Tweed is a much-loved and soulfully Scottish style of cloth that today has become popular around the world and takes pride of place as statement pieces in many wardrobes.

In this blog, we share the ins and outs of this fine cloth and its place in the fashion industry.


1. What is Tweed

2. History of Tweed
a. Overview
b. Tweed in the 1800s and thereafter

3. Types of Tweed
a. Windowpane
b. Herringbone
c. Dogtooth/Houndstooth
d. Barleycorn
e. Estate
f. Check

4. Tweed weights 
a. Heavy: 500-600g
b. Medium: 300g-400g
c. Light: 250-320g

5. Wearing Tweed
a. Tweed for Town and Country
b. Tweed for Office Success 
c. Tweed for Everyday Adventures
d. Tweed for a Day (or an Evening) Out
e. Tweed for Shooting
 

7. Frequently asked questions about tweed
a. What Makes Scottish/British Tweed The Best?
b. Are Certain Weights Better Than Others?
c. Is There a Particular Pattern I Should Buy?
d. Where is The House of Bruar Tweed Sourced From?


 
Tweed is a type of fabric usually referred to as cloth which is traditionally woven from pure wool and can come in a variety of colours, patterns and weights.
No longer worn exclusively by Scottish farmers, tweed is a fabric that in recent years has been propelled to the forefront of the fashion industry thanks to its enduring quality and unique patterns. The cloth comes in a variety of patterns and weights, these designs range from Herringbone to Barleycorn, and each has a specific intended use.

Different designs and patterns of tweed usually take their name from their place of origin such as Shetland Tweed and, the most renowned, Harris Tweed. However, the largest variety lies in the patterns created by the weave of the material. Here we have put together a guide to help explain the variety of weaves and weights this traditional cloth comes in.


 
Since the early 19th century, gorgeous tweed textiles have been weaving their way into the hearts of many, not only across Britain but throughout the world. At The House of Bruar we pride ourselves in sourcing only the finest tweed fabrics while not only maintaining a rich Scottish heritage in each garment but also supporting local British businesses such as Marton Mills, Abraham Moon, Johnstons of Elgin, Mallalieus of Delph and Harris Tweed.


Products in image above: Harris Tweed Jacket, Men's Shetland Crew Neck, Men's Harris Tweed Fishing Hat

From tweed's humble beginnings as the chosen threads for farmer's clothing on the remote islands of Scotland and the Outer Hebrides - where it was the ideal material to withstand the harsh weather and ever-changing elements - Tweed has since become a much-loved textile for people in all walks of life.





Tweed in the 1800s and Thereafter
What caused the farmer’s favourite from the North to become a fashion icon centuries later? In the first half of the 19th Century many estates in Scotland were taken over by English noblemen looking to increase their life of leisure. So in 1848, Prince Albert purchased Balmoral. Though the foundations of the castle were not laid until the 28th of September 1853, he designed the Balmoral Tweed earlier - blue with white sprinkles and flecks of crimson to resemble from afar the granite mountains of Aberdeenshire around Balmoral.  And thus was born one of the first Estate Tweeds.

Subsequently, it became the fashion among estate owners to commission their own special tweeds. This association caused the fabric to rise in popularity amongst wealthier members of society, particularly in the nobility.


Products in image above: Men's Tweed Bond Cap, Tweed Sporting Coat, Men's Lambswool Cable Crew Neck, Men's Moleskin Five-Pocket Jeans, Loden Fox Fur Trim Parka, Ladies Paisley Print Blouse, Ladies Moleskin Five Pocket Jeans
 
Today tweed plays a leading role in the closets of many, whether it’s an eye-catching statement piece for a day out in the town or country, a sporting jacket for those everyday adventures, a sophisticated professional look for office success or to channel your inner Scot while shooting for the day.



