Fabrics – it’s not all about colour.

When building a professional quality wardrobe, it’s important to have some fundamental knowledge about fabrics, and colour is just the first step. What makes a durable fabric? Why should you, as a consumer, choose natural fibers over synthetics? What things do you need to keep in mind when shopping for say, your new SEWT? 

Think about these questions before shopping for your new SEWT:

  • What season? Is this going to be a 3-season SEWT, just for summer, or just for winter?
  • Will it be worn everyday? Special occasions? A wedding?

These questions will help guide you in deciding what Weight, Super Count, and Material to choose:


Fabric weight is measured in grams per square metre (GSM) or in ounces (OZ), with the former being used more often that its imperial counterpart. A suitable dress shirt or blouse fabric weight could be anywhere between 100 – 150 GSM. At SEWT, our weights are generally categorized as:

  • Light-weight suitings, perfect for spring and summer, between 150 – 250 GSM;
  • Mid-weight suits, perfect for anytime of the year, are considered anywhere from 250 – 340 GSM; and
  • Heavy winter and overcoats are beyond 340 GSM. 
Super Counts

Just because fabrics have the same weight, doesn’t mean that they are the same quality so it is also important to look at the super counts, which indicate the fineness of the yarn used. The full word “super” is only used with pure virgin wool fabrics, while ‘S’ is used for recycled wool and wool blends. Super ‘S’ counts range from Super 80s to 250s, higher super numbers mean the fabrics will feel more luxurious and soft to the touch. Supers up to about super 120s are less likely to get wrinkled and are more durable – making them a better option if a suit is to be worn more frequently. At SEWT, a generally guideline for supers: 

  • Super 80s-90s very thick, very durable, very warm, tend to be inexpensive
  • Super 100s – 120s thinner and lighter but durable, less likely to get wrinkled, typically more comfortable, perfect for every day wear
  • Super 130s-150s higher grade, finer and softer, less warmth, perfect for more luxurious every day wear
  • Super 150s-200s are typically for tuxedos and special occasions, incredibly fine and luxurious, typically most expensive not typically for every day wear (but who are we to judge)

As a natural fibre, wool is a popular choice for suits and known as a natural “high-performance” fabric. Wool is: 

  • Breathable
  • Easy to clean (steaming takes away most odour and stains, and dry cleans are usually reserved for only heavy soiling)
  • Water repellant (not water-resistant, but it will keep you dryer than say cotton)
  • Keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer (contrary to myth that wool is heavy and hot, it all depends on weight and weave!)

This is due in part because of its crimped and curled nature. Wool can be woven into various textiles such as tweed, herringbone, and plaid. For other lightweight materials, there are cotton and linen (and even Wool-Linen blends). Both cotton and linen are less wrinkle-resistant and create a more casual look. Cotton, linen, and wool blends are used in warmer climates. 

Between the amount of fabrics, linings, buttons, and range of design customizations, shopping for a new SEWT can be overwhelming at times. Reach out to us and book your free consultation with our experts, we are always happy to guide you on your SEWT journey.

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