What does ‘Worsted’ mean?
Gorge, melton, baste, handle, pitch, twill… the world of bespoke tailoring is blessed with a rich and expressive vocabulary. Many of the terms are as old as the industry itself, and are seldom used outside the world of suiting. As a result they can be confusing, ambiguous or even misleading, and over the years this blog has sought to ease the reader gently into this brave old world.
This week our focus is on the word ‘worsted’…
The name worsted derives from the Norfolk village of Worstead, which has been famous for its weaving since the 12th century. Worsted is a form of weaving whereby the fibres of a wool are split with a comb before they are spun, separating the long, strong fibres from the others, and forcing them into straight, parallel lines. This is known as the Long Staple. The Short Staple, on the other hand, creates a hairier, warmer yarn.
This is known as the Woollen process, and is often used for jumpers and carpets. The Worsted process, on the other hand, creates a yarn which is fine, smooth and strong – making it ideal for suit-making.
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