Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Cad and the Dandy - Suit Buying Course - Lesson 2

Places on the Course

Hello again. Glad to see you've returned for lesson 2 of the Suit Buying Course. If you're new, don't worry, there are still a few places and lesson 1 is still available for you to catch up.

This lesson concentrates on style pointers for your suit.

Lesson 2 - Style Advice for Your Suit by Cad and the Dandy
  1. Choice of Cloth. Opt for a classic, blue or grey if it's a wardrobe staple. Pinstripes and chalk-stripes seem to be in the fashion doldrums, whereas more adventurous cloths in the Prince of Wales check vein are back with a vigour.

    Make sure it’s wool, and that you know which maker it's from. Do your research on the cloth-maker. It's amazing how many people are duped by the false claims of lower-end tailors who buy poor quality cloth from cheaper Asian countries.

    [Tweedy - some of the cloth makers and merchants we've covered: Abraham MoonWilliam Halstead, Scabal, Fox Brothers, Harrison's, H. Lesser, Porter and Harding & champion Harris Tweed weaver Donald John Mackay.]

  2. Style Elements. Keep it simple - single-breasted, one or two button. Slanted pockets, double vents and a notch lapel should set you on the right road.

  3. The Detail. A man who knows - knows! It's the little details that stand out and those in the know will spot them a mile off. Hand sewn button holes are the easiest way to show that the suit has been made with not only skill but attention. Avoid keyhole shaped button holes on the lapel.
The final lesson is coming soon. Class dismissed.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Lavenham - Patch Perfect

Purple Patch for Lavenham

What are your thoughts on patches? An eye patch looks rather dashing, particularly on a pirate or the man from the American Hathaway Shirt ads (below). Hard to criticise vegetable patches. But what about patches on clothes? Fine on elbows and unacceptable on knees? Patches on the elbows of your tweed jacket could say you spend a lot of time poring over Anglo -Saxon manuscripts and dusty tomes. I'd say that was a good message to convey. Patches on the knees of your trousers could say you spend, well, a lot of time on all fours. Not so good.

When it comes to elbow patches, they're obviously more fitting on country casual than city pinstripe. Patches in contrasting colours are probably best avoided - too Versace. The material needs to work as a patch too. Something hard-wearing like suede or corduroy.

Step forward the patches on one of the newer jackets from Lavenham, who I'd say were going through a bit of a purple patch themselves. The Halesworth Elbow Patches quilted jacket, made in England, has cord elbow patches and collar, and a shooting patch on the right shoulder (for right-handed shooters). Patch perfect. They're available in blue and green.

Do You Have any Spare Children's Books?

Speaking of Lavenham, they've launched a campaign to collect English children's books to send to areas of Japan that are still suffering from the effects of the earthquake and Tsunami that happened last year.

They're collecting the books up to April, after which they'll be sending them in the happy bags (below) they've made for the job.

Should you have any children's books to donate, you can send them to this address:

Attention: Marketing Department
Lavenham Leisure
24 - 25 Churchfield Road
CO10 2YA

Friday, 27 January 2012

Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes - Explorer, Dunhill Suit Wearer and Writer

Sir Ranulph Fiennes Can No Longer Play Recorder

A nice little interview with Sir Ranulph Fiennes from Alfred Dunhill. Fodder for The Tweed Pig, with the combination of Dunhill's history and Fienne's incredible CV of derring-do.

Dunhill, established in London in the late-Victorian era, and famed for its motoring and smoking accessories, is now owned by luxuries conglomerate Richemont. The modern Dunhill brand is associated with a broad range of men's clothes and products.

The interview is part of Dunhill's Voice campaign, which is meant to embody masculine achievement. I won't try and describe any further, as I don't want to lurch into advertising-industry twaddle. Sir Ranulph proffers stoical nuggets of wisdom. Fight against wimpish thoughts and err on the side of pessimism, says he.

