Seersucker fabric emerges every year as soon as the sun comes out, as it’s as summery as Wimbledon, but have you ever wondered what seersucker is and what makes it such a great summer fabric? (And how does seersucker get that instantly recognisable wrinkle?)
Well, we are here to tell you....
Why is it called seersucker?
You know us, we love a fun fact, and this one is a cracker. The name comes from the Persian phrase shir-o-shakhar, meaning “milk and sugar” which is based on the difference in texture that distinguishes seersucker from other fabrics. The crinkled texture comes from the threads on the loom having different tensions. See, quite a good fun fact there for you.
And just because we can, here is another fun fact; in the Rolling Stone’s song West Coast Promo Man the lyrics refer to a man in a seersucker suit.
What is the definition of a seersucker fabric?
Now this is slightly tricker because a seersucker can be made from a variety of fibres, mostly from natural fibres like cotton, linen or silk. But it is most commonly made from 100% cotton, (all the Fabrics Galore seersuckers are made from 100% cotton). This is also why it is such a great summer fabric because the cotton is light and cool, making it great for wearing in warm weather.
But for a fabric to be called a seersucker it must have that certain type of crinkle, which made it popular in the beginning, because it was perfect for travelling since it was meant to be wrinkled.
How is seersucker fabric made?
The type of wrinkle in a seersucker comes from its construction, and it all comes down to the slack tension weave (course it does, you knew that). But for those who don’t know, it comes from some of the vertical warp yarns being pulled tighter than others, meaning the ones pulled tighter pucker and the others don’t.
Is seersucker woven or knit?
A seersucker is very much a woven textile, and as we have just described the fun puckering comes from the way it is woven. This allows it to have a certain level of stability and for it to be made from 100% cotton making it a great summer fabric.
What can you make from seersucker?
Fabulous Seersucker Dress from @malthimakes in our Seersucker Check
As this summer fabric is usually made from 100% cotton, a seersucker can be used for pretty much anything you can possibly imagine. In womenswear, it is perfect for summer dresses, skirts, and light weight tops, for children it can make super cute little bloomers or dungarees and finally, for menswear it is traditionally used for summer suiting. This idea comes from the United States where originally seersucker was worn by labourers in a bid to stay cool during the heat. Until a man named Joseph Guerney Canon wore a seersucker suit to meet President Roosevelt because it was the only suit he could think would keep him cool, instantly elevating seersucker from workwear to formal wear.
Why is seersucker so good in summer?
Now this might sound a bit more scientific than you are used to, but it all comes down to the wrinkles in the fabric. By having a cotton with some added puckering it means that fabric doesn’t lay on your skin like other fabrics, meaning that the air can travel around the body keeping you cooler.
Cotton is already a pretty good fabric to wear in warmer weather because of its breathability and high wick ability (meaning it absorbs moisture and dries quickly). So you can't really do much better in the heat than a cotton seersucker.
Does seersucker wrinkle easily?
Throughout history seersucker has been so popular because the wrinkle is meant to be there, meaning for travellers it was perfect as the texture meant you could pull a fresh shirt from your case and it needed very little attention as any wrinkles from packing are covered by the ones already there.
It can also be washed and dried at speed, again making it great for taking away on holiday and for our new greener capsule wardrobe.
Is seersucker made from cotton?
Usually seersucker is made from cotton, but that doesn’t mean to say that it has to be. It can be made from silk and even linen, or if people have really indulged, seersucker can be made with both silk and cotton to add to the difference in textures. In fact, before the difference in warp thread tensions seersucker’s famous texture was made by making it in silk and cotton, as when it was washed the silk would shrink and the cotton wouldn’t, creating the ripple like effect.
Discover all Kinds of Seersucker Fabric
So traditionally and most commonly, seersucker comes in a stripe and the stripe is usually blue and white. But as you know, we at Fabrics Galore are all about saving you from bad fabric, so we have been searching for years (30 in fact) for a wider variety of seersuckers and finally, we have found them.
This year we are super lucky to have sourced not just the usual stripes, but also some ginghams (we know you love a gingham) but the rarest of all, so we are told by boss Paul, is our range of plain seersuckers. We even managed to source a floral seersucker....
These are some of the high quality fabrics we are currently stocking at the moment (not that the other aren’t great), and the subtle stripe means they are a great introduction to pattern and print if you are more nervous about them.
Not only that, but our colour range of seersucker has exploded to include the long awaited lilac and pink versions; now these colours aren’t for everyone, for some they have links to bridesmaids. BUT because of the texture, the pinstripe pattern AND colour balance with white, it makes the whole seersucker experience softer and easier to embrace.
Modern dressmaking also means it doesn’t have to anything formal like a man's suit or a summer dress; why not start with a t-shirt? But we warn you, once you start with seersucker, you will want more…..