If you have ever been patiently waiting for one of our beautiful fabrics coming back into stock from our mill you may have heard us mention that the cloth is "at the finishers" and will be back with us soon.
But what exactly is this mysterious "Finishers" and what does this mean?
Our tartan fabrics go through a lengthy process to ensure that they are up to our high standards and levels of quality. Once they have been through the Winding, Dyeing, Warping, Weaving and Darning processes (try saying that 3 times fast) they are sent to the finishers. While there they will be transformed from a standard woven cloth into a more usable material which improves the look, performance and feel of the finished fabric.
This all begins by lovingly washing and drying the fabric to remove any excess lanolin, (also known as wool wax) which might be left over from the sheep, and close up the structure of the fabric.
The fabric will then go through a process known as milling. This is an essential part of the finishing process and is sometimes know as 'felting'. It can be used to alter the appearance and strength of the fabric and allows the mill to create a fuller more dense feeling by exposing the fabric to warmth, moisture and pressure. In effect pressing and setting the tartan pattern.
Next is where the wool is either left as is (think our lovely 10oz pure wool fabric) or treated. For example, for our lovely brushed wool tartan items the fabric will be brushed and teased and coaxed into the lovely fluffy texture that makes them so cosy and soft.
Other fabrics will be treated with Teflon coatings or go through the process of 'shrinking' which encourages the fabric to settle in order to minimise the tendency to shrink in the wash.
Essentially this last crucial step is making sure that your fabric hasn't just been made beautifully to reflect your clan tartan but is also fit for purpose.
Explore our tartan fabrics on the website and let us know if you want to learn more about how they are made so we can create more interesting blogs for you.