Other Interests

My Journey with Linton Tweeds: Buying the Fabric For a Tweed Jacket

When I heard that Linton Textile Mills, in Carlisle, Cumbria, England was within driving distance of the Lake District, I knew that I would have to talk my sister and mother into a visit. I purchased the Craftsy class, The Iconic Tweed Jacket with Lorna Knight and watched it before I left for England.

Thank you to Tracy of Linton Textile Mills for the help
By posting a question in the comment section of the class, Lorna gave me further advice beyond the chapter of the class on choosing your fabric. I also checked in with Alison Smith in the Craftsy courses on Tailoring Techniques and she too, made recommendations. Both teachers invited me to their sewing schools for a visit, but I will have to save that for a second trip.






Linton Tweed has become successful for two reasons. The owners of the mill did not keep only to the traditional wool yarns to weave their tweed, but incorporated metallics, synthetics, silks, ribbons, boucles, and sequins into the weave to create marvelous patterns and textures.



The second reason is that Coco Chanel had a connection with the mill and used these fabrics for her iconic tweed Chanel jacket. Her jacket design was so popular because it was a change from the structured, fitted garments of the 1920's and represented more freedom for women. Chanel used couture techniques to stabilize the loose weave and give the jacket soft structure.

           

You will see that it is a quilted jacket, in that the lining is sewn to the face fabric, all seams are stabilized with silk organza selvedge and the lining hides all the hand sewing on the seams. There are princess seams, set in sleeves, patch pockets, and all types of braid to outline the jacket edges. To give the jacket weight, a chain is sewn in the bottom. If this was the real Chanel jacket, I would be using a solid gold chain, but mine might be a length from Home Depot!

Our friend, Sue Thwaites who patiently drove us to Carlisle, along with Lib Saunders, who were most generous hosts for our stay in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England

The Linton shop, called The Bobbin is separate from the mill, which is not open to the public for health and safety reasons. Tracy, the shop assistant who helped me was very kind and gave advice when I needed it and let me browse, and ooh and ahh as long as I wanted. Since there was a cafe attached with very good food, my friends ordered the lunch and I went around fondling fabric. Such a wide choice, but I went with the idea of making a first jacket (oh, yes, there will be more!), one that I could wear in a more casual fashion with jeans, or dress up with a navy skirt.

Some of the fabrics were hung like drapes, some were stacked on rolling dollies, and some were on piled on the shelves. The rest of the items in the shop were knick knacks and scarves--many were made in China.

As you can see from the photos below, I was in heaven just looking and feeling the fabrics. I had debated on boucles, or ribbon tweeds. My priority was to choose something that would go well with navy, denim and black--the colours I usually wear as pants, or skirts. I also didn't want a huge matching job, which ruled out the one you see me so happily posing with. So, below you can see I was once again drawn to the blues/green/turquoises in a ribbon woven tweed, that I think will look beautiful in the Iconic Tweed Jacket, that wears like a cardigan.


  
 

WELL, you can't pass up the rack that tastefully says, "Buy one skirt length, get the second free." They had a beautiful thick wool navy, and a less textured black. I stayed within my budget and was very happy with my purchases. I think you can see by my expression how happy I was with that visit.

My final choices, including the 2 skirt lengths.
A close up of the label, and jacket choice.


Happily parting with the money!