The Wonderful World of Weave Patterns

The Wonderful World of Weave Patterns

In the last post we briefly discussed different types of fabric materials used to produce formal attire. While we previously emphasized the importance of fabric type in terms of price, durability, look, and weather, in this post we will focus on an aspect that is equally as important in deciding the quality of your suit or tuxedo, but oftentimes overlooked and ignored. Specifically, this post will focus on how the fabric material is woven together. 

Referred to as the fabric “weave,” the way in which a suit, tuxedo, necktie, or pocket square is constructed and woven together will decide its characteristics including durability, warmth, stain and wrinkle resistance, and general fit. 

Before we begin, it will be helpful to describe the basic process of stitching together fabric to build a full suit. Generally, the simple way to think of a basic “weave” pattern includes threads of the fabric being layered lengthwise and crosswise, creating a perpendicular and parallel cross layer. While this basic pattern can vary, this is the general idea. Just to provide some fun terminology, in the formal wear industry the lengthwise threads are known as “warps” and the crosswise threads are known as “wefts.”

Typically, if you want a good quality suit, you will want to find a suit that is at least “two-ply,” which basically means that the “single” fibers used as warps and wefts are actually two single fibers twisted together extremely tight so as to act as a single fiber during the weaving process.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of weave patterns that you will find used for suits and tuxedos: plain and twill. Both of these weave patterns are generally found using two-ply threading, and they are the two main weave patterns that we will focus on today. 

Plain Weave

One of the most common weaving patterns found is obviously named the “Plain Weave Pattern,” and aptly so. This is sewn using a simple over under pattern that produces straight lines, either horizontal or vertical. Within the plain weave family there are variations depending on the type of fabric material and type of suit style. Some of the most common types of plain weave patterns you will typically see include: 

  • Bedford Cord
  • Birdseye
  • Seersucker
  • Nailhead
  • Tropical

Twill Weave

Slightly similar to the plain weave pattern, the twill weave pattern produces straight lines; however, the lines of a twill weave will be diagonal. Along with this, their “impression,” or texture, on the suit itself is typically less noticeable than the lines of a plain weave. In other words, the lines of a twill weave tend to blend together more, making it less obvious that there are individual lines. 

Typically, the way in which a twill weave pattern is created is by layering the warp threads parallel and straight together. Then, the weft threads are woven throughout the warp threads using an over under pattern. Altogether, the twill weave pattern tends to be one of the most common types you find. Some of the most popular types include:

 

  • Worsted Wool
  • Flannel
  • Tweed
  • Houndstooth
  • Sharkskin
  • Serge
  • Gabardine
  • Barelycorn
  • Herringbone

 

Overall, when it comes to finding that perfect suit or tuxedo, we understand that among your desired suit characteristics, the right kind of weave pattern is not typically the first thing that comes to mind. Despite this, even if you might believe that you have never thought about weave patterns while suit shopping, we guarantee that it was always a factor nonetheless.

Even though the differences between various weave patterns may seem subtle and unimportant, the resulting suit patterns and looks that they create are diverse and each one is unique. Thus, ultimately, all of us one way or another have been judging weave patterns whether we knew it or not. 

We hope you enjoyed this brief intro into the world of weave patterns! Now, next time you go suit shopping you can be an expert when choosing a suit or tuxedo. We hope you revisit our blog soon, we promise more fascinating insights into the world of formal wear!

 

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