A remarkable book of cloth swatches arrived the other day, that being J & J Minnis' The Q Project. A new sign of energy at that venerable firm, The Q Project is a modern version of a traditional tailor's suiting fabric in a 340/360 gram (11/12 ounce weight) that takes the needle well and has good crease resistance. Most remarkably, it is an Australian Merino wool Super 150s.
As it happens I heard good things about The Q Project's tailorability earlier this week from a man who knows what he is talking about but the arrival of the swatches was a surprise (I had requested the new Fresco II book, about which more in a minute). Those good things were the first time I had heard praise for a 150's from a working tailor as most of the stuff coming out of Asia is too fragile, too light and does not take the needle well. The QZ as it is known for short is woven in England and finished using proprietary techniques that give the cloth a superb handle as well as a bounce and drape hitherto not found is similar luxury cloths.
Besides the usual solids and stripes in various widths and spacings, QZ contains a variety of windowpanes, glen checks and other designs, including some twills in the traditional gabardine colors. Perhaps I am too much of a cloth geek but it appears to be wonderful stuff and some of it will probably replace a length of Golden Bale on my tailoring to-do list. Though I have not been given pricing as of yet and since 150s typically run twice as much as standard bespoke quality cloth that could be a fly in the ointment.
On another note, earlier I mentioned Fresco and, as if QZ were not enough, Minnis' Fresco II book lived up to its advance billing. Fresco II is a much-needed re-issue of a light-weight, crease-resistant and breathable cloth that has been as close to a perfect hot weather suiting as current weaving technology permits. The principal challenge with it from the customers' point of view has been that choices have been more limited each year as stocks of this weave and that have run out. Choices are fixed in spades now.
Fresco II contains Fresco I's standard 8/9, 9/10 and 14/15 ounce weights and brings back the 70% wool, 30% Mohair blend that disappeared several years ago in addition. I could be wrong since I have only swatches to work from but the hand on the new stuff seems more refined, comparable to Smith's Finmeresco. And the pattern range is broadened considerably, including a light gray solid in 9/10 that has been unavailable for years and a light tan in the same weight that would make a very nice alternative to a linen suit. There are even windowpanes in three colors.
Neither book is on the Huddersfield web site yet but they are apparently in the hands of a tailor near you (or, in my case, far from me) for those who are interested.