Products in image above: Men's Saxony Tweed Hacking Jacket, Men's Saxony Tweed Waistcoat, Men's Saxony Tweed Trousers, Men's Tattersall Shirt, Pheasant Wool Tie, Ladies Modern Cheltenham Jacket, Ladies Single Breasted Shawl Collar Waistcoat, Ladies Paisley Print Blouse, Ladies NYDJ Straight Leg Jeans, Ladies Leather Riding Boot.

There is a misconception that tweed is to be worn only in the outdoors thanks to its associations with protection from poor weather and Field Sporting events, however, though this may be true for the thicker weights of tweed, lighter fabrics have since been created to allow Tweed to rise to any occasion with comfort, style and ease.

 
Windowpane
A traditional twill style makes up the base of this pattern. Marled yarns are woven together in a way that creates a chevron-like pattern that makes up the base of the cloth. Though this is not always the case, it is true for a large number of designs. The windowpane design can change in terms of scale. This difference is created by the number of threads used to make up the overcheck colour. Below we show a blue classic windowpane style made from two threads, and similarly, a red windowpane made up from three threads. The only difference between these designs is the scale of the pattern.



 
Herringbone
A traditional twill style that creates a fishbone-like pattern as the fibres are woven together. This popular style has earned its name through the V-shapes that bear a strong resemblance to herringbones.




Dogtooth/Houndstooth
A highly popular version of tweed, this traditional design comes in three sizes distinguishable by their scale. Puppytooth is the smallest version of the design, which can be used as a base tweed due to its small scale appearing almost plain upon first sight. Dogtooth is largely used within Estate Tweeds and is the most traditional form of the design. Houndstooth is most regularly used in fashionable and everyday garments. Generally, the larger the scale of the design gets the less the item is used for a traditional purpose.
 



Barleycorn
This style of tweed is classically characterised by its textured appearance. It earns its name from its resemblance to barleycorns when they are stored in bulk.
 



Estate
Estate tweeds are defined by their weight. The materials need to be heavyweight and protective from the elements. Estate owners will commonly create their own design exclusive to them, resulting in a number of patterns usually using earthy tones to reflect the natural hues found in the Scottish landscape. In-store we stock our own range of Estate tweeds sourced from the Johnstons of Elgin and Knockando Mills collections. The styles featured below are available in our shooting jacket, plus twos, plus fours, Hereford cap and Bond cap. These Estate tweeds are only available in-store, though other designs are available online. Our tweed collection does not feature specific estate tweeds, however, we do stock a small selection of Estate tweeds in our in-store collection in plus twos, plus fours, and a tweed cap. These tweeds have been selected from Johnston's Estate tweed collection and are only available in-store.




Check
Our check designs combine the look of overcheck and refined dogtooth. Using a small palette of colours, it is woven to create a checkerboard pattern with an alternate colour as a larger pattern. At The House of Bruar, we use the term Check, though this is not a traditional design of the material.



 
Tweed also comes in different weights. When shopping for a tweed item, it is important to know if the piece will be worn as functional sporting wear or as an everyday item. We categorise our garments based on the weight of tweed we use for its design as we are conscious that certain weights are not appropriate for specific garments. If you want a garment, such as a skirt, to drape gracefully then a lighter weight of tweed would be required.

Heavy: 500-600g
This weight is ideal for garments you wish to wear outdoors. Though the material is predominantly used by estate workers and gamekeepers, it can also be used by sporting enthusiasts who require a thick material for added protection when walking through heather or stalking on hills.

Medium: 300g-400g
This mid-weight fabric is used largely for producing trousers, skirts, jackets, and lighter weight coats. The less rigid qualities of the fabric give the material a drape that flatters the body when cut to a pattern. This weight is one we use regularly at The House of Bruar as it is the most versatile of all the weights.

Light: 250-320g
Whilst this lighter weight fabric is mostly used for everyday garments, it can also be used for field sports during warmer seasons. Generally used in the manufacture shirts and lightweight trousers or jackets, it is particularly suited to three-piece suits. We do not tend to stock lightweight tweeds, especially in colder months, though we can have lighter weight pieces as part of our spring/summer collections.

