Worsted is also used to describe a particular way of spinning yarn, or weight of yarn, but I’m not going to go into that because it’s a modern spinning thing, not a historical textile thing.
Worsted wool comes from sheep with really long wool (long-staple): generally sheep that live in fairly easily accessible, lush, green pastures, as opposed to sheep that do best in harsher environments.
The dark blue fabric is a serge, the camel a cavalry twill.
The development of worsted wool fabric (in the modern sense) dates back to the Middle Ages, when changing agricultural practices in England meant that new breeds of sheep that thrived on rich, enclosed pastures were being introduced, at the expense of older breeds, which did better in rougher environments.
The name carding comes from the Latin Once it is carded, the wool is spun, and then woven.
After weaving, woolen cloth is sometimes subjected to the fulling process (also known as waulking or tucking), which cleans the fabric, making it thicker, and works the hairs of the wool together, creating a uniform, almost felted surface, without much visible weave.
The type of cloth they produced came to be known as worsted.
Worsted cloth was known in the 18th and through the 19th century as stuff to differentiate it from cloth, which was woollen fabric.
To make all the short bits of woollen wool lie nicely together so that it can be spun into yarn, it is carded, or brushed in two directions at once with stiff brushes.Stuff was also used to describe other woven fabrics of fibres other than silk, especially once cotton became more common as a fabric in the late 18th century, so a mention of a garment made of stuff does not necessarily mean the item was made of wool, simply that if it was, it wasn’t woollen.Worsted wool fabric tends to be more expensive than the same weight and quality of woollen fabric, because the pasture land needed for worsted sheep varieties is in higher demand (in New Zealand, for example, it is far more financially beneficial for farmers to use pasture land for dairy cows than wool sheep), and because worsted fabrics require more processing.The one drawback, wear-wise, to some worsted fabrics is that they may go shiny at areas that receive a lot of wear, such as the seat of pants and skirts, as the parallel fibres are pressed more firmly together.Twill weaves are more likely to go shiny than plain weaves.