Understanding shirt fabric, weave and Egyptian cotton
We aim for precision manufacturing, colours and threads that do not tarnish, pill, fade, shrink or stretch and can last a lifetime while remaining sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Most popular shirting fabrics for cross seasonal wear
All the fabrics in these popular ranges can be classed as Business or Smart-Casual attire.
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Things to note when ordering:
- Quote the fabric numbers if ordering over the phone/email.
- “X” crosses mean that these fabrics are not available in our stock, however, we can source these from overseas. It will take 4 weeks for a customer to get their shirts.
- Ticks mean we have them in our stock here so delivery will be 2-3 weeks.
We have searched far and wide for the most premium quality of fabric in the world for our bespoke shirts.
Those historical houses have spent years developing their technique, sourcing only the best cotton quality in the world: Egyptian cotton and exceptional weave specifically for shirting.
To understand what fabric would best suit your cotton shirt, and what their differences are, there are a few elements to take into consideration: the raw material, the yarn, the ply and the weave.
Why is Egyptian cotton the best in the world?
There are many qualities of cotton, but all will agree that the softest, most resistant and lustrous is the Egyptian one.
This is because it is handpicked, making sure the threads are not stressed or broken by machines, and also because of the exceptionally long strands. The length of Egyptian fibers allows it to be made into incredibly resistant yet fine yarn of high quality. Long fibres also mean there is no pilling of the material for extremely long-lasting yarn.
Another characteristic of Egyptian cotton is its ability to absorb moisture, which always feels cool against the skin. It is breathable and soft. In the manufacturing world, it also retains colour better and holds deeper, more vibrant hues without fading. All in all, it is the material of all top quality shirts.
Our fabric manufacturers use Egyptian cotton, and 2 yarns spun into one to increase durability and silkiness into what is referred to as 2-ply fabric. It is a more resistant and shiny material perfect for a wide range of shirt styles. The higher cotton count translates to shirts that are easier to iron and stay crisp without needing to be starched. This includes even the poplins that we provide.
What is the difference between poplin, twill, oxford and other weaves?
Poplin is often the fabric people picture when they are thinking about button down shirts. It is a smooth, crisp, cool and breathable fabric. The weave is very fine, and in the most prestigious houses can be almost invisible.
It is perfect for warmer months and is extremely versatile. It can be used for business shirts to dress shirts.
Twill fabrics are heavier, perfect for cooler months. It has more texture with a diagonal or a V pattern in the weave, in which case it is described as Herringbone. It is softer to the touch than poplin and very durable. It drapes attractively on the body and is easier to iron and does not wrinkle easily when worn.
An oxford fabric is a thicker material with a basket weave, more common is casual shirts or trade shirts. It consists of a number of warp threads being crossed with an equal number of weft threads creating a pleasing dual colour effect.
It is rougher but also extremely durable, perfect for tailored shirts on casual-chic weekend outings.
Similar to the oxford weave, it has a two to one warp to weft ratio resulting in a finer texture. This makes it a more versatile fabric in terms of dressing it up or down. It is thicker than poplin but thinner than twill and perfect for mid-seasons and entirely acceptable as a dress shirt fabric.
Royal Oxford or Imperial Oxford
Royal oxford fabric is more intricate and detailed than the classic oxford cloth and very elegant. The texture is finer and thinner, and the lustre can give it a particular shine that makes it perfect for formal shirts.
End-on-end or fil-a-fil
This is a poplin weave introducing one other colour thread in the wrap. At a distance it looks like one solid colour, but it gains a textured effect from closer up. This adds a touch of personality for people who do not want to have just another “boring” poplin shirt. Perfect for business to formal shirts.
These come in multiple patterns, from the most intricate to the most classic, created by a special loom. The attention to detail can be truly exquisite and is usually reserved to formal occasion shirts. They have a lot of personality and can come in one solid colour or many colourful patterns.
Now that you understand different fabrics better, why not explore how to choose the perfect style bespoke shirt for you?
Do you want a fully bespoke shirt?
About Charles Nakhle
Charles learnt the trade of bespoke shirts from some of the best tailors and most recognised labels in the world.
His mentor, a master tailor who approached shirt making with an engineer’s eye for precision and detail, taught Charles techniques and formulas for shaping, sizing, and grading.
Do you want a fully bespoke shirt?