 
Due to the extensive range of different prints, colour combinations and range of garments made from tweed, it can be easily dressed up or down and looks great when paired with all other natural fabrics. We've chosen five modern looks to help you wear tweed during the day, into the night and even out in the field.

Tweed for Town and Country
Look the part in both town and country with a smart casual ensemble centred around a tweed jacket. The tailoring on our Modern Tweed Jacket is both flattering and contemporary with the colours being just bold enough to be eye-catching without being overwhelming. To accentuate the earthy colours in the jacket, we've paired it with a plain cotton blouse and a pair of garnet coloured cords - this tweed jacket also looks great with denim jeans if cords are not your style. Keep the rest of the outfit relatively simple with brown accessories such as our felt hat and suede belt and bring it all together with a pair of leather heeled ankle boots.



Pictured: 1.House of Bruar Modern Tweed Jacket, 2.The Oxford Shirt Company Classic Cotton Blouse, 3.House of Bruar Cord Jeans, 4.House of Bruar Leather Heeled Boots, 5.Felt Hat, 6.Suede Belt

Tweed for Office Success
Classic and conservative, the pencil skirt is a staple of any office wardrobe. Our Prince of Wales Tweed Skirt is the epitome of sophistication and can easily be worn at work as well as out afterwards for dinner and drinks. Keep it simple by pairing it with a soft knit in a neutral colour like our Cashmere Roll Neck and add another layer of iconic British style with the classic 3/4 Length Mac. In winter, wear a good pair of boots like our High Suede Chelsea Boots and then to finish off the look, add a Buckled Belt and a practical but also seriously stylish handbag. We love our Olivia Handbag which is made from deerskin.



Pictured: 1.House of Bruar Cashmere Roll Neck, 2.House of Bruar Classic Prince of Wales Tweed Skirt, 3.Leather Double Buckle Belt, 4. House of Bruar High Suede Chelsea Boot 5. Oliva Bag, 6.House of Bruar 3/4 Length Mac

Tweed for Everyday Adventures
Many people think that tweed trousers are not as easy to wear as other types of trousers, but with this look we show you how they can be worn just as easily and casually as a pair of jeans. Our Tweed Print Jeans are a great modern alternative to woven woollen tweed trousers as they are made from a cotton blend that is easily washable. Brighten them up with a rustic coloured jumper like our Lambswool Crew Neck Jumper in warm ginger. To keep the look contemporary, we've matched the tweed trousers with a leather Faux Fur Collar Gilet which is as practical as it is stylish and you can finish the outfit off with a pair of classic Penny Loafers - so comfy you can easily wear them all day - and an eye-catching handbag like our Sporran Tassel Bag.



Pictured: 1.Faux Fur Collar Gilet, 2.House of Bruar Penny Loafer, 3.House of Bruar Lambswool Crew Neck, 4.Sporran Tassel Bag, 5.Tweed Patterned Jeans

Tweed for a Day (or an Evening) Out
Tweed comes in many different patterns with Dogtooth (or Houndstooth as it is also called) being one of the most striking. Dogtooth is a pattern that generally looks smart, and wearing a Dogtooth item of clothing is an easy way to make your outfit effortlessly chic. We love this monochrome look which you can easily wear from day to night. Our Contemporary Dogtooth Crew Neck Jacket with its Chanel-style tailoring will elevate any outfit to the next level and will never go out of style. Wear with black Leather Trousers and black leather Chelsea Boots to keep it understated. A shirt with some detailing, like the Frill Neck Shirt by Eterna is a good choice as it keeps the outfit interesting once the jacket has been removed and keeps the accessories simple for maximum impact.