Ranulph Goes to Hollywood - The Feather Men

Sir Ranulph has documented real-life adventure and adventurers in a number of books, including his own experiences in the excellent biography Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know [Amazon].

Action and adventure are the main themes in his fiction too. The Feather Men was published in 1991 and is the story of four SAS soldiers targeted by a hit squad. Fiennes was a member of the SAS, so could draw on his real life experiences.

The Feather Men was made into the action film Killer Elite in 2011, starring tough-chaps Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert de Niro.

I sense you're not a massive fan of action films, Bond and Bourne excepted. You prefer something more like the original Brideshead series with Jeremy Irons perhaps? Obviously we'll be covering that at some stage, but Killer Elite is an enjoyable romp. Spot the interesting use of a loaf.

How to play 'old Etonian': Amusing to see Fiennes portrayed in the film as a rather effete character, which I suppose is some kind of shorthand for old Etonian, but not quite an accurate vision of Fiennes.

Clothing Credits: Here we see a beige and blue Baracuta Harrington jacket put through its paces in the film by Jason's hit man character.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Transported to London - The Moquette Bag

All Aboard - London Transport Museum Introduce a Range of Products Using the Distinctive Moquette

You know the practical covering they use on the buses and underground trains? The material is called moquette and is designed to be extremely hard-wearing because of the pounding it is going to take from Londoners' bottoms. It is redolent of a London of gents in bowler hats sitting patiently on the tube behind their newspapers on their way to the city. I can hear the whirr of the tube train now as it moves on from Sloane Square.

London Transport Museum has taken the fabric and created a holdall bag (above) using the old moquette designs for the Green Line and the old RT buses. Leather trims can be in black or brown. Much like a carpet bag from Victorian times, which also used to double as rugs for sleeping on journeys.

The Green Line moquette shown on the bag was first introduced in the 1950s and used to furnish the commuter coaches for the Home Counties throughout in the 50s and 60s. The pattern has dark green and blue stripes, with pink stripes cutting across. The moquette is woven in the UK by one of the original moquette suppliers. Mostly woven from wool but with a dash of polyester to give it added strength.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Cad and the Dandy - Suit Buying Course - Lesson 1

Enrol for The Tweed Pig Technical Certificate in Suit Buying Here

It's the new year and you may be considering a little self-improvement. If you keep putting off studying for that degree in Classics at Cambridge and the keep-fit DVD you bought remains in its wrapping, you might consider The Tweed Pig Technical Certificate in Suit Buying. The Tweed Pig is offering this course for free, in conjunction with our friends at Cad and Dandy. When we say in conjunction, we mean that Cad and Dandy used their considerable expertise to put the learning materials together.

The course will be delivered in lessons over the next couple of weeks (lesson 1 below). No student fees, no living in shared accommodation with scruffbags, flip-flop wearers and teabag hoarders. At the end of the course, you will have acquired all the skills you need for commissioning your perfect suit. Something that will stay with you forever. We bring these lessons as a public service, to reduce the number of poor quality and ill-fitting suits that stay in wardrobes unworn. Have a pencil and paper handy to take notes, and good luck.

About our Instructors
London tailors Cad and the Dandy, operating out of the City, Savile Row and Canary Wharf, believe that high-quality suits should be accessible to all. They offer three grades of tailored suit: machine stitched, half hand-stitched and fully hand-stitched. Once they've captured your shape in a pattern created by hand you can choose from their vast library of fabrics and linings.

