This section is from the "A Complete Dictionary of Dry Goods" book, by George S. Cole. Also available from Amazon: A complete dictionary of dry goods and history of silk, cotton, linen, wool and other fibrous substances,: Including a full explanation of the modern processes ... together with various useful tables.
Cheviot. A twill-woven, napped " woolen " cloth, originally made from the wool of Cheviot sheep. These sheep were formerly native to the Cheviot Hills, near the boundary between Scotland and England, but are now extensively reared in the United States. The genuine cheviot is a superior fabric for men's clothing, being strongly woven of carefully-selected wool, and finished with a closely curled nap. The value of cheviots depend more on their construction than their appearance, and few can discern from the latter the character of the former. Since about 1888, an immense demand has sprung up for this fabric in the ready-made clothing trade, and while some genuine and wearable cheviot was made up, yet the very composition of the cloth admitted of a wide field for the lowering of the standard, without much risk of detection, with the result that the quality of late has sadly depreciated. The same reasons which account for the imitating of cheviots account also for the imitating of many other first-class fabrics: first, the greed of manufacturers; and second, the public's demand for cheap grades of a popular fabric. Consumers who are obliged to select according to their purse nevertheless expect and absolutely demand the same weaves and patterns that are displayed for the delectation of their more favored brethern. This can only be supplied by the production of an inferior and ofttimes worthless fabric. Imitations of cheviot are made to look well, and appear a marvel of cheapness, but an examination shows their weight to have been increased by the addition of flocking or shoddy. Apparently they seem strong, but a sudden pressure on any part will cause a rent while the face will be off in a week's wear and the poverty of the goods plainly manifested. Such a cloth possesses no intrinsic value, and pandering to cheapness only results in damaging the reputation of genuine cheviot. [See Woolen]