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Unfunded Liabilities: a/k/a The Cloth Thread - Page 1192

post #17866 of 20236
I have a terrific Zegna lighter than navy blue cotton seersucker fabric. Feels like a lightweight wool, I think I posted it here before. Will get it made up eventually. Wool seersucker seems gimmicky to me. It's supposed to be a carefree, easy going summer fabric.
post #17867 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post


Wait, I'm not sure I understand. Why would the poly-blend not face the same wear issues?

@jerrybrowne actually just kindly emailed me some photos of Caccioppoli's navy seersuckers. Those are a 99/ 1 cotton-poly blend.
Yea, I don't get it. There's a long history of machine washable jackets, but I've never understood why that wouldn't mess up the canvassing, haircloth, padding, felt, etc inside. Wouldn't those things shrink at different rates?

It's a nice idea in concept, but I can't imagine throwing a (structured) tailored jacket in the wash.


I think polyester resists fading better than cotton.  Am I wrong?  I had some old poly/blend shirts from places like Gant, Hathaway, etc. that lasted a long time and didn't fade much.  I have 20-something yr old 100% poly workout clothes that have been washed a lot and faded little.  I probably have more experience w/ polyester than others here :embar:.

 

Deconstructed is the way to go imo for coolness, but if someone wanted something w/ more structure, I'd imagine you could preshrink everything (canvas, lining, etc.) before making up the garment.

 

 

If you guys didn't see the Wash Post article I linked to above, I highly recommend it.  Some more interesting stuff from the Robb Report here:

Quote:

 

Seersucker: Pucker Up

Cool, comfortable, easy to care for, and genuinely classic, seersucker epitomizes what warm-weather clothing should be. With so many redeeming qualities, it is difficult to understand how the fabric has struggled for survival.

 

From the Hindi word sirsaker, which is literally translated as milk and sugar, seersucker first became popular when it was used for silk pajamas and nightshirts worn by the British Raj in India. The fabric’s crinkly texture results from the various slackening processes that the threads undergo during weaving. Indian weavers referred to these cloths as homespun, and much pride went into the handwork.

The cotton seersucker suit as we know it first surfaced in New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century and quickly became the suit of choice for wealthy Southern plantation owners. Unopposed to the wrinkles, these gentlemen were no doubt attracted to the fabric’s light weight, as well as the meager $10 price tag for a complete suit.

However, among Northerners, save for a smattering of style-conscious Princetonians, the seersucker suit was mostly regarded with snobbish disdain, particularly by New Yorkers unwilling to sacrifice a crisp crease for comfort. Above the Mason-Dixon Line, seersucker was shrugged off as a poor man’s fabric better left to the South.


As the 1940s unfolded, the seersucker suit, oddly enough, began to win favor along the northeastern seaboard, even becoming something of a status symbol in such stalwart business cities as Washington, D.C., and New York. During the early 1950s, an industrious New Orleans clothier named Joseph Haspel developed a seersucker suit that could be washed and worn without pressing. Haspel blended polyester and cotton to create a seersucker cloth that retained its shape even after rigorous machine washings. A showman by nature, Haspel demonstrated his fabric breakthrough at a Florida convention of tailored clothing buyers. He called a press conference on a beach and, as the story goes, walked into the ocean up to his neck wearing one of his new suits. Later that evening, Haspel wore the same suit, silencing even the most seasoned cynics. Wrinkle-resistant seersucker was born, and Haspel would forever be known as the father of the washable seersucker suit. 

Hollywood soon lent its influence in promoting seersucker as a stylish suit fabric. Who could forget the derring-do of James Cagney in A Lion in the Streets or the cool nonchalance of Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch. Gregory Peck, at his forthright best in To Kill a Mockingbird, entered the courtroom clad in a seersucker suit replete with wrinkles.

The newest look in seersucker jackets is the high-roll, three-button, single-breasted model. Yet double-breasted, peaked-lapel versions with either four or six buttons are still very popular.


While blue and white remains the classic color combination, many designers are offering seersucker in more unusual shades that evoke another era—pale gray, ecru, and dusty rose, for example.

The contemporary seersucker suit always looks appropriate with a simple bow tie and would not be complete without a jaunty pocket square of linen or cotton peeking out from the breast pocket. But a more modern way to wear it would be sans tie with a white or pale-colored cotton T-shirt. We can’t think of anything cooler for the dog day.

post #17868 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by edmorel View Post

I have a terrific Zegna lighter than navy blue cotton seersucker fabric. Feels like a lightweight wool, I think I posted it here before. Will get it made up eventually. Wool seersucker seems gimmicky to me. It's supposed to be a carefree, easy going summer fabric.