Lesson 1 - The Rules of Fitting by Cad and the Dandy
  1. Length of the jacket. The fad of late seems to be shorter jackets - not something a tailor likes to see, but the standard rule is that the jacket should be long enough to cover your backside, normally where the thumb knuckle is when standing with your arms by your side.
  2. Fit of the Collar. All too often jackets either sit away from the neck or there is a ridge that forms behind the neck. You should also care how the suit looks from behind not just the front.
  3. Fit across the back. The jacket should sit cleanly across the back. There should be minimal creases, any that form horizontally are normally an indication the jacket is too tight.
  4. Sleeve length. It is important to show ½ to ¾ of an inch of shirt cuff.
  5. Tailoring of lapels. Pay special attention to lapels and try and avoid skinny ones! On a jacket that is well made lapels should roll softly to the point where the jacket buttons. This is all part of the handwork that goes into a bespoke suit.
  6. Waistline fit. The amount of 'shape' at the waist derives not just from the fit but the cut. As a tailoring house Cad and the Dandy cut a strong waist but never a tight jacket.
  7. Trouser fit. Belts with suits should be avoided, a trouser and the wearer look cleaner and smarter without. They should fit smoothly across the seat by sitting correctly on the wearers waist, not like a low slung pair of jeans.
  8. Trouser length. Trouser length is a personal one but ideally Cad and the Dandy like to see a slight break at the top of the shoe front and the trouser to hang straight at the back.
Lesson 2 coming soon. Class dismissed.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Lear Browne and Dunsford - Conservative Classics

Background on Lear Brown and Dunsford (1895)

Based in Exeter, England, textile merchant Lear Browne and Dunsford is the parent company that encompasses the esteemed cloth making names of Harrisons of Edinburgh, H. Lesser and Porter and Harding. Having spoken of the quality of Porter and Harding's in our panegyric to corduroy, we wanted to learn more about Lear Browne and Dunsford and how they have prospered since 1895.

James Dunsford - Current Trends in Suiting Cloths

Mark and James Dunsford are the 4th generation of the Dunsford family to be running the business. Thanks to James for taking the time to speak with us.

We asked James how the company has stayed robust. "Three main factors. Family Shareholding only. Reinvestment in the business every year. Sticking to our guns when it comes to buying cloth. We basically only stock British material."

The UK is Lear Browne and Dunsford's largest market. Outside the UK it's the U.S.A., Japan, and Italy. British products are generally popular in the States, what with the historic and linguistic ties, but Italy and Japan are always mentioned when we ask about this sort of thing. The Italians and the Japanese are knowledgeable, seek out quality and demand the best - in a British sense that might mean a Brooks saddle for their bike or some real stilton. Quality will out in those markets.

Dunsford's best selling fabrics are Harrisons Super 100s Premier Cru (sample below) and H. Lesser 11oz suiting.

James says the company is looking to develop the business in China, India and Korea. A Made In the UK label will be eagerly sought-out in these new markets.

Tip - Check You Are Buying 2-fold

All Lear Browne and Dunsford's suiting cloths are manufactured 2-fold, meaning two threads are twisted together both warp and left to give better strength. James advises, "Today many cloths are produced single weft, which will make the cloth softer to handle but weaker in the long term. So your readers should check if single weft is used or not!"

Conservative Classics and the Changing Perception of Tweed

Lear Browne and Dunsford have a large archive of cloths from their subsidiaries and are aware of trends in taste, but, as James says, their strength lies in "selling conservative classics". 

The company has made it a goal to preserve their heritage, but they have also adapted to change and embraced it. For example, James has noticed the change in perception to tweed. "Tweed at the moment is different, and we have a much stronger look than before with the likes of Glenroyal (top). We have seen the most notable change in end-user. The stereotypical farmer wearing tweed has long, long gone."

Tweedy's thought: As we've said on a few occasions, when mass culture means piercings, flip-flops, and throwaway fast fashion, hunting out quality and dressing smartly in conservative classics never felt more rebellious. 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sherlock Holmes Mystery Explained

The Tea Ritual

It's probably been bugging you. You watched the final episode of the new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, starring Tweed Towers favourite Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, Martin Freeman as Watson and Andrew Scott as Moriarty - performing as an odd pantomime villain - and you just could not put the pieces together. "Whodunit?" you possibly kept repeating to yourself, perplexed.

