You've probably noticed tweed in your father's or grandfather's closet. Tweed as a material is often associated with old-fashioned items, which we believe is a shame of reference. In reality, this material is weather-resistant, versatile, and practical. The ability to wear it in a formal gathering or in a casual setting is why it makes an excellent addition to your wardrobe. What really makes tweed special? Below is a description of tweed, the history of tweed, and some popular types of tweed.
What is tweed?
Tweed originated as a handwoven fabric in Scotland and Ireland. By definition, tweed is a rough-surfaced woolen cloth. There are many different types of tweed and they vary in weight, pattern, weave, & finish.
History of Tweed
Tweed has an outstanding history throughout the UK region dating back decades. Some believe it started along the Tween River in Scotland, but eventually, the letter “n” was replaced with a letter “d." Many others have claimed that in 1848, Prince Albert evoked a rush in the Scottish Estates when he purchased the Balmoral region, thus creating the Balmoral Tweed. Many estates used tweed to classify people who lived and worked there. The evolution of Gentleman's Tweed was marked by aristocracy and the purchase of land.
Purpose of Tweed
Tweed’s intent was primarily for weather, the outdoors, and sporting. Many jackets were used and designed around hunting, providing camouflage for the hunter, specifically when hunting deer. Other uses included golf jackets and fishing jackets where the weather required you to wear garments to keep you warm and dry.
Popular Types of Tweed
- Harris Tweed: Harris Tweed is 100% pure virgin wool. It is specifically famous in Britain where King Edward VII brought it to Seville Row. It has the trademark label sewn into it.
- Saxony Tweed: Saxony Tweeds are made of Merino wool. It is very soft and often used to make sport coats/jackets.
- Shetland Tweed: Shetland Tweeds are woven from sheep raised on the shetland islands. They are used for casual garments and have a very soft feel to the fabric.
- Cheviot Tweed: Cheviot Tweed is named after a breed of white faced sheep in Cheviot Hills within the region of Northumberland. It is a very heavy fabric that is good for suiting due to its weight and firmness.
- Donegal Tweed: Donegal Tweeds are originally from the Irish country of Donegal. It’s coarse texture gives it a rustic look, used in many sporty looks.
- Barleycorn Tweed: Barleycorn Tweed has a barley kernel effect within the material due to the way it is weaved. The fabric itself is fairly rough.
- Herringbone Tweed: Herringbone Tweed’s have a V shape within the pattern which illuminate the effects of fishbones.
- Overcheck Twill: Overcheck Twill is sort of a plain twill, but it had a large plaid/check pattern over the plain fabric.