Tuesday, November 23, 2010
It is odd, I think, that it should be relatively easy to find beautiful cloth for summer or winter odd jackets in appropriate patterns and weights but significantly more difficult to locate comparable stuff for spring and fall days with in-between temperatures. That is of course principally because the staples of cool weather, woolen flannels and tweeds, can't be made lighter than 12-14 ounces (360-420 grams), leaving us only worsteds to choose from.
The ingenuity of man being what it is, mills have for years offered lighter weight worsted flannels and several books of worsted tweeds. Ignoring worsted flannels for today, as I try to do most of the time given that they tend to have none of the desireable characteristics of woolen flannels while still managing to wear hot, Harrison's Glorious Twelfth and John Hardy's Worsted Alsport are two of the better-known worsted tweed offerings, with the Harrison's being a cut above in my opinion.
There is in addition the 10/11 ounce Breanish tweed which can be quite good looking, however Breanish achieves its lower weight with a 2x1 weave rather than the sturdier 2x2 and that makes for relatively fragile cloth that is prone to pilling. It is fine for one change of pace jacket in a wardrobe but in my opinion should not be relied upon exclusively.
All that said, I was pleased to stumble upon W. Bill's Balmoral Shetlands, another selection of 11 ounce faux tweed odd jacketings from London's peerless tweed merchant. The swatches have the apparently inevitable smooth, machine-woven feel of worsteds but there are some interesting checks. I liked the 82237 in the top photo and the 82210 whose underside is shown in the second shot may be my favorite.
It is good to have options.