Tweed has been used by Scotland's families and estates for hundreds of years. Each unique tweed design tells a story of people and place, and our bespoke tweed design service continues this tradition, both restoring ancient designs and creating new tweed patterns that add to the legacy of this iconic fabric.
Araminta Campbell provides a unique and personalised service when designing bespoke tweeds and tartans. She has worked with a wide range of clients, from estates to hotels, corporate brands and private individuals to create both new designs and updated versions of old patterns. Because she works with a number of different mills within Scotland, she is able to offer a range of cloth weights and lengths, as well as the potential for weaving in luxury fibres such as cashmere and alpaca.
This tailor-made service is truly unique, drawing on her artistic experience Araminta devotes time and passion to each design to ensure her customer is completely satisfied with the result. Please contact me to make an enquiry, or read on to find out more about the bespoke design process.
Combining History and Innovation
Araminta Campbell was born and raised on a small estate in the north of Scotland. Tweed has been a part of her life ever since she can remember, from her family’s sporting wear to her grandmother’s skirts and Grandfather’s tweed suits. After studying textiles at university, she returned to her roots and began creating new tweeds, using her artistic eye and love of the natural world to inspire her designs. Over the years Araminta has built on her expertise in weaving and textile design by taking on commissions to create bespoke tweeds. She loves this part of the business as it introduces her to new parts of the country and wonderful family histories and traditions. Recently she redesigned a tweed for the Blair Atholl family Estate, and has also produced designs for the Glen Tanar and Lutton Hoo Estates. She is currently working on a large project for a London based interior designer.
One of the essential aspects of a Tweed is its place of birth. The land that it springs from, the colours of the hills, patterns and textures of the heather and bracken. Originally these natural colours would have dyed the fibres of the material itself, resulting in a fabric that seamlessly blended with its surroundings. Perfect if you are hunkered down watching a deer, or striding over the moors in search of dinner!
In the first part of the design process Araminta researches the client’s landscape of origin – often making a personal visit to gain a better understanding of its character. She then searches far and wide for her yarns, carefully matching them to the natural colours she has observed. One of the distinctive qualities of a tweed yarn is its marl; up to 8 different colours of fibre twisted together in the spinning. This adds to its organic appearance as nothing in nature is one single tone, rather a combination of different hues and colours! Irish or Donegal tweed yarn takes this one step further and includes whole flecks or ‘nepps’ of contrasting colours scattered throughout the yarn.
Crafting a Unique Tweed Design
A mill woven tweed design mostly uses 4 shafts on a loom resulting in the well-known diagonal weave structure called a Twill – although there are others such as the beautifully named Barleycorn. The tweed then comes to life with the colour pattern; from checks to stripes, herringbone to houndstooth. These elements are brought together in different combinations resulting in endless possibilities. The tweed patterns Araminta creates come from both the client’s ideas and her wide ranging knowledge of weave structure and design. She loves creating something new and different, drawing from the huge legacy of designs passed down the centuries rather than sticking to the most commonly used patterns.
Her first meeting with a client helps to establish the design parameters of colour, check and pattern. She can show customers a wide range of tweed designs to help them identify what they like, and bring together elements from a number of different patterns to create something unique and special. Several preliminary CAD designs will then be created provided with samples of the yarn colours, which are then narrowed down and altered to create a final design. This can be a several step process. A sample of the tweed can be produced before the final design is put into production
Weaving a Bespoke Piece of Tweed
Aside from the pattern and colour, the weight and quality of a tweed varies greatly depending on the purpose it is to be used for. For instance; a heavyweight Cheviot tweed provides a hard wearing semi-waterproof material for shooting and game keeping in the Highlands of Scotland. A lightweight cashmere tweed would be best suited for dress making and city wear, offering a beautiful drape and luxurious finish. Because she works with a variety of independent mills and spinners throughout Scotland, Araminta can cover all these options. She has even pushed the boundaries of what the industry offers, recently completing what we believe to be the first ever British alpaca tweed.
Scotland has a rich heritage of weaving mills however sadly in recent times many of them have struggled to compete with large numbers of imports from overseas, despite their expertise and reputation for quality. Araminta is passionate about supporting the Scottish textiles industry, and is proud to be able to work with a number of smaller companies rather than just the larger more well known firms. Many of the mills she works with have been weaving for hundreds of years, and contain skills and knowledge that has been handed down through the generations.
From Bolt of Cloth to the Finished Article
Once the finished length of cloth has been woven and finished, there are a number of ways we can assist in helping you use it! Araminta has a unique range of bags, luggage and gunslips that are able to be handmade to order by a skilled artisan based in Edinburgh. Each is made from your own tweed or tartan combined with quality Scottish leather and sheepskin, and can be ordered as a single one off piece or small collection. For larger orders, Araminta is also able to produce interior products such as blankets and glass platters in your bespoke design.
Designing new tweeds for different clients remains one of Araminta’s favourite parts of the business as it allows her to continue creating new designs and finding ways of reinvigorating traditional techniques. She loves the rich history tweed has and looks forward to seeing what can be done with this most versatile of materials in the future. If you would like to enquire about a bespoke tweed commission pleasecontact Araminta.