Posted on by Miguel

What Is a Worsted Wool Suit?

When it comes to the wool suit, there are so many choices out on the market. This can be overwhelming for most of us. But once you know what you need or want in your next suit, narrowing down these choices will be easier than expected!

Understanding The Worsted Wool

Today, Worsted wools are considered a very fine grade of wool that can be easily woven and has a relatively long fiber length. This makes it a good, flexible but sturdy wool for suits and other articles of clothing.

The worsted is the smooth types of suiting fabrics made from selected long-staple fibers. The word "worsted" means yarn that has been combed, carded, and processed in a way that makes the fibers less fuzzy – or more uniform – than those of woolen.

The worsted wool fabrics are very fine that is woven from a blend of fibers. The typical composition is 80% to 100% wool blends with the remaining percentage of lighter weight fabrics such as silk and viscose rayon.

Worsted suit fabrics consist of long, straight fibers which are much finer than bulky wool fibers. If you want warmer climates then you should choose fleece or tweed wool because it has a very coarse texture and is unsuitable for worsted suit fabrication.

Before we get started be sure to check out our collection of wool suits to have an idea of what you getting into. 

Worsted Suit Vs Traditional Wool Suiting Fabrics

A traditional suit is a wise alternative for you if you are from tropical or moderate weather because it has a very thick texture which is not good for the summer season.

Worsted wool, on the other hand, is made solely of sheep fur. The worsted suit, however, is less bulky and lighter in weight while still retaining the warmth that other types of the suit might lose while being made with finer wool yarn.

The difference between these two types of suits is the high quality of their fibers. The traditional wool goes well with fibers that are thick together with the weave is coarse. This results in an uncomfortable fit because it can’t be smoothed out. The worsted, on the other hand, has fibers that are silky smooth to make a more comfortable fit.

For more information check out this article on Worsted Vs Wool.

History Of Worsted Suit

The history of the worsted suit has its roots in England. It commonly refers to the specific cut of menswear that is characterized using its worsted-based construction, which gives it a distinction from the traditional wool. The first worsted wool blends were made in England's thriving sheep farms. It is said that the secret of the first worsted woolen wool was lie in a miller named Thomas Burberry who invented it in 1851. The first worsted suit was tailored for Charles Leboville!

Many years have passed since then and worsted suits have been worn by men of all shapes and sizes because it is not only stylish but comfortable as well.

Even today, the worsted finer yarn can easily be seen in different types of suits. The most common use of the worsted suit is in the making of a two or three-piece suit. This is because it’s great for weddings and other formal events yet, it can still be made casual nowadays with several tailoring designs.

Worst or Woolen?

Worsted fabric is made with woolen yarns. This means that it's more "suitable" to make worsted suit fabric from coarse hair sheep fleece because the fibers are too short to spin into a smoother yarn.

A weave of any type of smooth, fine yarns with a hard surface, will produce a thin, strong cloth. It is usually used for suits and sportcoats.

On the other hand, wool refers to any one of many types of woven fabrics that are produced from carded woolen yarns. Wool suiting is made of long fibers which can be spun into fine yarns to make a smoother.

Woolen is commonly used for the production of sweaters, blankets, and other soft garments that are not very durable or strong.

On the contrary, worsted suits are made from smooth yarns which are stronger but thinner. Worsted high-quality fabric is often found in areas where silky sheen, durability

Manufacturing

In history, the key aspect of worsted yarn is that it’s made of straight, parallel wool fibers, with little space between them. The quality of the fabric produced defines its character. High-quality worsted wool fabric has very little space between the fibers.

To make a high-quality worsted suit, one must start with excellent raw materials (the yarn) and experienced workers who are capable of working with fine machinery. The fabric is run through huge rollers which will give it its smooth texture. This process is done several times until the fabric becomes as fine as possible.

The manufacturing process of the worsted suit involves combining which straightens the fiber to remove any tangles, grease, or dirt that might be present. It is then carded which means that it is conditioned into rolls for easier spinning. It is then dyed to get rid of any impurities present in the fiber.

