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Book Review - Dugsdale Bros New Fine Worsted


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#1 Sator

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 01:13 PM

These days when the summer temperature soar, the default thing to do is throw off the coat and tie, roll up the sleeves until one generally looks like one has just been to the beach. When you consider that most ready to wear coats are made up to be a "four seasons" garment, it isn't much surprising - too hot for summer, too cold for winter. It takes a more fastidious sort of dresser to match the cloth to the season, so that even when the temperatures swelter, there is no need for a sartorial melt down. That is usually something for the bespoke customer, with linen tie, light open weave shirt, and of course a summer suit of summer cloth. If the sheep both in Australia and England keep their coats on in summer to protect them against the heat, why shouldn't man do the same? For wool has both the ability to cool as well as to keep warm.

The better known options for summer wear include Fresco, developed by Minnis or a related type of high twist cloth, Crispaire. This species of weave is often known as a "fresco" in the same way that some people call all vacuum cleans "Hoovers". The pros of this type of cloth are well known amongst aficionados - they hold a crease well, wrinkles fall out of them quickly, and they make up well even in light weights. However, there are always a few who one simply cannot convince to wear this species of cloth, simply because it has a such a rough and dry texture that detractors liken it to a potato sack. But, says the aficionado, it is much better than to have to remove one's coat, and remain looking smart long after all the wearers of the hot wearing off the peg polyester suits have been reduced to a shambles.

Less well known is the New Fine Worsted book from Dugdale Bros. For anyone who finds fresco type high twist weaves to be too coarse should be urged to take a look at this range. It is designed to have many of the positive attributes of these other high twist cloths, yet the final aesthetic look and feel is much more refined and suitable for dressier town wear.





The name is a minor misnomer because it has remained the same for decades. The grandfather of the current owners was making this cloth in Huddersfield at a time when 15 Oz cloth was considered a lightweight summer cloth. The unique weave was pioneered as a summer lightweight using a combination of yarn, construction and finish. Times have changed and technology now allows the cloth to be woven to a lighter 8/9 Oz, making it even better for summer wear. In that sense alone the New in New Fine Worsteds is no misnomer.

A quick glance at the weave shows a plain weave construction that is more open than usual to allow it to breath:



It is clearly designed to permit the cloth to run cool in the summer heat. The hand of the cloth suggests that there is extra twist on the yarn, giving a characteristic crisp and dry finish, though nowhere quite so dry as most fresco type weaves. Indeed, it retains much of the soft smoothness of a more conventional worsted, with the dryness kept at a minimum. The finish is smooth and refined.

The book offers a large selection - much larger than most books of fresco. All of the usual classics are there. Many of the checks are muted and understated in design, often self-patterned. The solids come in wide range of attractive shades of colours. This is not something that is to be taken lightly - simple elegant plain shades are remarkably hard to find, and this book offers an above average number of shades that are winners.

















While perhaps better known in Britain, these cloths deserve to be better known internationally, as they offer something that many other books do not - a refined and elegant summer cloth that runs cool and is crease resistant.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#2 Bird's One View

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 04:40 PM

This looks similar to Harrisons Frontier -- which also comes in a wider range of colors and patterns than Minnis Fresco.

I'm enjoying these book reviews.

#3 Gruto

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 01:23 AM

Thank you, Sator. How does it compare to tropical worsted? It looks to be some sort of hopsack or panama weave that is more open?
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#4 Sator

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 06:59 AM

Plain weave = Panama weave. They are different terms for the same thing.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#5 Gruto

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Posted 10 October 2009 - 06:05 PM

Plain weave = Panama weave. They are different terms for the same thing.


I guess tropical worsted is a more smooth weave then. BTW, how does tropical worsted and a light garbadine differ?
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#6 Bird's One View

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 03:47 AM

I guess tropical worsted is a more smooth weave then. BTW, how does tropical worsted and a light garbadine differ?


gabardine is warp faced (like denim)
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#7 hymo

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:54 PM

I know the standard procedure in choosing a cloth for purchase is to request for a swatch. But the example of Andrew Rogers and British Fabrics (on eBay) go to show that it is possible to sell over the internet based on pictures alone, especially if the quality of the cloth is well-established. Also, it is impractical at these profit margins to send swatches to the end consumer (the bespeaker). I would like to suggest that either Dugdale Bros. or those of you with swatches put a comprehensive picture catalog of them on the internet with prices to facilitate the buying process. That way, I can send a purchase order to Dugdale instead of some vague inquiry into patterns and how to buy their cloth.

#8 CLOTHCAPBOB

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 11:08 PM

Hymo, you are correct. We are talking to several people at the moment about visually introducing all our products onto a website. This will take a while as there is a lot of product on offer and of course we at the cloth coal face are a little Jurassic. Thanks for the nudge to all of you who have brought up this subject.
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#9 jukes

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 12:01 AM

I set up a workshop at home, ordering cloth for potential clients is a catch 22, if you do not have a shop, most of the high end cloth makers will not part with bunches
(which i would be willing to pay for.)On Friday i took a chance and ordered a plain black worsted from Dugdale,s (due to the positive feedback on here) for a friend who needs his suit for next Monday, leaving no time to request a sample. I could have gone the e bay route but that was far too risky.

#10 dkst

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 10:52 AM

There are a few cloths in this book that are "textured." Sator, could you enlighten us as to how these textured cloths differ from the rest of the book? I would love to see a scan of one of them if you have one handy. Thanks.

#11 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 11 July 2011 - 03:44 PM

Be aware those Dugdale fabrics are not shrink proof.
On a trouser length you can miss 1.5cm if you cut German industrialised.

Schneidern heisst, viel Wissen, viel Arbeit und keine Kohle im Sack, dafuer aber viele Kunden, die alles besser wissen.  :Big Grin:





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