Best fabrics for suits

Some important things to consider when deciding on the best fabric for your suits

how to decide on the fabric of suits

When buying a suit or getting one stitched, the type of fabric used is a very important factor in determining how it will turn out. If you want a head-turning suit, when selecting the fabric you will need to take into account factors such as the quality of the fabric, its softness, time of the year you need to wear it, etc

Fabrics for suits

Types of suits

A basic suit generally consists of a single-breasted jacket with notched or peaked lapels, flat front or pleated pants, and sometimes a waistcoat. It is usually made of a medium weight wool fabric. But that is the basic suit. There are many variations of suits used for different occasions and lifestyles and all of them can be made in a variety of fabrics.

Office suitsAn office suit is a basic suit preferably in a dark or navy blue color. It is one you will be comfortable in a boardroom in your office, impress the colleagues in a meeting. Even though you can go for either notched or peaked lapel, the notched lapel gives a classic effect. It can be either single or double-breasted, yet single-breasted with four buttons on the sleeves are more suitable for a board room. A jetted pocket will give the suit a finer sleek look.

The best fabric for an office suit is wool or wool blend.

Formal suits – A formal suit is used for the most formal of occasions like white or black tie events, weddings, etc. The shinier and smoother the material, the more formal it looks.

Woven Cashmere fabric or pure silk are the best fabrics suited for formal suits.

Tuxedos – A tuxedo can be made in a black or navy color fabric with grosgrain or satin shawl lapels. The buttons in a tuxedo are generally covered with the same fabric as that of the lapels. A tuxedo jacket looks well with tuxedo trousers which are cuffed or uncuffed with a satin strip down the side of the leg. In a tuxedo, the waistband can be covered with a cummerbund or suspenders but no belt.

Breathability and comfort

As everyone knows natural fabrics are better than synthetic fabrics when it comes to breathability. Polyester and Polyester -wool blend fabrics are usually the fabric of ready-made suits. You will not be very comfortable in this fabric because it is made of synthetic fibers. If you are opting for Ensure that the fabric does not have more than five percent of synthetic fibers for it to have an optimal level of comfort.

If you need to wear a suit for summer or give off a slightly more casual vibe or want complete breathability cotton and Linen could be your choices. Silks and rayons are also good options. Although they lack the warmth or the wrinkle-free nature of wool, a suit made of good quality cotton or fine linen can be lightweight, breathable, and very comfortable.

Tropical wool fabrics are a good choice if you want a lightweight option in wool.

Appearance and wrinkle resistance

The best suits are made of fine, smooth, and luxurious fabrics that do not wrinkle easily. Appearance-wise nothing can beat silk or cashmere wool. If you want wrinkle-free go for wool or wool blend fabrics. 

There are many reasons why a wool or a natural wool blend is the first choice when looking for a premium fabric for a suit – First of all, softness and breathability give it an edge; it is suitable for all weather wear – keeps you cool in summer and hot in winter. The fabric is almost wrinkle-free and very refined looking.

Cashmere wool – Cashmere fibers are sourced from the soft undercoat fibers of the Kashmir goat. The fabric is usually a blend of cashmere wool and other wool but still, the fabric is very superior and very expensive – just great for making suits for weddings and other formal occasions.

Worsted wool is the first choice when you are looking for a fine classy suit fabric that feels good on your body and from the outside. It is a suiting fabric with a smooth surface, unlike woolen fabric, because it is made of combed fibers. You can go for pure worsted wool or worsted wool blend suiting fabrics.

Wool Gabardine is a worsted wool fabric that is very popular for suits. Gabardine has a twill weave with diagonal ribs on the surface. Other worsted wool fabrics like Bedford cord, flannel, and fresco fabrics are also used for making suits. Fresco has a somewhat open weave and is good for making summer suits.

Typical wool bends used are a mix of merino wool/cashmere, silk, and elastane fibers. Linen, cotton, rayon and some fabrics wrinkle and crease easily.

Velvet is an option if you want to make suits for any glamorous event.

If you want a slim-fitting suit you can go for wool suiting fabric blended with lycra.


Polyester suiting has a shine and it can look a little tacky. but because of its low cost, many people go for this. But wool blended with polyester is superior to a pure polyester suit fabric. Fabrics made of rayon/viscose fibers can look good and they are inexpensive but they are not durable.

Fabric weight

If you want a suit meant for all-weather choose a fabric with a weight of 270gm/m to 310 gms/m (9.5oz – 11oz) This indicates that the fabric is of medium weight. For a summer suit, you can choose one which is between 200gm/m-250gm/m (7 oz to 90z). Polyester-wool blends are lightweight.

Fabric weave

Houndstooth weave, and Twill weave are the most popular weaves seen in suit fabrics.

Bedford cord is a twill weave fabric that looks somewhat like Corduroy with cords running vertically. It tends to be a largely durable material often made with cotton, wool, or worsted yarns.

Barathea is a twill weave fabric with a broken-rib pattern. As it is a worsted wool fabric (can be silk too), this fabric is very soft despite its textured pebbly surface. Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides.

Fabric color and patterns

Neutral colors other than white and black are preferred for suits though this depends on the occasion. For a wedding people almost always look at a black suit first, or at most a navy. Baby Pink suits are trendy among the youth. Charcoal, Navy blue are the most preferred conservative colors

The most common suit patterns are windowpane plaid, houndstooth, herringbone, pinstripes, shadow stripes, chalk stripes, glen plaid and tweed. The windowpane plaid looks like a wide-open grid design formed by thin lines. The Houndstooth is a two-tone pattern made up of broken-checks. The herringbone is composed of two Colors and has a distinctive V shape. Pinstripes are made of very thin vertical stripes that look like pin drops. In the shadow stripes, the vertical stripes are made of the same colour that of the suit material. The chalk stripes on the other hand are made with white vertical stripes. The glen plaid or the Prince of Wales check has overlapping patterns of large and small checks. Tweed is not a pattern but a fabric. It has a rough unfinished texture and is woven with multicoloured yarns to get a flecked appearance. 

Patterns can make a suit look interesting but sometimes patterns are not welcome. Bold plaids can make you look heavier. A conservative pinstripe pattern is welcome.

Related post : How to buy a suit.; Fabric prints -names

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
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