Vintage Suiting Fabric

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Seb Lucas, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,117
    Location:
    Australia
    I used to buy vintage suits thirty plus years ago when they were $5 to $10 for a mint example.

    One thing I loved about them was the coarseness of the wool and the extraordinary weight. Part of the weight was obviously horsehair and full canvas lining. I was astonished that men in Australia could even wear this heavy stuff.

    Who, if anyone uses this kind of coarse, heavy suiting fabric any more?
     
  2. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    If you are asking who is using this kind of fabric for new products, well then the answer is practically nobody.

    One reason is that cloth with such "qualities" is not produced anymore and, thus, whoever would like to produce a garment using this kind of material has to restort to the few bolts produced in the past which are left in stock.

    I said "qualities" with quotation marks because the attributes you cited were not the details men wanted for their suits: people (then like now) wanted suits to be durable and to drape well, but they wanted them to be comfortable to wear and not bulky or scratchy. Modern wool of good quality (read: not the hideous paper-thin fabric that's everywhere in RTW and "luxury" tailoring) has managed to get all of this.
     
  3. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,117
    Location:
    Australia
    Fletcher Jones (a famous men's clothing store here, now defunct) were making suits with these qualities until the early 1980's. Marvelous stuff.
     
  4. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Location:
    Sydney Australia
    In sourcing heavier weight fabrics for my suits, I haven't come across anything coarse, but there are quite a few places online you can find suiting cloth with some good vintage-style heft to it.
     
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  5. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    6,117
    Location:
    Australia
    Thanks Benny - it was more of a curiosity question. I don't need a suit. I recently saw a couple of suit coats hanging in a thrift shop made from that old cloth, but it is getting rare.

    Given the expertise here, I was just wondering if that heavy, indestructible fabric was still made and what it might be called. Maybe coarse is too strong a word - it just has a slightly rough hand. :confused: It was still being used in 1960's and 70's suits, but mainly worn by conservative old gentlemen with ties to Britain. My doctor, who was born in 1915, used to wear them. Needless to say he died decades ago.
     
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  6. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

    Messages:
    370
    Location:
    Coventry, UK
    I would say that this kind of cloth still exists, though in a less "rough" form. Suiting of heavy weight and superb resilience capabilities can be found in most suiting fabric shops in UK (you can find it online too).

    As I noted earlier, mills have managed to get density consistent within bolts and to avoid a scratchy hand without weaving a uber-thin and shiny cloth.
     
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  7. Safford

    Safford New in Town

    Messages:
    6
    But what is it called? I love the texture and am thinking about a new suit...is scratchy still an option?
     
  8. PeterB

    PeterB One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Abu Dhabi
    Plenty of scratchy still available. Check Harrisons of Edinburgh. They have some good heavy weight tweeds. Also the heavier Heild brothers if you can find it
     

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