Tweed: Origin, Production, Uses, Importers/Exporters, Environmental Impact

tweed fabric1
Fabric nameTweed
Fabric known asClò-Mór, Big cloth
Heat retention abilityHigh
Major exportersAustralia and England
Commonly used inJackets, pants, hats, trench coats, blazers, other outerwear, winter clothing, suit jackets and military uniforms.

ORIGIN

Tweed is a fabric made from wool which has a rough texture but high heat retention abilities. 

The origin of tweed is said to have taken place in rural Scotland in the early 18th century. The region is known for its cold misty weather and the people of Scotland used rugged but thick tweed clothes to keep themselves warm in the harsh winters. During the 19th century it became popular among the British royalty who used to visit Scotland on hunting trips or vacations.

A trend of tweeds woven in Estates of Scotland rose to popularity in the mid 18th century and each estate had its own design and pattern. Today the wool for tweed is mainly produced in Australia but most of the manufacturing still happens in England. 

PRODUCTION

tweed fabric

The wool for making tweed comes from Merino sheep which are mostly bred in Australia. The wool is harvested and then following steps take place:

Cleaning and spinning

The wool is cleaned and turned into long strings which are then spun into yarn.

Dyeing and drying

The wool is then dyed in desired hues.

Blending and mixing

It’s then put into a fabric mixer to get different patterns. 

Teasing and carding

The wool is then carded and made into yarns again.

TYPES

Types of tweed can be distinguished based on different patterns.

tweed

Overcheck

This type of tweed has overlapping checks that cover around four square inches 

Twill

It has a simple diagonal pattern. 

Herringbone

This has triangular patterns.

Checked

It’s made to have a checkerboard  pattern. 

Striped

Has horizontal or vertical stripes. 

Estate

Has a range of unique patterns. 

Barleycorn

The pattern resembles corn.

Plaid

Plaid is the most common type of tweed.

MAJOR IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS

tweed jacket

Most of the Merino wool for the tweed production comes from Australia and most of the manufacture of this fabric takes place in the United Kingdom. Most of the export goes to countries like United States, Europe and some parts of Asia. 

USES

Apparels made of tweed are preferred in colder regions due to their heat retaining ability. Most common garments made from tweed are hunting jackets, blazers, coats, military jackets, trench coats and pants. In England and Ireland caps made of tweed are famous as well.

ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

Wool production is one of the most sustainable practices in human history. It causes extremely little harm to the environment. However, as the demand for tweed increased, more and more land for sheep rearing needed to be cleared and it did directly affect the natural flora and fauna.

Also, continuous sheep grazing can cause soil erosion, if not checked. Regardless of these facts, wool continues to be the most environmentally friendly fabric being totally biodegradable.

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