Worsted is a type of yarn, the fabric made from this yarn, and a yarn weight category. The name derives from Worstead, a village in the English county of Norfolk. This village, together with North Walsham and Aylsham, became a manufacturing centre for yarn and cloth in the 12th century when pasture enclosure and liming rendered the East Anglian soil too rich for the older agrarian sheep breeds; and weavers from Flanders moved to Norfolk.
Worsted was made from the long-staple pasture wool from sheep breeds such as Teeswaters, Old Leicester Longwool and Romney Marsh. Pasture wool was not carded: instead it was washed, gilled and combed using heated long-tooth metal combs, oiled and spun. When woven, worsteds were scoured but not fulled.
Worsted wool fabric is typically used in the making of tailored garments such as suits, as opposed to woollen wool which is used for knitted items such as sweaters.
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 differ from woollens, 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.
Worsted is also used for carpets, clothing, hosiery, gloves and baize.
* Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worsted