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Cloth Advice

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Rowly, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Rowly

    Rowly Active Member

    Messages:
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    Aug 11, 2009
    Hi, Could someone clear up a few queries I have re the merits of different cloths. I understand that the top bespoke-end favours Lessers, Smiths, Harrisons, Minnis, H&s etc, for English quality bespoke. I understand that 2 ply warp and weft is desirable.

    Q1
    Are all the offerings from these books of the 2 ply quality,( is it a given?), or how do I steer myself towards them , as it does not say on the books I have looked at.?

    Q2. What are the considerations between a worsted and a superfine...why would you want one or the other..where might you wear them?

    Q3. What are the considerations between a hard or soft finish.what are good examples?..where might you wear them?

    Q4. Some books say worsted on them and feel smooth...others only say all wool and feel woolly, although they are not flannels...again , what would be their appeal. I am mostly interested in fine dressing, as opposed to workhorse durability.

    With so few top end mills left...I hope this will fill in the gaps for my ability to pick nice cloths.......
    I already understand the difference between worsteds, flannels, worsted flannels, frescos,milled/semi-milled etc.

    It's mostly the 2 ply issue...and the all wool issue that throws me.........all help appreciated,
    thanks, Rowly.
     
  2. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Could someone clear up a few queries I have re the merits of different cloths. I understand that the top bespoke-end favours Lessers, Smiths, Harrisons, Minnis, H&s etc, for English quality bespoke. I understand that 2 ply warp and weft is desirable. Q1 Are all the offerings from these books of the 2 ply quality,( is it a given?), or how do I steer myself towards them , as it does not say on the books I have looked at.? No, it is not a given, though it is safe to assume that most are. AFAIK there is no reliable way to tell for suitings, though someone once told me that you can compare the 'front' and 'back' sides of the cloth for shirtings to tell. Q2. What are the considerations between a worsted and a superfine...why would you want one or the other..where might you wear them? A worsted is a wool fabric that has had the shorter fibres combed out. A superfine is a wool fabric that has had the thicker (i.e. coarser) fibres combed out. You can have sturdy worsted fabrics, while superfine fabrics are typically more delicate. The term 'superfine' has little meaning unless it is accompanied by a 'Super' number - e.g. Super 110/120/130/140/150/etc Q3. What are the considerations between a hard or soft finish.what are good examples?..where might you wear them? I've always understood 'hardness' to be a function of both the density of the weave and the yarn used (worsted vs non-worsted, super rating). Harder finishes are more suited to business situations, and softer finishes more suited to casual situations. Q4. Some books say worsted on them and feel smooth...others only say all wool and feel woolly, although they are not flannels...again , what would be their appeal. I am mostly interested in fine dressing, as opposed to workhorse durability. I am not sure what your question is exactly addressing here, as none of the terms you have raised are mutually exclusive, but you appear to be treating them as such. With so few top end mills left...I hope this will fill in the gaps for my ability to pick nice cloths....... I already understand the difference between worsteds, flannels, worsted flannels, frescos,milled/semi-milled etc. It's mostly the 2 ply issue...and the all wool issue that throws me.........all help appreciated, thanks, Rowly.
    Here ya go.
     
  3. Rowly

    Rowly Active Member

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    Thanks, This is helpful.... my tailor told me that a superfine is the poor man's mohair. I read somewhere that people sometimes prefer superfines because they are more crisp. I read that Lesser's superfine 11oz is very popular.....so, are you saying that superfine is simply a worsted with a higher supers threadcount...and the rest is the same? Also, sorry about the ambiguous question...to clarify, .....is there a clear cut smooth worsted...and a woolen worsted...both for high class suiting..and if so, what would be their respective attractions.
    Finally.....are there specific books from the top uk mills which offer 2x2 ply books between super 100s and 120s above 10oz....and if so....what are they called?
    Thanks again for any further clarification....Rowly.
     
  4. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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  5. hymo

    hymo Well-Known Member

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    Why fresco when there is mohair?
     
  6. Vintage Gent

    Vintage Gent Well-Known Member

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    One word: Fresco.

    Well done. In just three words you've managed to resurrect your little inside "joke," muddling the thread of a newcomer honestly seeking information and you've betrayed your irrational animus for a cloth with a solid pedigree.
     
  7. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most of what apropos wrote, but disagree a little bit.

    "Worsted" more properly refers to the yarn and how it is spun BEFORE the cloth is woven.

    "Superfine" does not necessarily refer to cloth with a "super" number, though it has similar properties. It is typically very smooth, with a crisp (as opposed to soft or fuzzy) finish.

