If you have ever thought about how our gilets are made, or if you are keen to find out about the materials we use, then please read on for an insight into the “making of” our latest collection of gilets.
Famous for its lush countryside and rolling dales, Yorkshire, with its unique textile heritage is renowned for producing some of the world’s finest and most sought after cloth. The textile industry boom in the industrial revolution makes up a large part of Yorkshire’s rich history and luxury brands around the world, couture houses, Savile Row and Royalty are just some of the destinations for cloth produced here.
We source our merino and cashmere lambswool from Abraham Moon and Sons Mill, which was founded in 1837 and is one of the last remaining vertical woollen mills in Great Britain, with a reputation for consistent quality and innovative design.
Bales of raw wool are delivered to the site in Guiseley, Yorkshire, to begin the process of creating beautiful fabrics. The raw wool then goes to the Dye House to be dyed and then to be blended. Up to seven different coloured wools can go into the recipe for each yarn to create the finished colour. This is what gives Tweeds their unique rich texture.
The blended wool is then 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 impurities ensuring that the finished fabrics are smooth and soft to touch. The combed and teased fibres are then wound onto a spool ready to be placed into the spinning machine.
The coloured wool is then spun into a huge range of amazing yarns. The 6 frames draw out the wool and put a precise number of twists per inch into the wool, resulting in a fine but strong thread. The yarns are then wound onto cones holding up to 16,000m of yarn which are then ready to be sent to warping and weaving.
The cones of yarn are wound over a drum, known as a mill, and the warp (lengthwise threads) is made for weaving. Up to 2000 threads may be required for a width of fabric.
Then the many different yarns are woven together in intricate weaves to create the stunning fabrics that we use. After weaving the fabric is scoured (washed) using pure water pumped from boreholes 800ft below Guiseley and then milled and dried. This is when the wonderful and luxurious feel (handle) starts to become apparent. The final process is finishing, this is when each length is carefully pressed using steam, thus creating the beautiful fabric.
The mill was chosen for its history, environmental and ethical credentials and the sheer commitment to the craftsmanship and quality at every step of the production process.
In fact, textiles have been at the heat of Yorkshire’s existence for hundreds of years dating back to middle ages
The bolts of fabric are then sent to us here at our studio on the family farm in Wiltshire and we start the design process. Each roll of material is 60m and this is needed to make 50 gilets. We look carefully at all the colours within the Tweeds and then pick out the different hues and undertones and choose our velvets and moleskins to compliment these.
We source our Moleskins and velvets from Brisbane Moss at the Bridgeroyd Works, Lancashire. Since the middle of the 19th Century, Moss Brothers has been weavers and converters of corduroy and moleskin fabric. About the turn of century, The English Velvet Cord Dyeing Company moved into the district and took over some of the local dyeing firms. Fearing the prospect of a monopoly in the dyeing trade, which could be to their disadvantage, several clothing companies got together along with the largest dyers in the district, Moss Bros Ltd with their extensive dye works at Brideroyd. Together they formed The English Fustian Manufacturing Company Ltd on 13th February 1901.
Over the next few decades, the EFMC continued to expand but in the 1980’s due to changes in the demand for corduroy moleskin they were forced into administration with many divisions closing down. It was at this time that M Chapmans & Sons who also specialised in pile fabrics because associated with Brisbane Moss and Moss Brothers Dyers and became the current owners in 1983. The relationship has proved very successful and they have been presented awards for quality of traditional fabrics around the world.
Once we have chosen the colours of our velvets and moleskins we compliment this with choosing the satins for the flat piping detail and thick cottons for the button hole stitching.
We then choose a lining material from a range of either satins, cottons from the Royal Household of Thailand (story coming in our blog soon) and Liberty Art print fabrics. For the Primrose Hill gilet we use Liberty Art Print Fabric Tana Lawn 100% cotton Felix and Isabella which is a classical Liberty London Print with small scale florals, paisley and hand drawn flowers.
With all these materials stacked up in the boot of our car we head off to London to meet our tailor and to chat over the design and pattern with him. We are extremely fortunate to have a relationship with one of the best tailors in the industry who works with many luxury and haute couture brands. The quality of our product is dependent not only on the quality of our materials but on the quality of the workmanship and, as you all know, Guillotine prides itself on providing a luxury product to our discerning clientele.
We hope you will feel elated and proud when you wear your gilet and treasure and remember the skill and craftmanship that has gone into each garment.
Cut a dash in a Guillotine England Gilet!