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Flannel - A Very Versatile Fabric

Posted on September 12 2019

Made from wool, flannel is a soft woven material brushed to create extra softness. The brushing process uses a fine metal brush, which rubs the fabric to create fine fibres from the loosely spun yarns.

The word flannel is thought to have a Welsh origin. The French term ‘flanelle’ began to be used in the late 17th century, and the German ‘flanell’ was first seen in the early 18th century. In the 19th century, flannel was made in the Welsh towns of Newtown, Montgomeryshire, Hay on Wye and Llanidloes. The expansion of its production is closely associated with the spread of carding mills, which prepared the wool for spinning.

At one point, Welsh, Yorkshire, Lancashire and Irish flannels differed slightly in character due largely to the grade of raw wool used in each area: some being softer and finer than others. Originally developed as a military cloth to avoid snagging, flannel developed into a luxury fabric as milling became more refined over the last one hundred years.

Nowadays, the colour of flannel is produced by dyes – originally this was achieved through mixing different coloured wools in varying quantities.

Industry Leader: Fox Brothers
One of the most famous producers of flannel, today, is the Fox Brothers mill in Somerset. Founded in 1772, Fox Brothers is credited as the original creator of flannel. Knowledge, craftsmanship and heritage are at the heart of the company’s fabric making process, with many of the workforce having followed their fathers and grandfathers into the business.

“Our flannel is very special and something that I’m very proud of, it’s all woven in-house in Somerset by a team of twenty-eight artisan weavers. We use very slow – old – looms which allows us to use the very finest of woollen spun yarns,” says Douglas Cordeaux, managing director of Fox Brothers.

As the only Bespoke Tailor in Switzerland with access to these fabrics, it would be a pleasure to tailor your new bespoke suit from a Fox Brothers Flannel or from our other ranges such as Dormeuil or VBC. To make an appointment, please click here.

How To Wear
Surprisingly contemporary, the grey flannel suit looks great on all ages. Like tweed and cord, it’s also an extremely practical option for the colder months of the year, keeping you warm and insulated, so you won’t need to pair much else with it.

Dress it up with a classic shirt and tie combination or down with a piece of merino knitwear (consider an on-trend roll neck). A nice textured mohair/cashmere jumper or knitted polo shirt would also look great underneath the suit, playing on its tactile nature.

Remember, you can split it into separates and wear the jacket and trousers individually. For a couple of fail-safe pairings, try combining your grey flannel separates with navy or black jackets/trousers.
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