Flannel is a durable yet soft work-wear fabric that has been around for
hundreds of years. It was made to insulate people from cold, wet weather
– and its comfort and versatility have made it a classic.
Resourceful Welsh or Scottish people (its exact origins are unknown) created flannel as an inexpensive way to endure the elements. It was made by hand-carding or brushing wool fabrics on both sides. Carding breaks up the individual fibres and pulls them into a tight web for a texture soft enough to be worn against the skin, yet dense enough to retain heat and repel damp conditions.
When mass production made flannel cheap and readily available, it soared in popularity in Europe and the U.S. Soon flannel – particularly in plaid – became the rugged symbol of working men and women.
Twill is one of the most common fabrics in the modern closet, woven for
everything from denim jeans and chino trousers to dress shirts and
gabardine jackets. Its tell-tale diagonal pattern makes it a rugged,
reliable material for structured garments.
One of three fundamental types of weaves – the other two are plain weave and satin – twill is woven with a ‘step’ that gives it its iconic diagonal appearance. One thread crosses over one or more threads before moving under two or more threads. The pattern is repeated but ‘steps up’ one thread in the weave, creating a staircase effect.
The step construction makes twill wrinkle-resistant and helps it drape well with a softer and more pliable feel. The diagonal texture means that stains are less noticeable than they would be on a smooth surface, making it a solid choice for work wear as well as upholstery.