Well today The Tweed Pig can reveal all. The chinaware Holmes and Moriarty enjoyed afternoon tea with is from a range called Home Sweet Home created by designer Ali Miller. We featured the china when we spoke of our dear friends Rosy Lee London, the tea merchants, sometime ago. Elementary. Now you can re-enact that famous scene in the comfort of your own home.

Did Holmes offer Moriarty biscuits or cake? Maybe that's why they don't get on.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Tweed Pig Pin-Up - Frank Hamish Lloyd-Platt

Frank Hamish Lloyd-Platt - Founder and Owner - The Hamish

This is the first in an occasional series called The Tweed Pig Pin-up. I know, we've started a few of these occasional series and they've soon fizzled out, but we're hoping this one has legs. With The Tweed Pig Pin-up, we're going to bring a photo of someone or something that captures our attention at Tweed Towers, and a little story of what you can see in the photo. Nothing racy, it'll be more cardigans than corsets.

First up is Frank Hamish Lloyd-Platt. Frank is founder and owner of The Hamish, a web site design and development company. (In fact, it's through thinking of an excuse to post this photo that the series was invented. The Tweed Pig is a bit of a moveable feast, but it fits well on these pages, don't you think?)

About the Photo

Frank tells us about the photo.

I found the jumper on Cheshire street, off Brick Lane east London, and I liked the colour of it straight away. I am also wearing a wooden bow-tie and a shirt I had made in India from embroidered towel fabric. I left it in the dry cleaners a couple of months back, so someone might have a jazzy Christmas present this year!

The photo is taken by my cousin Rory at a Christmas party at my house a few years ago. The 'lifetimes supply' of mustard was a present from my mum! The photograph got such a good response I use it on my business cards, and I have cheekily submitted it to Colman's to use on their next advertising campaign. No response yet though.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Carréducker - Handmade English Shoes - Q & A with Deborah Carré & James Ducker

The Tea and Cake is Unleashed

Following the recent post on the art and sole of carréducker, we bring more insights about what sets a bespoke shoe apart from its biscuit-cutter alternative. Young Mrs Tweed shared a pot of Assam golden tips tea and lemon chifon cake with Deborah Carré and James Ducker of carréducker, the bespoke shoemakers, to ask a couple of questions and unravel the mystery.

Q & A with Deborah Carré & James Ducker - Founders and Makers at carréducker

The sharpened pencil was poised and the questioning began. Many thanks to Carré & Ducker for providing their time and such interesting responses.

Could you tell me about the process of having a pair of bespoke shoes made at Carréducker?
Typically, we see the customers at our workshop at Gieves and Hawkes, Number 1 Savile Row. We make the shoes here behind a glass screen on the shop floor. At the first meeting, we measure the feet; do a design consultation where we ask about the customer's wardrobe and what the shoes are going to be worn with. We also choose leathers and design details together. We then have the lasts made by our last maker in Northampton.

Next we make a pattern and a pair of uppers and brace them onto the lasts so that the customer can try on the shoes. We always do one fitting, often two and sometimes more. It is a bespoke process and everyone's feet are different. Once the fit is perfect, we make the shoes by hand using only hand held tools and no machines.

We follow up with a call or email one month after the client has taken delivery to check all is well. Sometimes we have to make further adjustments as it is only with wear over a period of time that the customer can get a feel for the true fit of the shoe.

How long does it take to complete the shoe-making process?
It takes between 6 and 8 months to deliver the shoes, depending on how available the customer is for fittings. 5 to 6 months for subsequent pairs.

Could you explain a little more about the craftsmanship behind your shoes, the skills required, and the various stages in making the product?
Every process is done by hand, from the last making to finishing the shoes.

During the making, we prepare an insole with a paring knife; last the shoes by hand (stretch the uppers onto the lasts); hand welt the shoes (attach the upper to the insole and insert a strip of leather between them); hand stitch a sole to the welt; build the heels by hand using glue and nails; and finish the shoes by hand using glass, sandpaper, ink and wax.

