Talking tailoring: Understanding fabric weights

Australia can sometimes be a true four-season climate, swinging from sweltering summers to bitingly chilly winters. Build a roster of quality suits without paying due attention to selecting the appropriate fabric and one will find himself either sweating or shivering unnecessarily.

The simplest rule of thumb to follow is: heavier fabrics for winter, and lighter fabrics for summer – that, however, is merely a starting point for anyone interested not just in comfort, but also various factors such as fit and longevity.

lightweight-1Hopsack fabric is both lightweight and breathable

Our team of fitters will discuss your fabric preferences in relation to colours and patterns that better suit your lifestyle, but also consider options for the types and weights of fabrics used. This might be expressed in GSM, or grams per square metre, or in ounces (sometimes abbreviated to OZ). Lightweight fabrics best suited to shirts might start at around 100 to 150 GSM, warm weather suitings from 150 to 270 GSM, midweight suits from 270 to 350 GSM, and beyond 350 GSM for heavier suits during winter.

Further complicating matters, different fabrics of the same weight might also vary in quality; yet it is generally true that a fabric with higher GSM will also be more robust. That additional complexity boils down to selecting between wools with super counts ranging from Super 100s to Super 180s – referring to the fineness of the yarn with a higher number representing a more luxurious cloth.

heavyweightFlannel is a heavier fabric that's perfect for colder days

These are amongst the important factors our team of fitters consider and advise on when discussing in details a made-to-measure tailored garment with our clients:

Drape: the fabric’s weight significantly impacts its drape, or the way it hangs, which ultimately informs where and how the tailored garment should be worn. A heavier fabric with a more pronounced drape lends itself to more formal suiting because it creates a neater, more uniform finish.

Comfort: heavier fabrics generally equate to a warmer suit while lighter, softer, and more breathable fabrics will typically provide greater comfort throughout the day.

Material: wool is eternally popular because it breathes well as a natural fibre, is soft yet robust, and resistant to wrinkling. Wool might also be woven in various configurations such as tweed, worsted and cashmere. Cotton is typically a lighter weight fabric and scores well for softness, but with less wrinkle-resistance as compared to its wool counterpart. Linen is a popular choice for warmer climates, with its lighter weight and looser weave that gives a more casual silhouette and promotes greater air circulation.

Durability and Usage: no particular suit should be worn consecutively every single day of the week, but a heavier fabric will indeed remain more durable and retain its natural shape more readily compared to lightweight or middleweight fabrics.

A good tailor should weigh up all of the aforementioned factors to help determine the appropriate fabric types and weights that best suit the gament’s purpose – book a fitting online with our expertly-trained MelbourneSydney, and Adelaide showroom fitters today.