Shirt fabrics

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cpal, Dec 30, 2003.

  1. Cpal

    Cpal Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    I have found myself walking into shirtmakers and finding myself confronted with an overwhelming number of choices (not a bad problem but I want to be more informed). I know what patterns I like and can tell the difference in some levels of thread count but I wanted to get some opinions from the forum on what mills are preferred? I know some people swear by certain mills and others are purely driven by pattern. How important is thread count? I find myself migrating to the same old patterns and fabrics but am interested in "trying something new" and in acclimating myself with the nuances of a more quality product.

    I have printed my copy of Mr. Kabbaz's paper (and I thank him greatly for taking the time to put together such a rare treat - I also look forward to scheduling my visit with him in his shop) and I recognize that some of this may be addressed in there but I was interested in the opinions of others as well (Banksmiranda had some great ideas and thoughts on suit fabrics - thanks.).

    Thanks for your time.
     


  2. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    3,365
    Likes Received:
    320
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    NYC
    I could write on this topic for the next 1/2 hour. I have been making shirts for over 20 years and have been selling shirt fabric on a wholesale level for over 16 years.

    First off make sure the fabric is a two ply yarn. Shirtings made from two ply yarns are more durable then single ply Fabrics.

    The higher the yarn count, the softer the fabric. You tend to lose durability as yarn count increases. Higher yarn count fabrics will wrinkle more.

    I prefer to sell fabrics that are either 100/2 or 120/2.
    They are a better value.

    Today fine cottons are made all over the world. I recently bought some sample cuts that came from a mill in China. I would have sworn that the goods were Italian. That is how nice they were.

    Most of the opening range 100/2 at thomas Pink are woven in India.  Spain, Turkey and Peru are also turning out first class fabric.

    The USA produces wonderful cotton. Sadly, we don't weave much worth wearing except some heavy oxford cloth.

    In terms of well known mills in Italy.
    The Ferno 120/2 are about best all around in terms of finnish and durability.

    Albini produces The Thomas Mason fabrics. The 100/2 will last a long time. The goldline book of 140/2 is wonderful stuff.

    The D. J. Anderson book of 200/2 is better then the zendalyne of old. It has a much better fill. It is quite pricy but feels like no other shirtting fabric.

    Testa and Sic tess turn and great novelty fabrics.

    Oltolino is another excellent mill. I do find their pricing to be a bit high.

    Acorn is a converter. This means they do not own any manufacturing facilities. Qualities may vary in the same construction depending on where the fabric was produced.

    Lower priced 2 ply fabrics from Japan may have nice designs, but the colors are never as sharp as the European mills and the finnish is a little stiffer and dryer.

    I tell my customers to feel the fabric. Buy what you like. Take chances on lower priced fabrics.
     


  3. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    East Hampton & New York
    Shirtmaven hit the nail on the head with that post. His succinct summation is entirely correct as it applies to upscale RTW, MTM, and custom shirts. And he has a heck of a lot more years of fabric experience than he is admitting here. Or maybe he's trying to appear younger?

    My only divergence from his post regards:
    Personally, I prefer to sell Zendalines, 170's, and 200's - but that's purely an exercise in giving in to one's hedonistic tendencies.

    Value? To get any longevity whatsoever from my completely self-indulgent selections these days you really need your own home laundress. Without that, they have little long-term value.
     


  4. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Cygnus X-1
    Mr. Kabbaz, what is your opinion on the blended cotton fabrics? Specifically those with linen?
     


  5. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    3,365
    Likes Received:
    320
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2003
    Location:
    NYC


  6. Alexander Kabbaz

    Alexander Kabbaz Senior member

    Messages:
    1,272
    Likes Received:
    5
    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2003
    Location:
    East Hampton & New York
    Thracozaag:
    Linen and cotton blends are some of my favorite Summer/resort wear fabrics. There once was a very fine linen blended with a 180's cotton that was worth going into debt for, but I haven't seen it around in a while - and I have only one shirt of it. There also used to be a very fine slubby cotton voile woven to look like linen which Joelle has a few shirts made of. Very nice.
    The pure linen I usually use for shirts is an Irish woven handkerchief linen available in about 40 beautiful solid colors - very, very thin and shrinks like hell so it has to be washed to death before cutting. But then it makes a wonderful shirt.

    Speaking of blended cottons, there's a blended cotton and cashmere shirting (no, not the $750/yd one.) available in earthy tones. Wonderful shirt for apres ski.

    And, of course, there's the old standby of Vyella and its similar percentage imitators. Scratchy, to me, but some like the wool & cotton thing regardless.