The bleaching process involves removing the natural color of the wool to create a white yarn and making it brighter using hydrogen peroxide or chlorine dioxide.

Once this is done, the fibers are ready for weaving which produces strong and smooth fabric for men’s wear. Worsted fabrics can be treated and blended with different fibers and colors to create a variety of fabric types. When the fabric is made, it will be cut and sewn to make a suit or other garments. This process can take up to three months.

Wear

Something to understand is that twill weaves have a greater probability to go bright than undeniable weaves after big wear. Big wear can produce better wear in informal sports jackets.

Worsted can be easily damaged by wear and tear. Since this type of fabric is combined with fine fibers, its threads are more vulnerable to breaking when it is stretched or crushed using rough objects.

Semi-Worsted

Steer clear of this material with yarns that are spun tightly, but no longer combed wool. This means that they’re just as smooth as the worst, but not as durable or strong.

It also looks like the traditional custom suit since it has a coarse texture but is made from short fibers which aren't superfine wool. A semi-worsted suit is often used for sports coats, lounge suits.

Super 100s, 120s, 150s

As the story goes, when the first Super 100s wool used to be developed returned in the 1960s, no person may want to trust how silky easy the wool was. In their exuberance, they exclaimed that it was super!

Today most suits are made from 14-21 micron grades, so you can see how big of an effect this difference has on its quality. Note the lower the figures, the smaller and more fragile the fiber.

The process of 100s wool tends to be shiny because you're looking at up to 18 microns of spun fiber that has been put through two combining processes. The higher 100s are used for extremely fine garments like tuxedos because they're so thin, they tend to drape better than other wool.

120s are almost as thin but not as shiny since you're now looking at around 30 microns spun fiber that's been through two combining processes. They hold up well but only last so long before they start getting threadbare. 150s are pretty thick and coarse feeling because it's combed but not spun.

120s through 150s are generally found on fused suits since the fusing process stops the fabric from fraying, whereas Super 100s are too fragile to fuse. 120/150s are also used in half-canvas (more on that later), full-canvas or soft tailoring.

Forms Of Worsted Wool

The following clothes, categorized by weave, are just some of the common forms of worsted. Styles of weaving worsted wool are discussed in the following:

Plain Weave

Plain weave is the most widely used type of worsted. It’s made by passing one thread over and under another. The result is a firm, durable cloth that is tough but not too thick or heavy.

Plain weave is an extremely versatile cloth that can be used for almost any type of suit or coat. It’s also the most common form of worsted available to the public. This is because it’s easy to weave and can be used to create a wide range of different garments.

Plain weave is the most affordable fabric you will find as well as being relatively easy to care for. If you want thick, smooth wool with a classic look this is going to be your best choice. Since plain weave has a great drape, it is most often worn for suits and coats.

Tropical Wool

Tropical wool is a type that is made of 100 percent wool fibers. It has an extremely tight weave (four threads per centimeter) and has a fine, soft hand.

It’s used for making suits, overcoats, dress pants, trousers, and sports coats. It is also commonly referred to as tropical weight or summer wool. It tends to wrinkle easily so it usually requires extensive pressing when the garment is dry-cleaned.

As the name implies, it is suitable for the clothing worn in areas with high humidity. This fabric isn’t typically seen on suits available through retailers because they are usually sold in worsted or wool-polyester blends. Use this image as a reference.

High-twist Wool

The high twisted wool is made using two spools of yarn in the warp direction, or one thick and one thin. This makes this type of wool appear much thicker than other types.

It’s primarily used in heavy overcoats to keep out the cold. It is tough yet soft to the touch with a low sheen. If you have ever worn a typical business suit or sports coat, you have probably come across this type of fabric.

This is the most common type of worsted used for suits. It gets its name from being combed twice to remove imperfections in the fibers. It has a medium-fine texture with alternating slubs throughout, giving it an extremely smooth appearance. The image below is for reference.

