From Sheep to Suit

A great suit cannot be made without great fabric. And a lot of great fabrics start as far from great suits as possible:

"Baaa."

“Baaa.”

To fully understand how we get from a sheep to a custom suit, we need to follow a day in the life of a merino sheep (or at least their wool).  A merino sheep has some of the most sought-after wool for the making of clothes due to their softness and white color, which allows for a more lively hue when dyed.  Wool in general is an optimal fabric for suits, because it insulates well, resistant to damage, wrinkle and flame-resistant, and absorbs liquids well.  An average of two suits can be made from one sheep fleece.

3The whole process begins with the sheep being shorn.  Expert shearers can get an entire sheep’s wool coat off in one cut.  The rest of this process is called “worsting,” which involves many steps.  First is topmaking, where the wool is blended together for optimal quality. The wool is then washed, dried and brushed out.  Next up is drafting and combing the wool, which straightens and separates the fibers, allowing them to be aligned as orderly as possible. The final product of worsting is wooltop.  It is critical to the spinner for wooltop to be very uniform and clear of any clumps to ensure quality and efficiency in the following steps.

Most of the wool for clothing production is gathered in Australia, where conditions in certain areas are ideal for sheep.  The wool is cleaned there, and then sent out to various clothing workshops.  There is still a large industry in Europe for cloth production.  The carding and blending process is done by the masters who are responsible for the unvarying quality of their fabric.  The spinning and dying is generally done by the same company, to ensure consistency and excellence.  To get the best color, it is best to dye the cloth before spinning the fibers.  Spinning is an extremely important part of the whole process, because any variations in the fibers will result in a lower-quality fabric.  Next, the yarn is twisted and folded.  This process can be manipulated to bring about lighter weight fabrics.

SONY DSCAs you can see, there is a lot of work before the weaving process can even begin!  Weaving determines the weight and look of the fabric, and is done on a loom.  Pre- industrial revolution weaving was all done manually, until inventions gradually sped up the process.  “Finishing” the cloth results in the wide options of fabric looks and feels that we love to choose from!  While it seems like the process is over, the best fabrics are looked over again, and any imperfections will be removed through washing, pressing and mending.  This meticulous procedure will result in longer lasting and better feeling fabric.

Corners can easily be cut when making fabric, resulting in lower quality.  Here at Joseph Wendt Custom Clothiers, we only invest in the very best fabric coming from companies in Italy that pay as much attention to detail as we do.

Once we have fabric choices, the custom process can begin!  Each client is measured, and is given a choice of fabric and style, all to their personal taste.  From buttons to the color of the thread, we work with the customer so they get everything they want in a suit, along with the confidence of wearing an item of clothing made just for them.  No custom suit is ever the same!

Some info on the process is taken from “Suitable Sheep: From Sheep to Suit in Pictures

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