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Fabric Quality: H. Lesser and Thomas Fisher?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by GradSchooler, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. GradSchooler

    GradSchooler Well-Known Member

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    Could anyone who has had experience with these fabrics please comment on their quality? Thanks!
     
  2. yachtie

    yachtie Well-Known Member

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    Good quality stuff. Manton is a big Lesser fan. Do you have something specific in mind or just asking generally?
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  3. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Those are both very good but Lesser is in a different league. If you must have "Supers", which I don't recommend, Lesser is miles ahead of Fisher. Lesser makes the best "Supers" on the planet but you will pay dearly for them and, frankly, I like their regular cloth better.
     
  4. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Lesser's reputation sustains them but other makers have caught up or surpassed them. Don't find their cloth as "special" as it once was. I like their 11 ounce cloth best of their bunches.
     
  5. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    11/11.5 is the one I like the least. :shrug:
     
  6. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    You and I really have different tastes in things sartorial. Not a bad thing, just the way it is sort a thing. I rarely use Lesser these days but I have to say what they make today is not the same as they did a decade ago. They have gone down and others have come up.

    I like all your Solito things. Really works well on you.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  7. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    the 11/11.5 just might as well be a super IMO. Too soft and smooshy. 8/9, 9.5/10, 13 and 16 are all awesome. I have a soft spot for 9.5/10 because it is so hard as nails and wears like it is 2x the weight without being nearly as hot. That cloth is a marvel, probably the best they make or at least that I have seen.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  8. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Is the 9.5 the wool & cashmere blend, maybe a 120's? If someone wants this type/weight of cloth, I use Escorial. Has a more natural hand and tailors fantastic. I like Holland & Sherry Perrenial book for 13 ounce. When the suit is finished it looks pressed before you do the final press. Wears well and wrinkles fall out.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  9. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    No. Or, there is one but that's not the one I mean. There is a plain one as well, all wool. That's the one I like.
     
  10. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Will check it out when I get to the shop.

    We look at cloth from differing perspectives. You judge on how it wears or feels when you wear it and I look at how it is to work with, like how easy or hard it is to sew or how it responds to heat or steam.
     
  11. sellahi22

    sellahi22 Well-Known Member

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    A number of tailors on the London Lounge have stated that Lesser is the best cloth to work with. Frank Shattuck for one, but I know there were others.

    Sounds like you generally prefer more shiny/soft "modern" cloth and Manton likes the matte, dry stuff.
     
  12. yachtie

    yachtie Well-Known Member

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    I think it's horses for courses. Chris did a great job on some Dormueil Tonik that was anything but soft (but it was shiny) :)

    Depends on the needs of the client. I found the Lesser book pretty dull so I didn't order anything from it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  13. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    You are the only tailor who has ever told me that escorial and the like are easier to work with than Lesser. The rest of the, to a man, all prefer Lesser. Some may like the properties of the other stuff but they all say that Lesser is easier to work.

    My experience is that Lesser holds a crease better, resists wrinkling more, and falls more cleanly, and shakes out wrinkles faster than anything else. It does not "feel" as nice (or smooth or soft or whatever) than more lux cloth but then it's mostly not against my skin anyway. Except at the legs and I have never felt the least uncomfortable or "scratchy" in Lesser.

    I buy a lot of Minnis, mostly the fresco, but their 340/370 book too, and it is good but not quite so good as Lesser 13. Smith IMO is the only merchant who maks a worsted comparable to Lesser. There is a Harrison book called (I think) Oyster which is very nice but it's the only one.

    BTW I have a tie made out of Escorial and it is quite lovely but I can't imagine it as a suit. Seems like the seat would wear through in one day.

    Lesser is definitely dull. :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  14. Mr. Pink

    Mr. Pink Well-Known Member

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    Since you've brought up Smith, can you tell me what you think of their Blue Riband book? It's the 10/11oz worsted. I'm looking for a substitute for the Lesser 9.5/10 book which seems to be unavailable. I'm reluctant to go heavier since it just doesn't get that cold here.
     
  15. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    I have never tried that book but it looks good.
     
  16. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    I strongly dislike "shiny/soft "modern" cloth". Fortunately my clientele does too.

    I don't dislike Lesser cloth, just don't think it is that much better than other cloths in the market today. Had a client in the 80's that only wore Lesser cloth. Made him over 40 suits from 2 Lesser books because he loved the cloth that much. He stopped looking at other cloths.

    I like a cloth with a strong body to weight ratio. There are light weight cloths that have great body, tailor well and will hold up over time. There are heavier cloths that have no guts and don't tailor well and never look good. There are good supers and bad supers. I'm more about the inherent qualities of the cloth and how well they make up under the needle than anything else.
     