    Anyway, "worsted" is a category that includes a ton of different cloth that is all equally worsted, but looks, feels and wears very different.
     
  8. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

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    Dec 2, 2008
    Thanks, This is helpful.... my tailor told me that a superfine is the poor man's mohair. I read somewhere that people sometimes prefer superfines because they are more crisp. I read that Lesser's superfine 11oz is very popular.....so, are you saying that superfine is simply a worsted with a higher supers threadcount...and the rest is the same? Also, sorry about the ambiguous question...to clarify, .....is there a clear cut smooth worsted...and a woolen worsted...both for high class suiting..and if so, what would be their respective attractions. Finally.....are there specific books from the top uk mills which offer 2x2 ply books between super 100s and 120s above 10oz....and if so....what are they called? Thanks again for any further clarification....Rowly.
    Ah I see. I think you may be referring to worsted fabrics vs. worsted flannels. Flannels are fabrics with yarns that are more loosely spun. They were originally not made from worsted yarns, but to complicate matters further, there are many flannels now which use worsted yarns to improve their durability at the expense of some of the characteristic flannel 'feel', which is precisely what makes flannel so special. So a worsted flannel is made with yarns that have had their shorter fibres combed out, but are more loosely spun. 'Clear cut' worsteds are the most flexible cloths for all sorts of business applications. In addition to the slight durability issues mentioned earlier, flannel is often more thought of as a winter cloth. Re: mohair, it is a very 'stiff' fibre that also has a bit of sheen. I have seen pure mohair pants that have actually cracked due to overenthusiastic pressing. It is precisely the stiffness and sheen which has resulted in them often being blended with wools - pure mohair cloths are less common. AFAIK worsteds are more 'crisp' when they have tightly spun yarns and are tightly woven - AFAIK the exact super rating plays a lesser role in determining 'crispness'. Lastly, ignore FNB. The occasional gems that he dispenses are unfortunately hidden amongst tons of (non-funny) inside jokes, opinion dressed up as fact, hypocrisy, and rampant social anxiety, delivered in a passive-aggressive manner. Its a crying shame as he has a lot to offer in terms of 1st hand experiences.
     
  9. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

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    I agree with most of what apropos wrote, but disagree a little bit. "Worsted" more properly refers to the yarn and how it is spun BEFORE the cloth is woven. "Superfine" does not necessarily refer to cloth with a "super" number, though it has similar properties. It is typically very smooth, with a crisp (as opposed to soft or fuzzy) finish. Anyway, "worsted" is a category that includes a ton of different cloth that is all equally worsted, but looks, feels and wears very different.
    Thank you Manton. You are correct re: worsted, I should have clarified further. Rowly, despite my, um, occasional disagreements with Manton in other, um, subforums I will freely admit that he is a member that has much to offer you in the MC subforum and you would do well to search for some of his older threads and read through his posts.
     
  10. Rowly

    Rowly Active Member

    Messages:
    26
    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Thanks again for the replies. I am interested in above 10 oz uk mills cloth...and want something that looks and feels good and not merely utility. In my enlightenment to date, I have favoured the posts of Manton, Film Noir Buff , Will and Sator......I have got my head around most of the info...and with a little more fine tuning..I'll be set. This is all helpful.....one thing though,.FNB in one post dismisses Premier cru and cru classe as flimsy tissue paper...while in another post he says it's indistinguishable from Golden Bale, which is described as an epicurean cloth......can this small confusion be clarified?........thanks again, Rowly
     
  11. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

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    .FNB in one post dismisses Premier cru and cru classe as flimsy tissue paper...while in another post he says it's indistinguishable from Golden Bale, which is described as an epicurean cloth......can this small confusion be clarified?........thanks again, Rowly
    I would assume that it reflected an evolution in his taste.
     
  12. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    Jun 26, 2005
    Lastly, ignore FNB.
    Most of the senior members here do ignore me which is why there are such a plethora of balmoral boots, monk strap shoes, fresco and "hopsack" suits, 16oz worsteds, insipid, solid color shirts and neckties that look like they were either rescued from a bargain bin or designed by a customer with the same mentality.
    The occasional gems that he dispenses are unfortunately hidden amongst tons of (non-funny) inside jokes,
    Since you cannot understand their inside nature, I must inform you that they are in fact, hilarious.[​IMG]
    opinion dressed up as fact, hypocrisy,
    Better than mutton dressed up as lamb.
    and rampant social anxiety,
    That's on my family crest...
    delivered in a passive-aggressive manner.
    I'm pretty aggressive. I think what you mean is "delivered in a contempt ridden manner"
    Its a crying shame as he has a lot to offer in terms of 1st hand experiences.
    You'll never take me alive.
     