I can see that, but most seersuckers are in lighter colors or earth tones, which age in a much more charming way. I'm not sure a navy cotton jacket would have that easy going, carefree look after a few years. It sounds like it would look splotchy and old.

I have a pair of navy chinos that have been OK, but they also don't get as much wear as I assume I would put into a jacket.
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

I think polyester resists fading better than cotton.  Am I wrong?  I had some old poly/blend shirts from places like Gant, Hathaway, etc. that lasted a long time and didn't fade much.  I have 20-something yr old 100% poly workout clothes that have been washed a lot and faded little.  I probably have more experience w/ polyester than others here shog%5B1%5D.gif.

I don't actually know. The only poly-blend garment I have -- aside from workout clothes -- is that infamous SG shambray. It hasn't faded, but shirts generally don't anyway.

Adding a lot of polyester to a tailored jacket just seems unappealing though. One or two percent is OK, but I sort of imagine that won't do much to the original argument mentioned above.
post #17869 of 20236

I think faded navy seersucker would be better than faded navy cotton twill.  I have a navy suit that's cotton/linen, and acc. to the Jacknife guys, it was dyed w/ natural indigo.  It's faded a lot, but aged well imo.  I should take a pic of that.  Maybe tomorrow.  Looks like faded denim or chambray, which of course starts out navy, and yet looks good faded.  I don't think I'd want navy seersucker to fade that much, but I also wouldn't want it dyed w/ natural indigo.

 

As an aside re. earth tones and charm, I almost ordered a dark brown corduory suit, but Matt S said it would look like poop when faded.  

 

I have zero aversion to polyester, other than it isn't very biodegradable.  My favorite chinos, for example, are old Navy (the military branch, not the mall store) surplus ones that are poly/cotton.  

post #17870 of 20236
The Armoury had a very interesting jacket made by Ring a couple of years ago that was a navy wool with an interesting "seersucker" effect. It was really a stunning and very interesting jacket. I think there is a picture of it on their blog. Or maybe if someone from the Armoury reads this thread, he can post a picture.
post #17871 of 20236
Poly = lousy in hot weather.

I am intrigued by that wool seersucker.
post #17872 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

As an aside re. earth tones and charm, I almost ordered a dark brown corduory suit, but Matt S said it would look like poop when faded.

I have a dark brown corduroy suit that I like a lot, although I think tan ages better.
post #17873 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Adding a lot of polyester to a tailored jacket just seems unappealing though.

I am sorry to break the news but actually a lot of "horsehair canvass" contains polyester or nylon.
post #17874 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I've been actually trying to get in touch with them to see if they'll do a re-run of that navy wool seersucker.

IIRC, they're just a merchant though -- fabrics are woven through different mills.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

That's my suit from Bntailor I ove the fabric wears a little warmer than cotton seersucker but it's still quite light weight. Eurotex did a special run for us through their agent in Korea I believed the cloth was no longer available at the time. I believed Greg @gdl203 had a suit made from it as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

I get solid navy seersucker, but why in wool?  Imo the ideal seersucker would be machine washable cotton or cotton/poly, like Haspel used to make.

Beautiful jacket.  BnTailor?

Correct.
post #17875 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by tchoy View Post


That's my suit from Bntailor I ove the fabric wears a little warmer than cotton seersucker but it's still quite light weight. Eurotex did a special run for us through their agent in Korea I believed the cloth was no longer available at the time. I believed Greg @gdl203 had a suit made from it as well.
Correct.


@tchoy 

A really nice, distinctive suit. I hope you'll contribute with a picture of it to the 10/5 Spring/Summer thread, and certainly, I invite others here too. 

post #17876 of 20236

Here's the suit I mentioned.  It started out a dark navy, but has faded to something like Minnis 520.  It also rubbed a lot dye onto white shirts or stone pants.

It was my first experiment in a machine washable suit.  I prewashed the fabric myself and had it lined with prewashed cotton shirting.  I think it's fused and the fusing hasn't come undone in several years and a few washes.  Made in Manila by Cornell's Tailoring.

 

 

 

Originally Posted by Concordia View Post

Poly = lousy in hot weather.

I am intrigued by that wool seersucker.


Pure polyester or a blend in a bad weave would be.  But if you ever tried Patagonia's Puckerware or something similar, I think you'd be a convert.  In hot, humid weather, a little bit of poly makes a garment dry quicker and thus feel less clammy, retain it's shape better, not stick to your body as much, and probably more.  I just know I've been happier in the Philippines, Indonesia, New Orleans, Miami, etc, when wearing poly/cotton blends than pure cotton.

post #17877 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

 But if you ever tried Patagonia's Puckerware or something similar, I think you'd be a convert.

