What do Super numbers really mean?

July 20, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Cloth | Leave a Comment   (0) | Ciaran

 

Super 100s, Super 120s, Super 140's, Super 150s, Super numbers

English milled fabrics

 

When browsing fabrics with your tailor you may have come across bunches labelled as ‘Super 100’s wool’ or ‘Super 140’s wool’. But what do these numbers relate to and what should you be looking for when choosing cloth for a suit?

The phrase ‘Super 100’s’ was originally conceived by spinners Joseph Lumb & Sons more than 30 years ago, but was soon adopted by Dormeuil and other merchants. Marketing of this term has been so successful over the decades that it has now reached the stage where clients will ask for a specific Super number that they had in mind, even before their first visit to a tailor.

The number itself e.g. 100, 140 etc. relates to the width of the wool yarn in microns (a micron is one millionth of a meter). So a Super 130s fabric is 17.5 microns wide. The higher the number, the silkier the fabric feels and that affects price as well. Anything above Super 140s is too fragile for repeated daily use but can be saved for special occasions.

It’s important not to place too much emphasis on the Super number because other factors are more relevant to the performance you can expect from a fabric. For example the merchant, the breed of sheep, the weight, the mill it was woven in and the way that the fabric tailors during construction. Because of these factors you can purchase a fabric labelled ‘Super 100’s’ from two different fabric merchants and they can be very different in quality.

Often the Super number is mistakenly associated with weight but the two are not always related. For example Super 120’s exist in various weights from 9oz to 12oz. When choosing your yarn it’s important to choose a fabric that is right for the end product and feels right to you. Trends in Super numbers continue to spread confusion as mill owners can produce finer and finer wools which people mistake for better quality.

As milling technology continues to improve, wool will be available in higher Super numbers but as discussed here that isn’t the overriding factor to consider when choosing fabric for your suit. Hopefully this article has given you a bit more insight into what Super numbers actually mean and this will help you make an informed choice when choosing wool yarns.

 

 

The benefits of Mohair yarn mixes.

January 20, 2012 | Posted in Blog, Cloth | Leave a Comment   (0) | freshadmin
Semi bespoke mohair suit by Jasper Littman

Mid blue Escorial mohair fabric by Holland & Sherry

 

 

One of the problems associated with lightweight summer suits is that by its very nature the fineness of the fabric means it can be less durable and more susceptible to abrasion.

The best way to solve this problem is to weave mohair in with the usual wool fibres thereby adjusting the composition and consequently the performance of the fabric.

Mohair is one of the oldest textile fibres still in use today and it has many advantages; firstly it absorbs the dye better than wool resulting in richer colours, secondly it is tougher than wool and therefore less susceptible to abrasion, thirdly it has a natural built-in resilience so consequently it creases far less than a pure wool suit. It also stretches less meaning the suit keeps its shape better.

The mohair yarn used to make suits is not the same as the yarn that’s used to make mohair jumpers, it comes from the belly of kid goats.

Apart from all of these hidden characteristics mohair also has a slight sheen or lustre to it and that distinctive mohair look is enjoying a revival in the fashion arena at the moment.

Here are some examples of good quality mohair suitings:

Holland & Sherry Classic Mohairs – 75% Super 100’s wool, 25% mohair

Holland & Sherry Luxury Mohairs – 60% Summer kid mohair, 40% Super 120’s wool.

Harrison’s Cape Kid – 60% Summer kid mohair 40% Super 100’s wool.