Demystifying Iconic Cloths

There are certain cloths which signal the arrival of summer; a crisp seersucker or a breezy linen on a sunny day herald the height of the season. Our Design team have hand selected a range of beautiful lightweight Italian cotton seersucker and linen cloths for our Spring/Summer 2017 collections, and our Bespoke team have been busy working on commissions utilising these summer cloths too.

Whether you’re visiting us for a Bespoke or Made-to-Measure appointment, or visiting us in-store or online to browse our Ready-to-Wear collections, we know that sometimes it can be a bit daunting when you see all these different fabric options. So, we wanted to help guide you through some of the most iconic tailoring cloths; below is our guide to two you will see in our Spring/Summer 2017 tailoring collections.

If you are interested in our Bespoke and Made-to-Measure services, we hold appointments at our Redchurch Street and Bruton Place stores in London. In addition to this, Lee and Fred will be heading over to New York again from 8th – 10th May, followed by a pit-stop in Toronto from 11th – 12th May. If you would like to book a consultation, please email bespoke@timothyeverest.co.uk or call +44(0)20 3802 7005.

Now, the first installment in our series on demystifying iconic tailoring cloths.

Seersucker

A summer classic here at Timothy Everest; the origins of this cloth are rooted in 17th century India, with the name seersucker deriving from the Persian word shirushakar, meaning ‘milk and sugar’. It is thought it was given this name due to the combination of a smooth and rough texture of the fabric, much like the combination of silky milk with bumpy sugar. Over time the word was anglicised to seersucker, and was first imported to Europe in the 18th century.

Seersucker rose to popularity in the United States at the turn of the 20th century when a gentleman named Joseph Haspel mass-produced the cloth in his New Orleans factory. Legend has it that Mr Haspel performed a publicity stunt to prove the effectiveness of the cloth by swimming in the ocean wearing his seersucker suit, emerging from the water, hanging it up to dry and then proceededing to wear it to an official banquet dinner that evening, looking as smart as ever. if that doesn’t sell it to you, we don’t know what will.

Technically speaking, seersucker is most commonly woven from cotton, however you can now also find silk, linen and synthetic variations of the cloth too. At our Bespoke house we most frequently use the cotton varieties, and there are some examples below of commissions where clients have selected beautiful seersucker cloths from the Italian mill, Solbiati.

The iconic ‘puckered’ effect of the fabric is achieved by a slack-tension weave, pulling individual warp yarns (the are the ones that run vertically through a cloth) tighter than others. This results in the ‘rough’ and ‘smooth’ stripes, which are normally contrast colours. However, you can now find other pattern variations; for SS17 we have included a beautiful Navy Prince of Wales check seersucker, available in an unstructured single breased and double breasted jacket option.

Seersucker is lightweight and breathable, which makes it perfect for warmer climes. An added benefit is that it doesn’t crease, which makes it ideal for travel.

 

Navy/White Stripe Seersucker Jacket, £595

 

Bespoke Blue/White Stripe 100% Cotton 280gr Solbiati Seersucker Jacket, PAO

 

Navy Prince of Wales Cotton Seersucker Double Breasted Jacket, £395 (arriving in-store and online soon)

 

Bespoke Navy/Blue 100% Cotton Solbiati Seersucker

 

Bespoke Navy/Blue 100% Cotton Solbiati Seersucker Jacket, POA

 

Linen

If you can’t wear a linen suit in summer, when can you? Linen is perhaps the earliest known constructed textile; it will take an entire book to explore the history of the cloth so we’ll keep it as short and sweet as possible. To put it into some perpective, archaeologists in Georgia discovered 34,000 year old flax fibers that had been dyed bright colours by our forefathers.

Linen comes from the flax plant, which is a tall, reed-like plant with long fibers which make it easy to spin into thread. The fibers are extracted in a process called ‘retting the flax’, whereby the plants are picked and left to soak in a tub of water or stream until the hard outside of the stem rots away, revealing the long, soft fibers underneath. The flax plant is native to many places around the world, from Western Europe to Northern Africa, and therefore it is a cloth deep rooted in many cultures.

Today, linen is frequently used for summer tailoring, as it offers exceptional coolness and freshness in hot and humid conditions.

There are some perceived drawbacks of linen, most notably how it creases; with casual shirtings this can be part of the appeal, but for a beautifully tailored suit it can effect the line of the silhouette. We often used a linen/cotton blend cloth, which provides the comfort and appearance of linen, with the cotton adding a bit more body to the cloth (ideal for tailoring) and reduces the creasing.

 

Navy Linen/Cotton Hopsack 2 Piece Suit, £695

 

Bespoke Salmon Pink 9oz Linen Jacket, POA