What are your most popular styles?
Difficult to say. We design each shoe for each customer, so the styles always vary. Of the samples in store, the most popular ones are the Half-cut and the Saddle Boot.

What are your biggest markets?
Our markets are about 25% UK, 33% USA and the rest from the rest of the world, especially the Far East.

How does the experience and enjoyment of wearing a pair of bespoke shoes compare to wearing a good pair of quality shoes in the right size?
Firstly, when we see a client to take their measurements we also take a foam impression of their feet. This ensures that shoes made on their lasts give their feet the utmost support where they need it. So the experience of bespoke shoes is very different.

Secondly, the leathers we use are of the highest quality, and once you have broken the shoes in, the leather moulds to your foot shape.

Thirdly, it's that frisson of knowing that you are wearing shoes commissioned by and made for you alone - a subtle, secret pleasure.

A client recently said when putting his bespoke shoes on for the first time, "I've been to the Taj Mahal, walked the Great Wall of China, but this is something else." We love that.

What are the characteristics of the leather you use in your shoes? Which are the best leathers?
We use top quality box calf leather for the uppers, from Poland, Italy and France - and the quality is such that the uppers should last 15 to 20 years if you nourish and polish regularly. We also use exotics such as alligator, lizard, ostrich and snake.

What's the profile of your customer?
Very varied, from billionaires who order a pair of the same shoes for each of their houses around the world, so that they don't have to travel with luggage, to those who have a passion for the craft and save up to get their one pair of bespoke shoes. In between, we see a lot of international businessmen who pass through London on a regular basis. We also have a number of gents who have problematic feet or who find it hard to buy ready to wear shoes.

Tweedy's thought: What you get from a pair of bespoke shoes takes footwear to another level. It's fantastic that the skills and craftsmanship that go behind a pair of handmade carréducker shoes is appreciated around the globe. A fantastic advert for British craftsmanship. 

Friday, 13 January 2012

R. S. Thomas - Misery Guts Welsh Poet and His Duffle Coats

R. S. Thomas - One of the Great Welsh 'Thomas Poets'

The Tweed Pig sometimes accuses itself of being too superficial. We obsess about things like seams on socks. Does it really matter? But maybe we're being too hard on ourselves. After all, isn't God (or the devil) in the detail?

Perhaps to over-compensate, we bring you some introspective poetry today. It's good to do a little navel-gazing at this time of year. R. S. Thomas is considered one of the great Welsh poets. He was an Anglican priest with deep spiritual convictions. These convictions were ostensibly to reject the greed and superficiality of consumerism and defend the community of Wales from such malign influence. He was extreme in these convictions, railing against household appliances and gadgets as vacuous diversions that led people from their innate spiritual needs. His sermons and poetry reflected this outlook. And he had the courage of his convictions, living in splendid isolation in a remote part of Wales where modernity barely got a look in, and he could channel his thoughts into beautiful and sensitive poetry.

His spiky personality and introspection reminds me a little of Wainright, actually.

The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R. S. Thomas

If you wish to know more of R. S. Thomas the man, there is no better place to start than the biography by Byron Rogers, The Man Who Went into the West: The Life of R. S. Thomas [Amazon].A fair and meticulous biography of a complex and often paradoxical figure out on Aurum Press.

The Duffle Coated Poet

He probably wouldn't have appreciated my pointing this out, but R. S. Thomas wore a mean duffle coat. And you can achieve the shy yet angry British poet look with a Gloverall.

This excerpt from a programme broadcast on British TV in 1995 features R. S. Thomas, who recites some of his wonderful poetry and displays, in cut-glass English accent, a surprising sense of humour. Lots of duffle coat action too.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Art and Sole - Carréducker

Find Bespoke Shoemaker Carréducker at the Gentleman's Emporium at No. 1 Savile Row

James Ducker and Deborah Carré are the full names behind the shoemaker carréducker. Both served four years of apprenticeship to a master shoemaker at John Lobb. Deborah was apprenticed as a scholar of the highly commendable Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust. In 2004, they founded carréducker.