    Finally, there's the 92%cotton & 8%Lycra blended Zimmerli's ... but I digress.
     


  7. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Yarn and thread counts have been increasingly used by shirtmakers(cottons, Ne), custom clothiers(woolens, S-numbers), and sellers of "linens"(thread counts) to classify their products. At high-end pricey linens boutiques such as Frette, etc. the salespeople may show a potential customer two products, one a higher thread count than the other, in a blind test to see if the customer is able to tell any difference. If not, then they will probably not try to sell higher(and more expensive) thread counts to the customer.
    For shirt fabrics you can't go wrong with DJA, Alumo, or S.I.C. Tess., esp. if you want high yarn numbers. I like DJA/Albini's 200s, and some of the S.I.C. Tess twills and voiles. Alumo has many nice fabrics in all yarn numbers.
    Thread count/yarn number may be important, but I think that the weave and finish are every bit as important. Many of the RTW shirts by Borrelli, Fray, and Kiton et al are made from fabrics woven in 100s and 120s yarns. 140s, 160s, etc up to 200s are used more for MTM shirts, but are available in RTW, though of course at greater expense. I bought a few Fray shirts, made of a soft twill fabrics woven with stripes exclusive to Fray and with ties made of the same fabric, a couple years ago from NM. I think that the fabric was probably 100s or 120s, but because of its weave and soft finish, I absolutely love the shirts.
     


  8. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    I have a question about Viyella:
    I understand that Viyella is now often used generically to describe a fabric woven from cotton and wool. Coats & Clark had taken over the original Viyella company. Is the original Viyella company still in business, or is it now just a trademark of some weaver?
     


  9. Thracozaag

    Thracozaag Senior member

    Messages:
    3,134
    Likes Received:
    3
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Location:
    Cygnus X-1
    Thank you for your input. I was curious because I had this same discussion with Massimo Bizzochi and he professed a fondness for using a 70/30 cotton/linen blend for his dress shirts.
     


  10. banksmiranda

    banksmiranda Senior member

    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    I really like many of the 170s and 200s twills and broadcloths I've seen. Some time ago I saw a special swatch book of Riva fabrics(at Saks on Michigan Avenue) for Kiton MTM shirts and frankly, I was not particularly impressed by the designs. I like plain colors and nice designs alike, but I found some of the designs to be almost ugly. Among the few fabrics I liked was a fine 100% linen in a solid color. I liked the "regular" Kiton MTM shirt fabric choices more. Take a look at the Fray MTM fabric book at the Neiman Marcus in Northbrook, IL. The Northbrook NM used to have on display pre-made sample collars and cuffs for the Kiton MTM program, among which was a very nice turnback/cocktail cuff. I inquired about these yesterday, but they couldn't find them as they rearranged things recently. Hopefully they'll have these on display again soon. If you're ever there it can't hurt to ask. The Marol swatch book at Davis for Men also has some nice choices. I've been looking for the Borrelli Royal Collection fabric book. The places at which I've inquired don't seem to have it. Anyone know where in Chicagoland I could see it? The Chicago NM has great swatch books for suits, jackets and other tailored clothing. They have swatch books of Scabal, Guabello(for Oxxford), Holland and Sherry, and an ornate wooden chest(with Moxon's name on the box) containing a small selection of Super 180s woolens designed by Firas Chamsi Pasha. They also have a huge Zanella MTM fabric book. The partially made Oxxford jacket on display near the swatch books is really something to see.
     


  11. Trillium

    Trillium New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    I am a tailor and would be interestd in getting some new fabrics from shirts. I want to try some new fabrics from fabric mills in China. Does anyone have a few favorite that you would recommend?
     


  12. ccvle

    ccvle Senior member

    Messages:
    102
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2008
    what kind of fabric RLBL dress shirts use? They feel so soft and I find them to be relatively winkle-resistance. I want to go for MTM one day and get the same fabric.
     


  13. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

    Messages:
    3,122
    Likes Received:
    2,075
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    I really like Acorn. I use Loro Piana as well but there's not a whole lot of difference in quality although you do get a David Reeves label and a Loro Piana label in those.....
     


  14. magogian12345

    magogian12345 Senior member

    Messages:
    1,071
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    No love for Alumo? I love the stuff.
     


  15. TheWraith

    TheWraith Senior member

    Messages:
    4,905
    Likes Received:
    1,048
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Australia
    I really like Acorn. I use Loro Piana as well but there's not a whole lot of difference in quality although you do get a David Reeves label and a Loro Piana label in those.....

    It's all about the label [​IMG]
     


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by