In praise of British suiting.
For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Britain dominated the world’s textile manufacturing. Whilst Lancashire mills focused on cotton, Scottish mills on tweed, and Cotswold mills on woollens, the mills in Yorkshire specialised in weaving worsted cloths that were unrivalled in their quality and durability. Towns such as Huddersfield and Leeds became the centre for the worlds suiting production, rivalled only by Biella in Italy.
The term ‘worsted’ refers to type of fibre and spinning process that the cloth is woven from. Worsted yarns are made using a longer ‘staple’ fibre, which can be twisted more tightly to create a fine, sleek yarn. When woven, this yarn produces a cloth that is supple, hard wearing, naturally crease resistant and unlike woollen cloths, it has a clean hairless appearance. The perfect cloth infact for suits.
Spinning and weaving are only part of the process; after the cloth has been woven, it then goes through a series of processes known as ‘finishing’. Finishing is a highly skilled art; it transforms the cloth from ‘loom state’ a boardy dull looking fabric into the supple, lustrous finished product ready to be cut into suits. Without finishing, the cloth would be unusable.
Suitings have changed little and although technical advances have meant that finer cloths can now be woven, the patterns have remained the same. They are generally woven using variations on a 2 x 2 twill construction, making them eminently stable, pattern is achieved by varying the direction of the twill and the use of different coloured yarns.
Classic patterns such as sharkskin, birdseye, herringbone, pinstripe and chalkstripe are cornerstones of the Cordings suit collection, and working with the finest worsted mills in Yorkshire we are proud to be part of the long tradition of British suiting.