Pictured: 1.House of Bruar Contemporary Dogtooth Jacket, 2.Eterna Frill Neck Shirt, 3.Lamb Nappa Jeans, 4.House of Bruar Chelsea Boot, 5.Gianni Conti Strap Bag, 6.Halcyon Days Agama Bangle

Tweed for shooting
It is traditional when attending a shoot to wear a tweed jacket in a shade of either green or brown. Favoured by the sporting community for hundreds of years, tweed is just as popular today as it was in years gone by. It is hard-wearing and breathable, and in recent years it has seen the incorporation of newer high-performance fabrics which take it to the next level. Our Tweed Shooting Jacket has everything you would expect from a modern shooting jacket including hand-warming pockets and a quilted padded lining for extra warmth. As wearing denim jeans on a shoot is an absolute no-no, a pair of Moleskin Jeans in a shade of rustic green are the perfect alternative. A soft Tattersall Shirt will keep you comfortable and your feet will thank you for wearing a warm pair of Merino Socks. Breathable, waterproof, comfortable and elegant, the Aigle Par Field MTD Boot is an exceptional boot to wear shooting and one we highly recommend. An essential piece of kit is a Cartridge Bag and to complete the look you will need a hat and a scarf.



Pictured: 1.House of Bruar Tweed Shooting Jacket, 2.Croots 150 Cartridge Bag, 3.Tattersall Shirt, 4.Aigle Par Field MTD Boot5.Felt Hat, 6. Moleskin Jeans, 7.Merino Socks, 8.Wool/Silk Shawl
 
Most of our tweed is made from Pure New Wool, so it is best to wash it as little as possible. We recommend you dry clean these garments to retain their look and feel.

Though we do recommend dry cleaning to maintain shape and look, if you prefer to perform home care on your Tweed garments please follow the knitwear care instructions below.

 
  1. 1. Hand wash in cool, clean water, 30 degrees max. We recommend using liquid soap or even a premium 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner. Even baby shampoo, but never use powder detergent. We love this cashmere shampoo, specially crafted by Johnstons of Elgin.
  2. 2. Gently squeeze the suds through the garment, be cautious not to wring, rub or stretch whilst washing.
  3. 3. Rinse the garment in fresh water.
  4. 4. Do not lift the garment up as wet fabric weighs more and will stretch the garment.
  5. 5. Gently squeeze excess water out of material.
  6. 6. Lay the garment flat on a towel, reshaping whilst doing so. 
  7. 7. Leave to dry naturally away from direct heat sources and out of sunlight.
 
At The House of Bruar we get a number of questions about our tweed fabrics, so we put together a question and answer guide to address what we are most frequently asked.
 
What Makes Scottish/British Tweed The Best?
Scotland is where Tweed began, and as such the skills of making a high-quality material have been passed down through generations for centuries. British Tweed embodies all the knowledge of a long line of Tweed weavers and this proves its quality has prevailed.

Are certain weights better than others?
The weight of the garment is down to what purpose the piece will serve. For example, the most common shooting weight is a medium 480-550g. When designing our garments, we ensure the weight of the tweed we have chosen is the most appropriate for the garment type. We wouldn't use a heavyweight tweed for a skirt we want to drape.
 
Is There A Particular Pattern I Should Buy?
Choosing a pattern of tweed is down to personal preference. To ensure the longevity of your wear, it is best to pick a weave and design that suits your personal tastes. The only time you would buy a particular pattern of tweed is when purchasing a heavyweight piece to wear on an estate or as a uniform.

Where is The House of Bruar Tweed Sourced From?
We work with a range of mills to produce our tweed and make an effort to source these, as well as our other natural fibre materials, as locally as possible. The mills we work closely with include Marton Mills, Abraham Moon, Johnstons of Elgin, Mallalieus of Delph, Robert Noble, McGee of Donegal, Lovat Mills and more. All of these mills do an exceptional job in producing different quantities and designs. We work passionately to ensure the tweeds we select for our catalogue are exclusive to us in full or by the colour available.

To shop more House of Bruar Ladieswear online click here.
To shop more House of Bruar Menswear online click here.