They follow the traditions of handsewn English shoemaking and very much see themselves as the guardians of the trade. As James says, "We are passionate about the traditions of shoemaking, and in this respect we run intensive shoemaking courses three times a year in London and New York - and we also write a weekly blog about the craft. It is a specialist blog and mainly consists of short tutorials on specific aspects of shoemaking." That passion is being recognised, Deborah was winner of the Leather Category of the Balwennie Master of Craft awards.

Allied to this passion for traditional craftsmanship, carréducker also adds a contemporary design ethos to their shoes. Styles range from the classics of the English wardrobe (The Mayfair Collection) to more contemporary models which concentrate on colour, texture, proportion, a mix of materials, and idiosyncratic design details. They design every pair for each client on the last, so how traditional or contemporary you go is entirely up to you.

Bespoke Shoes Versus Ready-to-Wear

At carréducker a foam impression is taken of the customer's feet at the measuring stage. This means that the shape of the sole of the last reflects the shape of the feet and how weight is distributed. In this way, the shoes can give the feet all the support they need. James believes that this is the Damascene moment for a person new to bespoke shoes, "Once a customer has had a well-fitting pair of bespoke it is hard for them to go back to ready-to-wear where that level of fit cannot be achieved."

"Our bespoke shoes are handsewn so they can be repaired time-and-time again over the years. They are a sustainable choice because of this durability and the traditional way in which they are made."

James describes the follow-up process after the shoes have been made. "Once we have made the shoes and delivered them, we follow up with the client one month later to check that all is well. It is only by breaking in and then wearing the shoes for a while that the customer gets a real feel for the fit. Sometimes at this stage we need to make further slight adjustments to perfect the fit for the customer."

Interested? I bet your feet are. Stay tuned for a Q & A session with carréducker coming very soon.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

The Return of the Donkey Jacket

Donkey Jacket - British Workwear Classic

How's this for a turn up for the books. We see that the donkey jacket has been making something of a return. By my reckoning this once staple piece of British workwear hasn't been in much evidence since the early 80s when it was adopted by skinheads - part of their puritanically anti-fashion and clean-cut aesthetic - as an alternative to a Crombie. Dexys Midnight Runners (above) wore them a lot during their Searching for the Young Soul Rebels period. The history of the donkey jacket as a garment for labourers goes back to the Victorian era. In the service industry era it has risen again.

The Watchgate - Bringing Together George Keys and British Millerain

Instead of the traditional leather shoulder panels, the Watchgate woollen donkey jacket from Aubin & Wills. It is made in the UK by George Keys (1870), and uses waxed cotton from the British Millerain Company. I can't find any info on George Keys. George, if you read this, please get in touch.

If you're attracted to British utilitarian clothing, you don't need to look like you're clocking-on for a shift in a mine. A donkey jacket with maybe a tattersal shirt underneath, a pair of mustard-coloured moleskin trousers and some well-worn oxblood brogues should do it.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

A Lot of Flannel from Alex James

Familiar Names in Aubin & Wills

I found myself in London this week. In a spare couple of hours, I sprinted round the usual haunts. I popped into the flagship shop of Aubin & Wills in Shoreditch. They seem to be doing many more interesting British collaborations than I remember of yore. Quite a few Made in Britain labels, and we can't ignore that.

Coats and accessories collaborations throw up the right names: Fox Brothers, Gloverall, The English Belt Company and Brady Bags. Young Mrs Tweed is currently wearing-in a pair of English-made brogue boots of theirs, which she's very pleased with. Fully leather-lined. Goodyear welt. We've been trying to track down the manufacturer. We're told it's Grenson.

Aubin & Wills, the sister company of Jack Wills, sets out to present "modern British design, inspired by the past, living in the present." Old Tweedy lives in the past, but is inspired by the present.

