If you know a thing or two about menswear, then you would have heard of herringbone weave. It has been compared to twill weave more often than not and has been noted for its versatility in the textile industry. So what is herringbone weave, and what can it be used for? In this article, you'll learn about herringbone weave, its uses, benefits, and how it's similar to and different from twill weave.
Herringbone Weave Tutorial
What is Herringbone Weave?
Firstly, it's important to note that this is a weave and not a fabric. Herringbone weave can be made from different kinds of fabrics. It is simply a pattern that has a characteristic V shape. The pattern is arranged into columns, with the lines in each column leaning towards opposite directions.
To give you a graphic representation, try to picture the spine of a herring fish (assuming you've seen one). They look similar, and it's where the weave gets its name from. Classic herringbone weave patterns are mostly made with wool and are popularly used to make outerwear and suits for men.
The weft thread is the white lines while the warp threads are the pink vertical lines.
What is Herringbone Fabric?
Herringbone is a type of fabric with a distinctive v-shaped weaving pattern named after the skeleton of the herringbone fish. This pattern is created by alternating the direction of the twill weave, resulting in a broken zigzag design. Herringbone fabric is often made from cottons, wool or wool blends that mix nylon and polyester fibers.
History of Herringbone Weave
Herringbone is a pattern that was first used in the old Roman Empire for constructing roads. Bricks were laid in a zig-zag pattern, forming a V-shape or a crisscross. This was because the crisscrossing pattern allowed for compression and easy flow of traffic. However, the earliest use of herringbone weave can be traced to ancient Italy, where this versatile weave was used for tailoring purposes.
With time, herringbone gained ground in the weaving industry as it became popular for menswear. Herringbone has stood the test of time and is still being used to make some of the most popular outfits, particularly suits and skirts.
Uses Of Herringbone Weave
Herringbone pattern weave is commonly used to produce clothing. It is used for the production of high-fashion suits, jackets, and dresses. Some of its main uses include:
- Suits: Herringbone suits are a great choice for men who regularly dress in business professional outfits. When woven into a navy worsted or charcoal wool, the herringbone weave is not too showy. This gives the suit a stylish look whilst retaining the traits that make it an official dress code.
- Sportcoats: Sportcoats are casual, and that's why they are the ideal type of clothes for displaying herringbone in all its flamboyant glory. Many regular spot coat fabrics like donegals and plain tweeds are products of herringbone weave. These types of sportcoats match well with denim, sweaters, and casual trousers.
- Tuxedos: Tuxedos are formal attire for which the herringbone weave can be used.
Where Can You Wear Herringbone Fabric Outfits?
There are no real restrictions with outfits made from this weave. You can wear them to the following places:
- Offices: Whether the nature of your job demands a business professional or a business casual dress code, you can totally rock an outfit made with this herringbone weave. The rule is simple, the more prominent the herringbone, the more casual the outfit becomes. So if you're gunning for a more formal outfit, it's best to stick with herringbone suits that are not too showy.
- Weddings: I believe weddings are the best occasions to wear herringbone outfits, too, as they are neither official nor overly casual events.
Benefits of Herringbone Weaves
Apart from its versatility, herringbone weave patterns often give off a kind of texture that many fashion enthusiasts find alluring. Here are other benefits of herringbone weave that you should know:
- Versatility: This feature makes herringbone weave a great choice for dressmaking. It features in the production of heavy winter clothes like sweatshirts and thick jackets. It can also be used for light summer clothes like dresses. Its use usually depends on the kind of fabric the herringbone weave was made from.
- Weight: The herringbone weave is heavier than the standard twill weave. This makes it better for making fashion pieces in cooler seasons. Clothes like winter jackets and sweatshirts for winter are thicker and warmer when made with a herringbone weave.
- Depth and Texture: The feel and depth are inexplicably gracious. This weave adds depth and a touch of class to your look without doing too much. But if you want a bit too much, you can add a variety of colors while weaving or picking a design to give you the pop that you desire.
How to Make Herringbone Weave
The herringbone weaving pattern is slightly different from the twill weaving pattern. Herringbone is just an alternating twill weave. It is no wonder it's called the broken twill weave.
When making a twill weave, you continue a diagonal pattern endlessly in one direction. But with a herringbone weave, all that is needed is a switch in direction. This leaves you with a pattern that looks like the bone of the herring fish. The result of this switch in pattern is an elegant stitch with remarkable versatility that looks good when combined with just about anything.
Herringbone Weave Vs Twill Weave
Similarities in Herringbone vs Twill
Twill and Herringbone weave can be a bit confusing if you're not very familiar with both. If you pick up a suit and a jacket made with twill and herringbone, here are some similarities you'd notice:
- Shows few stains: Because of the colors used to weave and the weave patterns, garments made with herringbone and twill weave can serve as a camouflage for stains. They hide stains so well that you'd think it was part of the clothing pattern.
- Shows Few wrinkles and creases: You can pick up a garment made from herringbone or twill from your wardrobe and wear it right away without worrying about wrinkles. The patterns on these weaves make them stand out and ready to wear even with little or no proper care.
- Great Opacity: The patterns can seem mysterious though very opaque. It speaks class and gives you a kind of distinctive look and glam. Wearing a garment made with herringbone or twill will make you stand out everytime.
- Durable: In most cases, owners of garments made with twill and herringbone only dispose of them when they outgrow the clothes or simply grow tired of them. They are durable and never go out of style. So when you do buy a garment made with either of both weaves, you're making a long-term investment that should serve you for a while.
Differences in Twill vs Herringbone
- Uses: While herringbone weave is mainly used for the production of suits, jackets, and sweatshirts, twill weave is used for the production of curtains, tablecloths, and dresses. This is because twill gives a finer drape than herringbone.
- Pattern: While twill is defined by sloping ridges and regular interlocking that follows one direction, herringbone is alternated to resemble a zigzag pattern or a broken twill. This switch in pattern reveals a V-shaped pattern.
- Weaving: The twill weave follows a direction that is either right-handed, tuning from the bottom left to the top right, or left-handed, running from the bottom right to the top left. Meanwhile, the herringbone weave is made in a zig-zag pattern, resembling the spine of the herringfish. While the twill weave resembles a plain chevron, the herringbone weave looks like a broken zigzag.
Caring For Herringbone Weave
Depending on the fabric it is made of, garments made of herringbone weave have distinctive care features. Check the label of the garment you have purchased and follow the care instructions given.
On a general note, herringbone weave garments made with wool should be dry cleaned as washing will result in shrinking if it's made with untreated wool.
However, if the wool is treated and you have to wash it, you must apply great care. Wash with cool water, use mild soap or detergent, gently squeeze the garment, and lay it flat to dry.
FURTHER READING: How to Wash Wool
What is Herringbone Weave - In Conclusion
This herringbone weave is a classical weave that has continued to remain fashionable through the ages. There's every bit of chance you already own a few outfits made with this weave.
But if that's not the case, then you may want to reconsider your fashion choices. Herringbone weave clothes are easy to maintain, fashionable, and highly flexible. Whether it's the hot summer days or cold winter mornings, the time is always right to wear a herringbone weave outfit.