Hopsack

Hopsack makes for a textured and ethereal fabric, and it is normally used for blazers and once in a while for fits and trousers.  It is an undyed, tightly woven fabric with a fine and smooth surface.

The name of this type of fabric comes from the weaving technique used to produce it: “hopsacks” were sacks that held hops when they were shipped from places like Bohemia in what is now the Czech Republic. Use the image given below as a reference.

Twill

Twill is a household of diagonally ribbed weaves, and these ribs are regarded as “wales”. A twill worsted typically is a right-hand twill, with the ribs pointing up to the proper.

The twill weave has diagonal lines running through it, giving it extra strength since there are more individual threads crossing at right angles.

It is more comfortable compared to other types of fabrics because of its flexibility and smoothness which makes your body move easier. Use this twill suit image as a reference.

Serge

One of the most standard worsted cloths is serge, which is woven in an even twill with a 45-degree wale on both sides of the cloth.  The distinguishing characteristic of serge is that it’s used for all kinds of clothing.

It is often woven with a wool-polyester blend to give it more weight and a better drape. It also makes the fabric softer to the touch, which is why it is suitable for blazers and sports coats by nature.

It is a popular fabric for suiting because it has a slightly textured surface, which helps give the garment a lot of character. Serge can also be found in fabrics such as tweed and flannel. Use this image as a reference.

Worsted Flannel

Worsted flannel is worsted wool (usually in an even twill weave-like serge) with its surface brushed to resemble a fuzzy woolen flannel.

It has a much more casual and rustic look than the regular worsted. It is used in sports coats and other casual garments to give it a unique textured appearance. The image of the worsted flannel suit is given below as a reference.

Prunelle

Prunelle is a type of worsted cloth that is made from yarn spun from the longest fibers. Prunelle was originally used in workwear but more recently is used for casual suits.

It is extremely strong and doesn’t stretch, making it ideal for tailored garments. But because prunelle is so stiff and firm, it can be very uncomfortable to wear. Use this image as a reference.

Gabardine

Gabardine is commonly made of either worsted, cotton, polyester, or blends of any of these fibers. It is very closely woven with a hard finish that makes it water-resistant and snag-resistant.

It’s most commonly used for overcoats, topcoats, leather jackets, and casual apparel. The image below is for reference to the Gabardine worsted suit.

Cavalry Twill

Cavalry Twill is a very unusual weave. It is made with the same diagonal ribbing as twill, but doesn’t have any right or left wales on either surface.

The purpose of this type of cloth is to provide stretchiness along one axis while avoiding stretch along the other axis. This makes it ideal for use in things like tactical pants and combat boots. Use this image as a reference for the cavalry twill suit.

Whipcord

Whipcord is a heavy, hard-wearing steep twill. Compared to cavalry twill it has a single rib. It is used for trousers, topcoats and, occasionally, suits. Whipcord is not as fitted as the other worsteds, and many prefer it because of this reason.

Whipcord can be easily recognized by its distinctive diagonal corded patterning, which is a result of the twill weave combined with a strong warp yarn that causes pronounced diagonal ribbing. Use the image below as a reference.

Herringbone

Herringbone is a twill where the wale reverses direction, and it looks like a broken zigzag. A line runs down the center of twill fabric, creating two lines on either side of this thread that are parallel to each other. This creates a herringbone pattern, which is much thicker than other worsted types due to the way it’s made. As a reference, the image of the herringbone suit is given below:


Worsted Blends

This wool can be blended with different fibers, such as mohair, silk, cashmere, or cotton. This creates a softer and less rustic texture than 100% worsted clothes.

The addition of these fibers makes it softer compared to pure worsted wool. It is not as a course but still has that casual feel about it.

Click here to check out even more types of worsted wool

Benefits Of Worsted Wool Suiting Fabrics

The benefits are that worsted wool has a crisp texture, which means it tends to look a lot more formal and sleek. It also feels very light and is smooth, making it rather comfortable.

