TWEED: A TIMELESS TRADITION
WHAT IS A TWEED?
Tweed is a rough, unfinished woollen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is made in either plain or twill weave and may have a check or herringbone pattern. Subdued, interesting colour effects (heather mixtures) are obtained by twisting together differently coloured woollen strands into a two- or three-ply yarn.
Most kinds of tweed yarn are made with wool, comes in many varieties and are known for their rough, scratchy texture, as well as their warmth and durability.
Some tweed varieties are blended with softer luxury fibres to reduce the scratchiness of the fabric. Tweed fabric is available in a wide range of weights, patterns and designs including plain twill, overcheck twill, plain herringbone. overcheck herringbone, houndstooth, checked tweed and tartans.
Tweed garments are popular for functionality and warmth not to mention it’s fabulous style.
Tweeds are an icon of traditional British Country Clothing, being desirable for informal outerwear, due to the material being moisture-resistant and durable. Tweeds are made to withstand harsh climate and are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as weddings and special occasions, in both Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The original name of the cloth was tweel, Scots for twill, it being woven in a twilled rather than a plain pattern.
TYPES OF TWEED
It’s easy to get confused about types of tweed that exist. Some are named for the sheep that originally produced the wool, others are named after the region from which they came, still, others are gathered up as part of a brand name, and yet more are named for the function they were called upon to perform. The following discussion will help to make some sense of all this.
Whilst we have displayed some varieties of tweed below, it does not mean these are the only types that exist. Neither does this mean we have the exact design or pattern in stock. These are just to give you an idea of the types of tweed fabrics that exist in today’s market.
POPULAR USE OF TWEED
Traditionally used for upper-class country-clothing like shooting jackets, tweed became popular among the Edwardian middle classes who associated it with the leisurely pursuits of the elite.
Due to their durability, tweed was a popular choice for hunters, cyclists, golfers and early motorists, hence Kenneth Grahame’s depiction of Mr Toad in a suit.
Popular patterns include houndstooth associated with Windowpane, gamekeeper’s tweed worn by academics, Prince of Wales check, originally commissioned by Edward VII.
Wearing a tweed suit puts you in a class above everyone around. It is generally considered the mark of a Perfect English Gentleman.
Today, tweed is very famous for weddings and special occasions. You will find a variety of tweed styles in most traditional festivals like the Grand National, Cheltenham, Royal Ascot and many of such special British occasions.