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Personal Styling FYI: Fabric Weight

I have recently been reminded by a few clients that the weight of their garments is so important to them.  I often take this for granted with the quality of apparel we select for our clients, but actually it is a unique and often underrated feature of a garment. 

For years, designers, dressmakers, and tailors used weights to keep a garment hanging correctly.  These weights were sewn into the hemlines of skirts, dresses, and jackets so that everything stayed straight and even and they could be used with all types of fabrics.  But today we seldom use them, unless it is for drapery.

Are they passé, or is it just that technology has moved us in other directions to achieve the same effect?

I would say that it is a finery that often is still needed, but not appreciated in our fast fashion world.  And probably many of us don’t know it is even an option. Take special occasion attire for instance, the weight of a garment is more important here than ever.  Ever notice a garment made in light weight jersey, how it just hugs every curve of the body, never enhancing one feature?  Ever notice the inexpensive satins and poly chiffons used in today’s prom dresses.  Most of us at ages 15-21 can get away with these fabrics used on our gowns, but not as we mature.  Instead of one layer and a lining as we see sometimes today, quality designer gowns have layers and layers of chiffon giving weight to the garment and creating that beautiful drape!   I personally like fabrics, and thus garments, that have substantial weight to them.  They not only fit better, but lay better, drape better and as we say in the business "hang better" on all bodies. 

In talking about the weight of a garment, it isn’t always just the actual weight of the fabric, but also the type of fabric chosen for the garment.  The actual finishes play a role too, such as is the hem small or large, is there interfacing used, is there lining in the garment or is there a woven feature that adds dimension and depth.  New technology has further contributed to this change by creating new fabrics as well, knits and wools are lighter, yet denser and softer, but still as warm.  Then the construction, placement of darts, and extra seam allowance contributes as well.

So the next time that you are looking for the perfect garment, be it a coat, special occasion dress, jacket or pant.  Consider the weight of the garment, a feature that should not be overlooked!



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