Behind the Scenes: Unpicking our Traditional Tweed and Tartan

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Our traditionally woven tweed and tartan has been a forever favourite for our customers and is a classic part of our Heritage Collection. We took a peak behind the scenes of bringing these pieces to life and spoke to our in-house tweed and tartan designer, Elinor Rothero whose love of weaving has spanned nearly a decade.

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Q: How did you first get into weaving?

I always wanted to be a textiles designer and was first introduced to woven design while I was studying at university. I instantly took to the art and my passion for it went from there. I’ve been weaving for nine years now and still loving it!

Q: Was it a hobby before it became your job?

Before I joined Joules, I was weaving for myself as a way to channel my creativity and keep my skills fresh. When I first started out, I stumbled across a four-shaft Harris table loom in a charity shop, which I still use now.

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Q: What is it that you enjoy the most?

I love the creativity and flexibility that the textile gives you. I can have a vision in my head for the type of woven design I want to make and then be able to hand make it from that.

Q: Where do you get your inspirations from?

Colour is the main driving force behind my ideas, if I see something striking that I think will create a really special design I’ll go with it. I am also really drawn to the British seaside and countryside, so I spend time at both to gather colour palettes, shapes and objects that go on to inform my designs.

” When I first started out, I stumbled across a four-shaft Harris table loom in a charity shop, which I still use now.”

Elinor Rothero, in-house tweed and tartan designer

Q: What is your process of designing a tartan from start to finish?

I always start with research. For the Autumn Winter Collection we were of course focussing on the Scottish Highlands which meant some beautiful tartans. So, I started off with a traditional tartan layout and played around with colour and proportion to give the traditional style a more contemporary twist. I then think about what scarf shape this is going to be and adapt the design to suit each product.

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Q: Do you do a mock weave using paper or other materials?

I tend to create the warp design (the vertical threads) using yarn windings which is a process of wrapping yarn around a piece of card to see how the colours sit next to one another. I can do this several times before I’m happy with the colour compositions.

Q: What is your favourite part of creating a woven garment?

That has to be the process of rolling all the fabric I have just hand woven off the loom – it is so satisfying!

Thank you Elinor, we loved hearing all about the inspiration behind our tartans and tweed, we can’t wait to see more of them!

Taking inspiration from our countryside and heritage has always been at the heart of what we do at Joules. From long-lasting jackets to fetching accessories, we love weaving in a little bit of British tartan to create classic pieces with a contemporary twist. After all, nothing says British quite like some tweed.

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