I wonder how much of that is due to the poly blend and how much of it is about the puckered weave though. In other words, do those shirts wear noticeably cooler than pure cotton seersucker in a comparable weight?

I actually don't have any issue with poly-blends in casualwear. I have a couple of sweaters and casual jackets that are made with poly blends. For some reason, the idea of a lot of polyester in the shell of a tailored jacket just doesn't sound that appealing, but it's probably an irrational position.

Had I known that SG shambray was actually a poly-blend, I probably wouldn't have bought it, but it's turned out to be one of my favorite shirtings. Does pill a little though, like early reports.
post #17878 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post

I think polyester resists fading better than cotton.

Yes, and from what I know, it's because the pigments are actually in the fiber as opposed to attached to the fiber on the outside.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Concordia View Post

Poly = lousy in hot weather.

I've done plenty of hiking in hot weather and I haven't felt bad wearing polyester or polypropylene items. They all let sweat through instead of absorbing it like cotton.

Another up/downside of poly* is that they probably don't contain the pesticides that are apparently all over cotton (but then they're made from petroleum and don't decay).
post #17879 of 20236
@dieworkwear, all things being equal (like thickness and porousness), I think a blend is more comfortable in hot, humid weather than pure cotton. By "more comfortable," I'm including not just coolness or heat management, but also feel water/sweat management.  So, as mentioned above, poly/cotton blends feel less clammy, retain shape better, and don't stick to your body as much as pure cotton.  By "hot, humid," I'm talking about 80-90 F and 80-90% humidity.  
My opinion has been formed from several years, but isn't really a scientific study.  I've lived in and traveled to some hot, humid places and here's my favorite shirts for hot weather, starting with the older, non-seersucker ones:
 
On the left are two shirts I've had since the early 90's.  A red, 65 poly/36 cotton guayabera and a purple, 100% cotton hawaiian shirt (Waltah Clarke). They're about the same weight and porousness, but the guayabera wears cooler/more comfortable.  I've taken them all over and had them when I lived in the Philippines for a year.  The gray and off-white shirts are barongs made of jusi, a rayon-type fabric made of banana plant fiber. (click for old barong thread) They're really cool on their own, but need to be worn with a t-shirt since they're so transparent.  They were my dad's and are now 49 yrs old.  They're surprisingly durable.  I've worn them about 100 times each over the past 20 yrs.  I suspect the gray one is a blend, but they're equally cool imo.  On the far right is a shirt from Patagonia's A/C line, 100% cotton with a gauzy weave.  It's possibly the coolest of this bunch, but I wouldn't say it's the most comfortable since it can absorb and retrain sweat more than blended shirts.

 

Then here we have seersucker.

 

 

The oldest is the Patagonia puckerware one on the left.  It's maybe 10 yrs old and I think it was my first seersucker garment as an adult.  It started my real interest in seersucker.  Wearing it in HK and the Philippines in 2010 moved me to get the two middle shirts made, the brown and light blue ginghams.  I'm pretty sure they're both 100% cotton, but the vendors/selvedge/bolt ends made no claims.  The plain white and blue checks are from SF fabric stores and are 100% cotton.  The red gingham is from Edmorel, quality seller.  I think a 100% cotton made for Tom Ford.  

 

All of these, except the red one, have been worn extensively in heat and humidity.  The Patagonia puckerware is the most comfortable of all of these fabrics, and it's 65 poly/35 cotton.  I'd own more, but for the past several years, they've only made them in short sleeves, and I don't have a big need for short sleeve shirts.  

 

Similarly, I noticed from summers in Washington DC, that poly/cotton oxford cloth shirts were more comfortable than all cotton oxfords.  And a pair of cotton/poly pincord pants I had for many years were more comfortable than a pair of 100% cotton ones I bought to replace the blended ones.

 

Again, this is all just my experience, not a scientific trial.  But enough for me to say definitively that yes, your fear is irrational.  :)  But lots about clothing is, I would guess.

 

@hirschlederne, thanks for the info.  That makes sense.  

post #17880 of 20236
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirschlederne View Post


I've done plenty of hiking in hot weather and I haven't felt bad wearing polyester or polypropylene items. They all let sweat through instead of absorbing it like cotton.
That's two votes for hiking in polyester seersucker suits. I'll have to wait and see on that one.
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