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High-Tech Manufacturing has Transformed Modern Fabrics into Lightweight Cloth for Everyday Wear

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Tweed: Rough and hairy, tweeds (the most famous being Donegal, Harris and Shetland, from their places of origin), were usually heavier cloth (from 14 to 24 ounces) and used for cold-weather suiting, sports jackets and topcoats. More recently, fabric houses such as Holland & Sherry and Dormeuil have produced tweeds that have all the beautiful characteristics of the traditional cloth but with less than one-third the weight. Dormeuil's Sportex tweed, originally woven at 20 ounces, is now produced at 12 ounces; Holland & Sherry, whose original Shetlands weighed in at 14 ounces and more, now produce a line at 11 ounces.
Vicuña: The smallest of a triumvirate of South American llamas (llama, alpaca and vicuña, in order of size), vicuñas grow what is considered the world's most precious animal fiber. Each adult yields only about eight ounces of usable undercoat in a fleece of amazing resilience, strength, beauty and softness. Traditionally the vicuña was killed when sheared; herds became so depopulated that the animal was put on the endangered species list in the 1970s. Now a method has been found to shear the animal without harm, and its numbers are growing. The vicuña is expected to prosper and be removed from the list, and production of its beautiful cloth will soon resume.
Worsteds and Woolens: The two basic types of cloth woven from woolen yarns. Generally speaking (and there are always exceptions), worsteds are smooth finished, tightly woven, strong and wrinkle resistant (examples are serge, gabardine, tropicals and high twists). Woolens are more loosely woven, softer and have an unfinished, napped surface (such as most flannels and tweeds).
Resources for Fine Cloth
Beckenstein Men's Fabrics, Inc
121 Orchard Street
New York, New York 10002
Telephone: (212) 475-6666
Dormeuil Ltd.
40 Central Park South, Ste. 2
New York, New York 10019
Telephone: (800) 506-4400
Herbert Gladson
200 South Newman Street
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601
Telephone: (800) 227-1724
G.R.M. International
6600 West Rogers Circle, No. 8
Boca Raton, Florida 33487
Telephone: (800) 223-5095
Holland & Sherry
400 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10017
Telephone: (800) 223-6385
Isles Textile Group
917 Broadway
North Massapequa, New York 11758
Telephone: (800) 447-7682
Jodek International
222 North Canon Drive, No. 204
Beverly Hills, California 90210
Telephone: (800) 325-4668
Roger La Viale
135 West 50th Street
New York, New York 10020
Telephone: (800) 223-7186
Loro Piana
46 East 61st Street
New York, New York 10021
Telephone: (800) 637-3774
Rosenthal, Inc.
706 South Fifth Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
Telephone: (215) 925-1149
Swanson & Frear
Box 31
Mendon, Massachusetts 01756
Telephone: (508) 478-6972
Other inquiries concerning cloth merchants and fabric houses can be made to the Custom Tailors and Designers Association of America, Inc., 17 East 45th Street, New York, New York 10017; Telephone: (212) 661-1960.
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