Tweed Terms and Definitions for Beginners

We here at Linton Tweeds have always believed that tweed is a fabric for everyone, no matter what your style, gender or age. Even though Linton Tweeds is over 100 years old, many of our clientele are new to the world of textiles. With any industry it can be daunting to learn and understand the myriad of terms used, and tweed is no different. That is why we have put together a little terminology guide of a few of our favourite and most common tweed terms to help some of you newbies out.

Warp and Weft

Warp and weft denote the basic structure of a weaved fabric and are used in the process of weaving to turn yarns or thread into fabric. The longitudinal yarns (warp) are held fixed on a loom or a frame. Conversely, the weft is fed through and inserted over-and-under the warp to create a tweed fabric.

tweed warp and weft


A bouclé can refer to either a yarn or a fabric. It describes a textured and unevenly wound yarn with loops and curls to its structure.  In a fabric, it describes the use of these yarns to create a textured woolen surface with numerous loops and curls. The size of the loops can range from very small curls to large circlets. 

bouclé tweed


With regards to tweed, a slub is a yarn that has been deliberately spun or twisted to create irregular yarn thickness. While in the past, this was seen a defect, today techniques are used to purposely give yarns this finish which are then used to give fabrics more character.


Also referred pied-de-poule or dogstooth, houndstooth is a two-toned pattern found in textiles. This pattern is typified by checks made of irregular four-pointed shapes. While often found in black and white, other colours are used as well.

houndstooth tweed


Herringbone describes a V-shaped weaving pattern, often found in twill fabric. It is aptly named because the broken zigzag pattern resembles the skeletal structure of a herring fish. One of the most popular tweed patterns, it is regularly woven with wool and is common in suits and outdoor wear. This pattern is often called broken twill weave.

 herringbone tweed


Pilling refers to a surface of a textile defected by age and wear. It is caused by loose fibers pushing out and collecting into small circular bundles which eventually detach from the cloth. A pill refers to a single one of these circular bundles. Pilling typically happens on parts of a garment which experiences the most day-to-day abrasion like collars and cuffs.

pilling tweed


A piece-dye is a singular piece of cloth died to be a solid colour. Usually fabrics with numerous fancy yarns are not piece dyed. A continuous piece of fabric is dipped in a trough of hot dye solution to create a piece-dye.


A twill refers to a weave pattern of diagonal parallel ribs. This pattern is achieved by threading the weft yarn over two or more warp yarns and then under two or more warp yarns. An offset is done between rows to get the diagonal patterned effect.

Plain Weave

A plain weave is the most straight forward and basic patterns of textile weaves. This pattern is achieved by threading the warp and weft yarns at right angles to create a criss-cross effect. Due to its basic structure, this design yields strong fabrics often used for furnishing fabrics and fashion.

plain weave tweed

Have you come across any tweed terms you are unsure of the meaning? Let us know in the comments.