What are the different tweed patterns?

Tweed fabrics are available in a range of traditional patterns, as well as some less traditional styles. The filters in our Fabric Finder let you select only tweeds of a particular pattern. So here's a quick guide to the main tweed patterns:

Plain Twill (Unpatterned) Tweeds

Twill is a simple weave with a characteristic diagonal pattern running throughout it, which may be either obvious or so subtle that the fabric appears plain.

Tarbert Plain Twill Blue 24310 Harris Tweed

Overcheck Twill Tweeds

Traditional twill with a large checked design overlaid in a contrasting colour.

See our Overcheck Twill Tweed fabrics & products

Glenroyal Overcheck Twill Green 42001 Highland Tweed

Herringbone Tweeds

A herringbone pattern consists of columns of slanted parallel lines. The direction of the slant alternates column by column to create ‘v’ shapes. A typical thin herringbone might use a pattern of four threads alternating direction with the next four threads (4×4) but larger sizes of 6×6 or 8×8 are common, sometimes even up to as large as 12×12.

See our Plain Herringbone Tweed fabrics & products

Hartwist Plain Herringbone Green 32005 Highland Tweed

Estate (Overcheck Herringbone) Tweeds

A traditional herringbone pattern overlaid with a basic check. These are often known as Estate Tweeds, as each Highland estate would typically commission its own distinctive version for its gamekeepers and for when hunting, with colours tones chosen to match the estate’s local landscape and vegetation, for camouflage.

See our Overcheck Herringbone Tweed fabrics & products

Reiver Overcheck Herringbone Poacher Highland Tweed

Barleycorn Tweeds

Barleycorn Tweeds have a prominent flecked pattern, giving it a richly coarse appearance where the complex colours merge into a single shade from a distance.

Barleycorn Harris Tweed

Striped Tweeds

Striped tweeds include a distinctive vertical line or lines to create visible stripes of various sizes.

See our Striped Tweed fabrics & products

Brown 32035 Highland Tweed

Brown 32035 Highland Tweed

Houndstooth (or Dogtooth) Tweeds

A type of large broken checked pattern using pointed shapes instead of squares. Said to resemble the jagged back teeth of a dog. ‘Houndstooth’ describes the pattern in a larger size, ‘Dogtooth’ when it is smaller.

See our Houndstooth Tweed fabrics & products

Hartwist Houndstooth Green 32020 Highland Tweed

Checked Tweeds

A pattern of horizontal and vertical lines that create small squares. The characteristic small check may also be enhanced by a larger overcheck in a third colour.

See our Checked Tweed fabrics & products

Glen Tilt Checked Blue Glen Morar Highland Tweed

Prince of Wales Tweeds

Popularised by its namesake before he became Edward VII, but first developed by the Countess of Seafield in the valley of Glenurquhart in the early 19th century, the Prince of Wales (or Glen Check, or Glen Urquhart check) is a traditional tweed pattern characterised by a crossing pattern of irregular checks, perhaps including a dogtooth within. Other famous wearers include Pee-wee Herman, US President Ronald Reagan, and Cary Grant who wore an iconic grey Glen plaid suit in North By Northwest (1959).

Prince of Wales plaid Tweed

Tartan Tweeds

Any tartan can also be woven in tweed fabric. The characteristic uneven texture of Harris Tweed in particular wonderfully evokes authentic old tartans.

Gunn Tartan in Harris Tweed

Plaid Tweeds

Plaid-style tweeds feature a pattern of horizontal and vertical lines, not unlike a tartan.

See our Plaid Tweed fabrics & products

Braveheart Plaid Authentic Islay Tweed

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