Alex James - Rock Star Gentleman of the Great British Countryside

Aubin & Wills have interesting collaborations with Brits themselves too. We covered Graham Coxon and his passion for Cordings. Well, here's another Blur person doing something that interests us. Alex James has collaborated with Aubin & Wills to create the three-piece Sandbanks suit in Fox Brothers flannel (above).

You may have an opinion on the short cut of the jacket, and the fact that it's only available in approximate sizes (small, medium, large et cetera), but the use of Fox Brothers flannel is a matchless choice.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Dirk Bogarde - Lyrics for Lovers

Dirk Bogarde - Actor, Writer, Talk-Singer

Dirk Bogarde, the British actor, born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde, had quite a career. His acting day-job took him from matinee idol, playing film roles such as Dr. Simon Sparrow in the enjoyable Doctor series of films, to the art-house boundary-pushing of his later films, particularly the Italian ones. Visconti's Death In Venice and Cavani's Night Porter are career high-water marks.

Dirk also wrote successfully. His novels and memoirs have a light, witty flourish that are far from the wince-inducing literary diversions of many actors.

In spite of the characters he played, or the subject matter on which he wrote, there was always a quiet dignity and elegant demeanour to the man. His natural disposition is also in evidence on the neglected album Lyrics for Lovers.

Dirk Bogarde's - Lyrics for Lovers

Dirk Bogarde's Lyrics for Lovers came out in 1960 on London Records. It's been available on CD for some time.

Dirk delivers the lyrics of standard romantic songs in a confessional spoken-word style. With the warmth of his voice and its intimacy, it's one I like to play in the car a lot. The world seems a little more elegant as it's playing.

Eric Rogers, who composed scores for the Carry On series of films, provides the musical accompaniment with lush yet hushed arrangements.

The track Where or When features the best lighting of a cigarette ever put to record.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Auburn Threaded Beauty - An English Hand Wash Bag

An English Hand Wash Bag

We featured An English Hand recently and spoke briefly about the popularity of their Harris Tweed wash bags. Young Mrs Tweed was thrilled (and lucky) to find one in her stocking at Christmas. I wonder who sent it? The colour is just too photogenic to ignore, so we're giving it its own spot using photos taken by a thrilled young Mrs Tweed. Nice photos Mrs T.

The hand-made wash bags come in two sizes, Major (27 x 19.5 x 9cm) and Minor (21 x 14 x 9cm). Young Mrs Tweed's is a Minor in the Orange Heather tweed. Other colours include navy, lovat and grey. The orange is a lovely warm colour and the tweed soft to the touch, very tactile. The bag is lined with cotton. It has the Harris Tweed label sewn on to the base, but you can choose not to have this if you prefer. A neat idea to have the removable pocket for the inevitable airport security checks.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Tweed in New Year's Honours List

MBE for Harris Tweed Weaver

It's traditional to groan incredulously at some of the more high-profile celebrity names on the Queen's New Year's Honours List. You might frown and wonder what on earth the award was for and quickly dismiss the whole idea of honours in general. But hold on, the New Year's Honours List is a long list and there is no such question mark over honouring the vast majority of the recipients for their service to the United Kingdom or British Overseas Territories.

One such worthy recipient is Donald John Mackay, a tweed weaver from the Isle of Harris. Donald is to receive an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for services to the Harris Tweed industry, following 21 years as a weaver. He and his wife trade under the name of Luskentyre Harris Tweed Co and are busy supplying orders to the traditional buyers, such as the tailors on Savile Row, and the not so traditional, like Clarks Originals. Clarks has already brought out that mod staple the desert boot in Harris Tweed with ASOS (below). Not sure if the cloth for that one in particular came from Luskentyre.

Congratulations from The Tweed Pig.

Esquire's Visit to the Isle of Harris

Esquire made a series of videos where  Patrick Grant of Norton and Sons visited British cloth manufacturers. He included Donald on his visit to the Isle of Harris. Patrick considers him to be one of the finest Harris Tweed weavers.

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