A cloth for the discerning gentleman and a cause for occasion, dobby’s charm lies in its detail. Delicately woven chevrons, checks and dots define this distinctively lustrous fabric but to understand its intricacies we must first look to weaving as a practice in general.
To produce a fabric, yarn is interlaced at right angles by a loom. The word ‘warp’ is given to the yarns in the vertical direction, with ‘weft’ given to yarns in the horizontal direction. To create texture and pattern, warp yarns are pulled up to allow the weft yarn to pass under.
In the making of a dobby weave, a special attachment known as a ‘dobby’ is attached to a loom. This mechanism acts as a sort of harness, lifting all of the fabric’s warp yarns in unison. Due to the limitations of this mechanism, dobbies are best used to create fine geometric patterns.
Not to be confused with jacquard, a similarly textured cloth but whose weaving process allows for greater variation in pattern and colour, dobby is predominantly monochrome, often with a highlight colour set against white.
When it comes to dobby, we look to Alibini, one of our most trusted mills in northern Italy. At Smyth & Gibson, no matter the season you will always find a range of dobby shirts in our collections. They are a truly a distinguished choice for business deals and celebratory meals