The finishing of the fabric helps prevent any wrinkling or creasing from occurring as you wear your suit. On top of its qualities mentioned below,

Durability

Five times stronger than other kinds of fabric such as linen. Other suit fabrics may not hold up well to everyday wear and tear, but worsted suits can endure any kind of situation. This makes it a great investment for your money and time because you know that your suit will last you longer than others.

A worsted suit can last for more than 10 years if you take care of it. Other fabrics, such as cotton, may only last up to 2-3 years under the same conditions as a worsted suit with proper care and maintenance.

Breathes Easily

This wool fabric is a well-known material for warmth and insulation. It enables air to circulate through the fibers and it also absorbs humidity, which helps in keeping your skin dry and comfortable all day long.

The air pockets entice heat whilst the gaps permit air to cross via and for this reason, let moisture evaporate. Worsted suits also tend to absorb and reflect light, therefore shining through any dim or dark areas without much effort. The material is very easy to take care of and keeps its appearance well over time.

Water-resistant

Sheep’s coats have herbal water-repellent fats referred to as lanolin. While most of this is eliminated at some stage in processing, wool is nevertheless greater hard to soak than cotton.

Coats made from worsted cloth are ideal during the winter season. Since it can absorb moisture, your clothing won't get drenched in sweat whereas you wear your suit jacket throughout the day.

Dyes Easily

Suiting fabrics can dye in any color under the sun. This type of wool suit is more colorful compared to other types of fabric. The colors are not as bright as cotton, but they last longer.

Wool fabrics are dyed easily because it is made with basic natural materials. You can choose from a variety of dyes available for these suits to coordinate with your office wear or any occasion you want to dress up for.

Things To Consider When Buying Worsted Wool Suits

A lot of people prefer this over cotton because it's more comfortable and a lot easier to take care of. When buying worsted wool suits, it's best to buy a high-quality suit that is made from 100% worsted wool because the blended fabric will never have the same quality as an all-worsted suit.

Follow these steps to make sure that you’re only buying the best.

Fibre Length

Before deciding to buy a wool cloth for a classy look in any casual or special event. Find a slightly rough material and course to ensure the longevity of your suit. Fiber length in the fabric is important to be aware of.

The shorter the strands, the softer and more comfortable it will be to wear. The opposite is also true: a longer fiber length will make for a rougher texture that can feel uncomfortable when you're wearing your suit all day long.

The longer the fiber, the stronger and more durable the material will be. This means that it will last you a lot more than other materials with shorter fibers such as cotton or linen. You can use this feature if you want to make a personalized design or any pattern on the fabric.

Fiber Strength

The strength of the fiber is typically measured by the weight in grams per unit length. If you want a fabric that will last for a long time, go with one that has a high strength of fiber and vice versa. The strength of the fiber is often directly proportional to its durability and longevity.

The fiber strength of worsted wool is slightly stronger than merino wool. The fibers are thicker which means that it is more resistant to stretching and tearing. The blend of its fibers allows the worsted suit to be easily dyed, but it doesn't shed off its fiber.

Crimp

A crimp is a fancy word for bends in the individual fibers. The more crimps, the better. Look out for worsted wool suits that have a high crimp to signify that they are of a higher quality and will last you a lot longer.

Worsted fabric crimp is a pattern of fine waves found within the surface of a fabric. The fine crimp makes for a more comfortable and durable feel so it is not easily wrinkled with normal wear and tear.

The smoother the fibers are, the worse for your health because they can irritate your skin all day long. In choosing between different types of worsted wool, the crimp is one of the most important factors to consider.

Final Thoughts

Wearing a wool suit is one of the best ways to look professional and put together. Worsted wool suits can be worn in more casual settings like business meetings or social gatherings because they have a polished, smooth finish that feels elegant without being too formal.

If you’re looking for a new perfect suit but don't know what type of fabric you want, we recommend trying out Worsted Wool Suits with so many benefits and the most comfortable suits in your price range.