  13. apropos

    apropos Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,455
    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Most of the senior members here do ignore me which is why there are such a plethora of balmoral boots, monk strap shoes, fresco and "hopsack" suits, 16oz worsteds, insipid, solid color shirts and neckties that look like they were either rescued from a bargain bin or designed by a customer with the same mentality.
    Thank you for being, well, sadly predictable. [​IMG]
     
  14. David Reeves

    David Reeves Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    Thanks again for the replies. I am interested in above 10 oz uk mills cloth...and want something that looks and feels good and not merely utility. In my enlightenment to date, I have favoured the posts of Manton, Film Noir Buff , Will and Sator......I have got my head around most of the info...and with a little more fine tuning..I'll be set. This is all helpful.....one thing though,.FNB in one post dismisses Premier cru and cru classe as flimsy tissue paper...while in another post he says it's indistinguishable from Golden Bale, which is described as an epicurean cloth......can this small confusion be clarified?........thanks again, Rowly

    Have you heard of Taylor and Lodge or Moxen? Both English and pretty cool. Dormeuil Royal 12 is rather good too. A lot of the cloths you talk about aren't very luxurious they are entry level Bespoke cloths wherever you go in England. I started stocking Lesser because all the igents wanted it but when you compare it to amadeus or royal opera nobody buys it.
     
  15. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,134
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2005
    Thanks again for the replies. I am interested in above 10 oz uk mills cloth...and want something that looks and feels good and not merely utility. In my enlightenment to date, I have favoured the posts of Manton, Film Noir Buff , Will and Sator......I have got my head around most of the info...and with a little more fine tuning..I'll be set. This is all helpful.....one thing though,.FNB in one post dismisses Premier cru and cru classe as flimsy tissue paper...while in another post he says it's indistinguishable from Golden Bale, which is described as an epicurean cloth......can this small confusion be clarified?........thanks again, Rowly
    I dont think i ever dismissed any cloth as flimsy tissue paper, did I? Here are some thoughts on those very fabrics: Cloth advice from an aggressive dresser And do not dismiss the others mentioned who have excellent input on interpreting the qualities of cloth, most notably the ability to divine the content, quality and weave by rubbing it between two fingers while it is held closely to one ear.
     
  16. Rowly

    Rowly Active Member

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    Aug 11, 2009
    I Apologize, FNB,.....it was Manton who said it......
    I think Premier Cru is all clear cut worsted, I believe. Drecky cloth. I have one; flimsy as tissue. Never again.
    ....... Are the Crus any good then? And David....are these cloths you mention above 10 oz..?....that is what I'm looking for...mid weight ( 11/12 upwards......but luxury cloths that expensive S.R. clients would use....I visited a few S.R. Tailors....who told me that between 100s and 120s was the most popular for the quintensential english bespoke look...regardless of the client's income bracket...the rest is all abo
     
  17. Rowly

    Rowly Active Member

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    Sorry.......the rest is all about the cut !
     
  18. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    Sorry.......the rest is all about the cut !

    All the big merchants produce exemplary cloth, my own personnel favourite is Minnis, but I have wool from all the major merchants. Some of the sharkskins in the Harrisons premier cru book are rather tasty.

    In England cut trumps cloth, worry about the cut of your suit more than the quality of the wool as high quality cloths are practically a given at the best tailors.
     
  19. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Well-Known Member

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    All the big merchants produce exemplary cloth, my own personnel favourite is Minnis, but I have wool from all the major merchants. Some of the sharkskins in the Harrisons premier cru book are rather tasty. In England cut trumps cloth, worry about the cut of your suit more than the quality of the wool as high quality cloths are practically a given at the best tailors.
    Well that's the thing. The English have a cultural awareness of "cut" which Americans do not have. As you can see, the focus is often about the quality of the wool irrespective of how good or bad the suit is constructed. About the most you'll ever see Americans get involved with cut is concerning matching up stripes or getting heir money's worth by having tailors make them windowpane patterned suits.
     
  20. George

    George Well-Known Member

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    Well that's the thing. The English have a cultural awareness of "cut" which Americans do not have.

    As you can see, the focus is often about the quality of the wool irrespective of how good or bad the suit is constructed.

    About the most you'll ever see Americans get involved with cut is concerning matching up stripes or getting heir money's worth by having tailors make them windowpane patterned suits.


    I think you're right. There does seem to be a lot of needless fretting on here over cloth qualities. That energy would be better spent on looking at the wider perspective.
     

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