Suitings is fabric of a suitable quality for making suits, trousers, jackets, and skirts. In other words, suitings are fabrics used to make suits.
In clothing, a suit is a set of garments made from the same cloth, usually consisting of at least a jacket and trousers.
Originally, as with most clothes, a tailor made the suit from his client's selected cloth; these are now often known as bespoke suits. The suit was custom made to the measurements, taste, and style of the man. Since the Industrial Revolution, most suits are mass-produced, and, as such, are sold as ready-to-wear garments (though alteration by a tailor prior to wearing is common). Currently, suits are sold in roughly four ways:
bespoke, in which the garment is custom-made by a tailor from a pattern created entirely from the customer's measurements, giving the best fit and free choice of fabric.
made to measure, in which a pre-made pattern is modified to fit the customer, and a limited selection of options and fabrics is available.
suit separates where jacket and trousers are sold separately, allowing a customer to choose the size that is best for them and limit the amount of alterations needed.
Suits are made in a variety of suiting fabrics, but most commonly from wool. The two main yarns produce worsteds (where the fibres are combed before spinning to produce a smooth, hard wearing cloth) and woollens (where they are not, thus remaining comparatively fluffy in texture). These can be woven in a number of ways producing flannel, tweed, gabardine, and fresco among others. These fabrics all have different weights and feel, and some fabrics have an S (or Super S) number describing the fineness of the fibres measured by average fibre diameter, e.g., Super 120; however, the finer the fabric, the more delicate and thus less likely to be long-wearing it will be. Although wool has traditionally been associated with warm, bulky clothing meant for warding off cold weather, advances in making finer and finer fibre have made wool suits acceptable for warmer weather, as fabrics have accordingly become lighter and more supple. Wool fabric is denominated by the weight of a one-square yard piece; thus, the heavier wools, suitable for winter only, are 12-14 oz.; the medium, "three season" (i.e., excluding summer) are 10-11 oz.; and summer wools are 7-8 oz. (In the days before central heating, heavier wools such as 16 oz. were used in suits; now they are used mainly in overcoats and topcoats.) Other materials are used sometimes, either alone or blended with wool, such as cashmere. Silk alone or blended with wool is sometimes used. Synthetic materials, while cheaper, e.g., polyester, are very rarely recommended by experts. At most, a blend of predominantly wool may be acceptable to obtain the main benefit of synthetics, namely resistance to wrinkling, particularly in garments used for travel; however, any synthetic, blended or otherwise, will always be warmer and clammier than wool alone. For hot weather, linen is also used, and in (Southern) North America cotton seersucker is worn. The main four colours for suits worn in business are black, light grey, dark grey, and navy, either with or without patterns.
Inside the jacket of a suit, between the outer fabric and the inner
lining, there is a layer of sturdy interfacing fabric
to prevent the wool from stretching out of shape; this layer of cloth is
often called the canvas after the fabric from which it
was traditionally made. It can also be called interfacing or
interlining. Expensive jackets have a floating canvas, while
cheaply manufactured models have a fused (glued) canvas.
Learn about suiting fabrics on the Fashion Blog.
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