  17. Mr. Pink

    Mr. Pink Well-Known Member

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    What's your favorite 10 -11 oz suiting cloth?
     
  18. Manton

    Manton Well-Known Member

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    Here is the way I see it:

    Lesser is the best at one niche of the market, specifically city/business worsteds. There are other companies that make cloth as good or almost as good but not as consistently.

    To go through the Lesser books briefly:

    Superfine Tropical 8/9: there is nothing else this good on the market. Very light weight, can take punshing heat, huge body, hangs like steel, by far the best tropical I have ever seen. The only comparable book was Minnis Rangoon, which is (was) nearly as good and had many designs and colors that Lesser never made but Minnis stopped making it several years ago and what's left is mostly dregs (and blacks). Smith Gilt Edge/Gilt Twist is another peer but I think it does not perform as well and the designs are more “modern.”

    9.5/10: Again, the best of its kind by far and it's not even close IMO. This stuff is miracle cloth. WAY more body than cloth from others 1.5x its weight. Just impervious to wear and wrinkles. They call it "lightweight" but I can't wear it in the heat. For me it is spring/fall only. Or, this might be the vaunted "three season cloth" if you exclude summer and always have an overcoat in winter.

    11/11.5: Huge book with a lot nice designs but I find the cloth too soft and spongy. I have never had a suit from it, having been warned off it by tailors and having never really liked the hand. I would always prefer 9.5/10 for that same function anyway as it feels much more substantial to me.

    13: A great book but there is a lot of good competition here. Smith, Harrison, Minnis and maybe some others all make very solid 13 ounce cloth.

    16: One of a kind, sadly. There are ultra-heavies from Dugdale and Fisher which are quite OK, but the quality difference here is clear. One could argue that Smith Whole Fleece 15 ounce at this level is better cloth and maybe it is (I chose that over Lesser 16 once) but the range is really, really small, basically some solid grays and blues that’s it.

    9.5/10 Super 120s: high quality but super expensive. I’m just not interested. I don’t need cloth to feel that smooth and silky. My skin is just not that sensitive. Never had it, never will.

    12 Super 150s: Ditto.

    Flannel: A very nice book, with the nicest flannel windowpanes that I know of but nothing else in the book is better than what you can get from Harrison or Minnis flannel. To generalize: Minnis flannel is warhorse, mountain climbing flannel, Harrison is slicker any more luxe. Both are top notch. I also like Fox but keep in mind that Fox flannel is VERY soft and yielding. It lacks the polished look of Harrison and also the stiffness of Minnis. Smith makes some very nice flannels but they are hard to find. They are scattered throught several books. Also, there is a huge book floating around called "Flannels" which is as thick as the Manhattan phone book but which has maybe five flannels in it and the rest worsteds. They are not doing their flannels any favors.

    Formal: A nice book and extremely well made stuff but the fatal flaw is that everything is either 12 or 14 ounces. Even in winter, hotel ballrooms are heated well enough, and so stuffed with people, that I would be uncomfortable in a 12 ounce DJ. I chose Smith 10 ounce with mohair and have been very happy.

    Beyond that I wear a lot of fresco, which Lesser does not make (at least not anymore). The best still around is Minnis, IMO. Woodhouse Summer Comfort is great but it’s gone. Rubinacci has a ton of the deadstock, maybe all of it.

    I find (or found, since I don’t go any more) a lot of great old worsteds at Tip Top that are of Lesser quality or close enough. All I am really looking for is a dry finish, or maybe a very slight sheen, solid body and good draping properties. It’s an inexact science. Since I don’t sew, I don’t really know how “good” each piece is in its bones. I go by look and feel. But so far I have gotten very few complaints from tailors. And they have not said that the stuff I have given them was bad only that one or two pieces were somewhat hard to sew. This has been said of lightweight stuff only. Anything heavier than a tropical has been judged fine. I have been happy with the wearing properties of everything I have gotten from Tip Top.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
    4 people like this.
  19. dopey

    dopey Well-Known Member

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    :( Sitting in a box in my office is a new three piece suit from Davies in an old Lesser 160z that I had been hoarding for a few years. I finally got around to having it made up, but it arrived at the end of July so it is not doing me much good.
     
  20. Despos

    Despos Well-Known Member

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    Another quality point of Lesser is the colors of their cloth are superb. The cloth has a greater depth of color and what I call "truer" tones of color.

    Manton, why no mention of Golden Bale? That cloth distinguished Lesser from others for most of their history.

    Looking at the 11 ounce cloth, I don't get your take on this cloth. Have you ever worn a suit made up from this cloth?

    The 13 feels too dense in the hand, the 9.5 is meh, the 11 is just right. Goldilocks would concur.
     

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