The versatility of tweed and its enduring appeal

The versatility of tweed

Originating in 18th century Scotland, tweed – or ‘tweel’ as it was supposed to be called before a London cloth merchant misread a label attached to a batch of the dense, heavy cloth – has become a byword for quality, warmth, hard-wearing and, above all, versatility.

One area where this versatility is greatly appreciated is within the field sports industry. In a world where form is very much an equal partner to function, tweed is the go-to fabric for many of the globe’s leading outdoor field sports clothing manufacturers.

Starting life as a heavy, dense cloth made from virgin wool, this beautifully-tactile fabric has been developed over centuries and now combines with some of the world’s leading fabric technologies to create exceptional outdoor wear and tweed shooting jackets that are especially loved by those who enjoy the great outdoors.


Reasons for the popularity of tweed have, over the years, been many and varied. Hard-wearing, natural warmth and weather resistance were big factors in the cloth’s early existence. But since the development of high-tech, waterproof fabrics it’s maybe the iconic cloth’s ability to allow the wearer to blend into the country environment without the jarring effect of brightly-coloured waterproof clothing, and how tweed’s versatility has allowed it to be used in numerous ways, including in suits, shoes, hats, caps, gloves and, of course, shooting jackets and coats.

Tweed has always been popular for shooting clothes due to its naturally warm and hard-wearing ability to withstand harsh weather and the natural colour effect from the yarn allows you to effortlessly blend into your surroundings ensuring you are not too obvious to your prey.

There are many types of tweed available and modern technology and techniques have allowed the tweed to be lighter, more flexible for better freedom of movement and even sometimes machine washable. Technology has also allowed lightweight wind and waterproof membranes to be added for maximum protection and high performance.

The versatility of tweed means it can be used in a variety of ways. These range from highly fashionable tweed skirts and capes to dress waistcoats, trousers and jackets through to fully waterproof smocks for deer stalking, tweed gun slips and cartridge bags for shooting or even tweed purses and tote bags all with a range of colours and finishes to chose from.

Stay warm and dry with tweed-effect fabrics

The tweed effect

A recent move by many of the leading field sports clothing labels, including Harkila, Alan Paine and Baleno has been to introduce tweed-effect fabrics to their extensive ranges of tweed shooting jackets. Highly-technical fabrics with exceptional levels of waterproof, windproof and breathable protection but with the addition of traditional tweed patterns.

Printed tweed fabrics allow you to have all the benefits of the man-made, highly-protective fabrics but come with the ability to blend effortlessly into your natural surroundings.

Using the design of traditional tweed patterns – herringbone, hound’s tooth, twill or plain weave – these highly-technical fabrics come with very recognisable designs and are extremely versatile and can be used in a huge array of outdoor clothing styles and designs for many different sporting pursuits.

The versatility of tweed makes this beautiful naturally hard-wearing fabric ideal for life outdoors

Why choose tweed?

  • It is naturally hard-wearing, reliably sourced and warm
  • Tweed allows you to blend into your surroundings allowing you to get closer to nature. Originally estate tweed had the colours of the surroundings weaved into the cloth for camouflage
  • It’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer
  • Tweed is easy to keep clean and easily repaired
  • The fabric has a timeless elegance that can last a lifetime if cared for
  • Tweed is quite simply beautiful and reflects the unique natural colours from heathers, mountains, lochs and the sky

Caring for your tweed

Always treat your tweed with respect and don’t let the dog sleep on it in the back of the pick-up on the way home. Hang it up straightway and it will look as good as new for many years.
It’s important to make sure any new stains are dealt with straightaway. Dab the tweed with a damp sponge and mild soap then absorb as much of the water as possible and leave the tweed to dry naturally.

If tweed gets wet when out shooting, hang it up straight away and let gravity work its magic. Then dry it naturally away from a heat source. Once dry always store in a clothes bag to keep safe from moths. Finally, vacuum your garment regularly to get rid of dirt & dust.

As a last resource if your jacket is looking tired and not looking its best, take it to the dry cleaners. However, the chemicals sometimes used can weaken and age the cloth.

Shop Tweed Shooting Jackets

If you are new to wearing tweed or would like to replace your old favourite tweed jacket or breeks talk to one of our staff about the options and sizing. Contact us on 01620 671480 or email

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