thanks, Manton. Reading that thread--and it's title--I understand why my search wasn't turning up a lot. I hadn't thought of putting in 'definitions.' I appreciate the direction, I'll bookmark and read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by manton

Ranked how? They are not expensive, but great for certain limited uses. They wrinkle and don't perform like wool, but are nice for summer.


But I know there are many different kinds of linen and cotton. How does one determine its quality?

Is a good summer suit then one of these light-colored grey or blue wools, in a lighter fabric?

Thanks again. I appreciate the direct.
post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sartorian View Post
But I know there are many different kinds of linen and cotton. How does one determine its quality?
For suiting cotton, I don't know. I have cotton and seersucker and really did not put much thought into the quality. The tailors who made them seemed to think that cotton suitings are what they are; not much differentiation. When it comes to heavier corduroys and moleskins, quality matters more, but you're not going to want a suit out of those.

The quality of linen varies widely. Irish linen tends to be tougher but less supple. Italian linen is softer but wrinkles even worse and doesn't last. For a suit I would recommend W. Bill linens first and foremost. Holland & Sherry linens are also good. I would recommend getting heavier goods as they wear better; the drawback is that they are also hotter.

Quote:
Is a good summer suit then one of these light-colored grey or blue wools, in a lighter fabric?
Tropical wool is a lot more practical. Cotton and linen are suits to get after you have the basics covered.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the answers. You covered what I needed to know, I appreciate it. BTW, one last: the linens you mentioned (W. Bill and the other), where does one go searching for fabric of the sort? Any fabric store, or the actual suitmaker, online?
post #6 of 9
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sartorian View Post

What is the number after 'Wool'? I'm guessing it's thread count, in which case, higher number means better quality, I'd guess (among the same material).


The micronage count is really just a gimmick. The higher the count the more of a thinner and bunny soft fabric you get and with it prices rise exponentially. However, most of us feel that the result is a tissue papery thin fabric that sadly lack durability and drape. Many here will avoid super counts higher than 100 (and definitely no more than 130) for this reason. Marketers however know well that one way to dupe buyers into thinking that something is "better" is by charging higher prices for it.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Manton View Post
For suiting cotton, I don't know. I have cotton and seersucker and really did not put much thought into the quality. The tailors who made them seemed to think that cotton suitings are what they are; not much differentiation. When it comes to heavier corduroys and moleskins, quality matters more, but you're not going to want a suit out of those.

The quality of linen varies widely. Irish linen tends to be tougher but less supple. Italian linen is softer but wrinkles even worse and doesn't last. For a suit I would recommend W. Bill linens first and foremost. Holland & Sherry linens are also good. I would recommend getting heavier goods as they wear better; the drawback is that they are also hotter.


Tropical wool is a lot more practical. Cotton and linen are suits to get after you have the basics covered.

Some of the linens in the recent (2006?) Dormeuil books were really nice. They were really substantial but very soft.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info all. Mr. Kabbaz, I have begun to read your discourse, and it's quite a help.

I will also look for the Darmeuil book mentioned above.
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