The ultimate guide to tweed patterns - Tweedmaker

The ultimate guide to tweed patterns

December 22, 2022

As dedicated tweed lovers, we thought it about time that we completed our round-up of the very best tweed patterns available to the modern gent.

You can read our other post about the most popular tweed patterns here.

But in this post, we wanted to pay due respect to some lesser-known tweed designs. These patterns are often overlooked but, as a result, can bring real originality to a tweed ensemble.

They also, as ever, offer the versatility that tweed is famed for. Wear them in all weathers, for a variety of occasions and dress up or down as you see fit.

The difference between tweed styles and tweed patterns

Let’s start by clarifying the difference between tweed styles and tweed patterns.

When we talk about tweed styles, we’re talking about the origin of the tweed — or the kind of wool that has been used. Some examples of tweed styles include Harris Tweed, Donegal Tweed and Saxony Tweed.

A tweed pattern is the visual design of the tweed. And that’s what we’ll be looking at here. Some styles have associated patterns, but not always. Sometimes tweed patterns and styles are distinct from one another.

So without further ado, let’s take a look at those lesser-known tweed patterns deserving of a place in your gentleman’s wardrobe.

More tweed patterns

In our previous article we looked at the following popular tweed patterns:

  • Plain twill
  • Herringbone
  • Prince of Wales
  • Plaid
  • Windowpane

So for this post, we’ve chosen to round out the selection with a few lesser-known tweed patterns.

Houndstooth / Dogtooth

Houndstooth and dogtooth tweed patterns originated in the Scottish Borders. Both of these designs feature a type of broken checked pattern, with pointed shapes rather than neat little squares.

The difference between houndstooth and dogtooth? The former is usually a little bigger. You may also come across a tiny version of the pattern called puppytooth.  

Checked

Checked pattern tweed is a little like the windowpane pattern we looked at in our previous article. However, unlike windowpane tweed, checked pattern tweed usually has much smaller squares.

These small squares are all equally proportioned and they’re laid out in horizontal and vertical lines, sometimes incorporating a number of different colours.  

Barleycorn / Bird's Eye

Barleycorn tweed has a beautiful flecked pattern. Look closely at the material, and you’ll see that it resembles almost-circular barley kernels laid side by side.

This type of tweed looks incredible when it is woven in a single colour (or very similar shades of the same colour). That’s because, without the distraction of a complex colour pattern, the exceptional texture gets to really shine through. And colours merge into one from a distance.

Bird’s eye tweed is very similar to barleycorn. But bird’s eye tends to be laid out in a more regular arrangement.  

Striped

This tweed design requires little explanation. Striped pattern tweed is made up of vertical lines, sometimes of varying widths.

Tartan

Tartan tweed patterns were traditionally based on designs specific to each Scottish clan (or family). But these days you’ll find tartan tweed in a wide variety of colours and designs.

Nevertheless, most still follow the traditional pattern, including a variety of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines.

Estate

Unlike tartan, which was historically used to identify members of the same Scottish clan, estate tartan was used to indicate which estate you lived or worked at.

It is said that each estate design was created with the colours of the local landscape in mind. So gamekeepers, residents and visitors could don the estate tweed and stay camouflaged whenever they went out hunting.

An estate pattern incorporates a traditional herringbone pattern overlaid with a large check pattern.

Gun Club

Gun club tweed is a version of one of the earliest estate tweeds.

Originally referred to as Glen check or Glenurquhart check, gun club tweed got its name when the pattern was adopted by the New York Gun Club in the late 19th century.

The gun club pattern is made up of a regular check pattern, with an additional check (in a third colour) placed over the top. You’ll often find this pattern crafted in traditional brown base shades.

Want to find your perfect tweed pattern and style? Then browse the Tweedmaker range of classic, custom tweed suits today.