While up on the isle of Lewis two weeks ago, I designed a herringbone tweed with Iain McLeod at Breanish Tweed. This will be available to all readers from now until the end of the year. In January the orders will be collected together and Iain will weave the desired length of tweed. It will then be sent out to readers in February.
We deliberately went for something quite conservative. In part this was so that it would have a wide appeal, but it was also driven by the two friends that had agreed to join with me to place the minimum order: we needed to find something we all loved and would be worn often.
The dominant colour will be a mid-grey – very versatile, very wearable, at home with jeans as much as gabardine. The yarn is called ‘silver’, but as you can see it is a touch darker than that name implies and has some significant variation in the tones. The other yarn is called ‘bracken’. Although mostly tan, this has far more colour in the yarn, with greens and other browns in there.
While the weft of the cloth will be entirely silver, the warp will be silver and bracken combined. Overall, therefore, there will be three times as much silver as bracken, so the grey colour will dominate. The herringbone will be 8×8 – meaning each of the diagonals in the pattern is made up of eight threads. This is the larger of the two standard herringbone patterns, the other being 4×4.
The herringbone pictured below is also an 8×8, so you get an idea of the size, but it has all green going one way, all brown the other. The Permanent Style herringbone, with grey also in the weft, will be both subtler in pattern and dominated by the grey.
We decided not to make up a sample of the tweed as it would have added significantly to the cost, and I wanted this to be as affordable as possible. Hopefully the example pattern and the yarns give a good enough impression.
It will be made in a lightweight Shetland wool. At 10 ounces, it is pretty much the lightest tweed you can get from woollens, and is proportionately soft as well. As mentioned in my first post on Breanish, the weaving is done on a 90-year-old Hattersley loom, in exactly the same way tweed on Harris and Lewis has been woven for centuries. It is also warped entirely by hand, something only Breanish still does on the island, giving it that one extra level of hand work.
The Permanent Style tweed will cost £70 a metre. But before you get too excited, this is a single-width loom, so you need twice as much as for a normal jacket, coat or suit. The amount of cloth varies significantly by customer and I therefore recommend you get advice from your tailor on the precise length required. For me, 5 metres is sufficient for a jacket and 7.5 for a suit. So I’d be looking at £350 for a jacket’s cloth.
This is a discount on Breanish’s normal rates, especially for Permanent Style readers, and it includes VAT – so readers outside the EU save 20%, making it £58 a metre. All non-US orders should be made through Breanish and payment will be through them as well. Price does not include postage or taxes. You will have two options on postage, Airsure (cheaper) or FedEx. Contact Iain Mcleod at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All US orders need to be made through Jodek International, Breanish’s agent – David Douek at email@example.com.
Thanks everyone. I hope you like it.