Tweed is a rough, woolen fabric, of a soft, open, flexible texture, resembling cheviot or homespun, but more closely woven. It is usually woven with a plain weave, twill or herringbone structure. Colour effects in the yarn may be obtained by mixing dyed wool before it is spun. Tweeds are an icon of traditional Scottish and Irish clothing, being desirable for informal outerwear, due to the material being moisture-resistant and durable. Tweeds are made to withstand harsh climates and are commonly worn for outdoor activities such as shooting and hunting, in both Ireland and Scotland. By choosing certain sheep breeds instead of others, you can somewhat control the pattern that will emerge in your tweed garment.
Originally invented by the Scottish, tweed is now an international fashion staple, and the majority of tweed wool is harvested in Australia. Tweed has ancestrally been used by Scottish shepherds for hundreds of years to fend off the rampaging highland winds. In the early 1800s, this rugged fabric caught the eye of the English aristocracy, and within decades, British nobles were placing large orders of matching, themed tweed garments for their entire staff.
As the Industrial Revolution made wool cheaper and easier to produce, tweed found its way to the masses, and this fabric is still used today in outerwear applications