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A Primer On Twill Weave

From Herringbone to Denim
Twill Weave

Twill is an ancient weaving technique that can be found today in a wide variety of fabrics, and it is one of the most commonly used fabrics in men’s clothing. A twill weaving pattern consists of a diagonal weave running in a single direction, wherein the weft (horizontal) thread is passed over a warp (vertical) thread, and then under two or more warp threads. This creates a pattern of diagonal, parallel ribs or “wales.”


Because the warp yarns in a twill do not interlace as many times as they might in a plain weave, the yarns can be packed together more tightly, creating a sturdier fabric that is less prone to wrinkling and better able to hide soil and stains than a simple weave. A lighter twill, like those used in the making of men’s shirts, retains these same qualities. They have a softer hand feel than poplins and a bit more sheen.

One of the most common twill weave fabrics that everyone recognizes is denim and flannel.

Denim is constructed with a colored yarn in the warp and a white in the weft. The warp thread goes over two threads in the weft and is then woven under one. This style of weave makes the underside of denim fabrics lighter in color and contribute to the thickness of the fabric. Though, denim can be found in both heavy and lightweight forms it's not to be mistaken with chambray.

Flannel is not a type of plaid pattern, it’s a fabric. Flannel is created by loosely spun yarn woven into either a twill weave. The loose weave is important because it creates air pockets that give flannel its warmth. Often, Flannel is brushed in single or double “nap”. Napping simply creates a soft fabric.

Herringbone is also a twill in which the weave alternates direction giving the fabric its signature fish-bone pattern. Tweed, gabardine and chino are other examples of twill fabrics.

At Hugh & Crye, all of the twills we use to make our shirts are made of 100% Egyptian Cotton, ensuring the perfect combination of strength and softness.

Shop for twill weave shirts.

Examples of Twill Weave Shirts
Twill weave dress shirt in blue
Soft and Sturdy

Despite the fact that they are incredibly durable, lighter twills can be surprisingly light and soft to the touch.

Twill weave detail zoom
A Variety of Patterns

A twill weave can create visual patterns like a herringbone, houndstooth or a simple, diagonal wale.

Denim twill shirt
An All-time Favorite

Denim is perhaps the best known of all twills as featured in our Latrobe and Bluejacket shirts.