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Tally-ho, To Hounds! … Or To Herrings?

Helloooo autumn, tally-ho! Let’s really welcome in the time of the falling leaves with some seasonal suiting.

Tweed is the generic term for woven wool fabric that has either a plain or twill weave. The original name for the fabric was ‘tweel’, Scots for twill, and it seems the name changed by chance. A London merchant misreading the word, marketed the cloth as tweed, assuming it took its name from the river Tweed that wended its way through the textile manufacturing region of Scotland.

It is easy seemingly, for the uninitiated, to confuse some of these patterns: a recent search on Etsy showed some sellers were mixing up houndstooth with Glen plaid (also sometimes called Prince of Wales check, owing to the Duke of Windsor’s predilection for it).

The original name for the fabric was ‘tweel’, Scots for twill …

Houndstooth, or dogstoothHoundstooth, or dogstooth, is a broken check pattern made from tessellated abstract four-pointed shapes. Amusingly a smaller scale version can be referred to as a puppytooth. The classic version is woven in black and white.


Glen plaid, or Prince of Wales checkGlen plaid is, as the name suggests, a tartan woven with stripes made up of small and large checks – somewhat similar to the houndstooth albeit on a tiny scale, but the stripe/check pattern is the dominating feature. Glen plaid is usually woven in muted colours of dark and light stripes.


HerringboneThere is no mistaking the zigzag or chevron pattern of herringbone however. This very descriptive name is taken from the skeleton of a herring fish. Such a wonderful, classic pattern – no wonder it is one of the most popular cloths used for suits and outerwear.


It’s quite fun to mix one’s weaves: my jacket is made up from a tan and cream herringbone wool, while my green and cream hat features a jumbo-size houndstooth. So cosy for autumn.

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