Worsted is the name of a yarn, the cloth made from this yarn, as well as a yarn weight category. The name derives from the village of Worstead in the English county of Norfolk. This village became, along with North Walsham and Aylsham, a centre for the manufacture of yarn and cloth after weavers from Flanders arrived in Norfolk in the 12th century.
The essential feature of a worsted yarn is straightness of fibre, in that the fibres lie parallel to each other. Traditionally, long, fine staple wool was spun to create worsted yarn, but other long fibres are also used today.
Worsted cloth, archaically also known as "stuff", is lightweight and has a coarse texture. The weave is usually twill or plain. Twilled fabrics such as whipcord, gabardine and serge are often made from worsted yarn. Worsted fabric made from wool has a natural recovery, meaning that it is resilient and quickly returns to its natural shape, but non-glossy worsted will shine with use or abrasion. Worsteds differs from woolens, in that the natural crimp of the wool fibre is removed in the process of spinning the yarn. In Tropical Worsteds, this use of tightly-spun straightened wool, combined with a looser weave, permits the free flow of air through the fabric.