How it's made overview
Raw wool is to the mill, the mills we use make sure that the best raw material is chosen in order to produce fabrics of this quality.
The wool that arrives is either scoured or cleaned and combed broken tops, which ensures that there is less than 0.3% impurities within the fleeces.
The selected raw wool then goes to the Dye House, to be dyed using precise combinations of dye, pressure, temperature and time.
There is a huge array of colours available with up to 500 different shades to choose from. This is a highly skilled process that is essential to creating beautiful yarns and is passed down through generations.
The secret to creating beautifully rich colours that you see in our tweeds is in the blend.
Up to 7 different coloured wools can go into the recipe for each yarn to create the finished colour. This is what gives Tweeds, Heathers and Plaids their uniquely rich texture. For example, if a check design includes 5 different colours, and each colour has 7 different shades in the yarn, the eye is picking up 35 different colours in the finished pattern.
Essential in producing soft, smooth fabrics that Holland cooper is renowned for.
The blended wool lubricated with a little water and oil is run through a series of combed rollers that first tease the fibres one way and then the other. This process rids the wool of any last impurities ensuring the finished fabrics are smooth and soft to the touch. Carding also helps with alignment and uniformity. At the end of the process, the combed and teased fibres are wound onto a spool ready to be placed into the spinning machine.
The rich web of coloured wool is then spun our beautiful yarns.
There are 6 frames that draw out the wool and put a precise number of twists per inch into the wool, resulting in a fine but strong thread ideal for fabrics used in our clothing. The yarn is then wound onto cones going through a check to ensure continuity of thickness of the yarn.
The cones of yarn are wound over a drum (known as a swift or mill) and a warp (lengthwise threads) is made for weaving.
This can be a complicated process depending on the intricacy of the pattern in the finished fabric. These are checked by hand and must all be held in an exact order to ensure accurate and uniform patterns and designs.
This is where many different yarns are woven together in intricate weaves to create stunning fabrics.
After the fabric is woven, each piece begins a strict quality control process. Every inch of fabric is inspected at three stages in the manufacturing process – when it comes off the loom, after finishing and again before it leaves the factory- ensuring a trademark consistency in quality.
After weaving the fabric is scoured (washed) using pure water pumped from boreholes 800ft below, and then milled and dried.
The oils that were used to aid manufacture of the fabric are removed and fire retardants and water resist treatments can be padded onto the fabric. This is when the wonderful and luxurious feel (or 'handle') starts to become apparent. The final step in the process is finishing. Each length of fabric is carefully pressed using steam and specialised equipment used to remove any shrinkage, thus completing the creation of the fabric.