Frequently Asked Questions

What is tweed?

Tweed is a natural fibre textile, woven with a soft, open weave and made from wool. The word Tweed derives from the Scots word Tweel or twill, a type of weave common to the cloth.


HARRIS TWEED is a tweed from yarn which is dyed and spun in the Scottish Outer Hebrides and woven by hand in homes of local crofters.

Where is the Isle of Harris?

The Isle of Harris is located in the far north west of Scotland on the edge of western Europe. It is part of long chain of small islands called the Outer Hebrides.

Why is tweed from Lewis, Uists and Barra also called HARRIS TWEED?

While originally established in Harris, the same skilled methods of weaving of tweed were also historically conducted throughout the neighbouring islands. As demand rose, weavers from these areas began to contribute to production with equally high standards and were recognised as makers of HARRIS TWEED too.

What is the Harris Tweed Authority?

The Harris Tweed Authority is a legal body with powers under law to protect and defend the reputation and historic production methods of HARRIS TWEED. Only tweed that bears the Authority Orb Mark can be deemed to be genuine HARRIS TWEED.  The Harris Tweed Authority do not produce the HARRIS TWEED or any of the items made using it.

Who are the main HARRIS TWEED companies?

The three main companies producing HARRIS TWEED are Harris Tweed Hebrides, The Carloway Mill and Harris Tweed Scotland.

Who weaves the Harris Tweed?

HARRIS TWEED is woven by the crofters of these islands, always by hand and in their own homes, often a small weaving shed beside their residence.

How many patterns are there?

Thousands! The possibilities are almost endless but there are over 4000 commonly used patterns and colour combinations in the pattern books.

What kind of looms are used?

There are two types, the older single-width Hattersley loom and the modern double-width Bonas Griffiths loom. Both are powered by manual foot treadles.

Is HARRIS TWEED really woven by hand?

Yes! Every single metre. The loom mechanism is powered by foot and the hands tie, work and repair the cloth as it is being woven.

Who invented HARRIS TWEED?

While the crofters of the Outer Hebrides have always woven tweed, the credit for the name HARRIS TWEED probably lies with Countess Dunmore who finally brought the tweed to commercial markets.

Where can I get HARRIS TWEED?

All over the world. Please go to the Find Tweed pages and explore the possibilities.

How is HARRIS TWEED made?

It is a long and complicated process. Please go to the HARRIS TWEED pages and find out more.

If you have more questions about our islands, cloth or processes please email enquiries@harristweed.org for answers.

What does the serial number on my HARRIS TWEED jacket relate to?

The serial number on your HARRIS TWEED jacket label is used as an internal tracking device within the HARRIS TWEED industry. The label is applied after a manufacturer, tailor or designer has made their HARRIS TWEED garment. To find out more about the age of your jacket, it may be worth contacting the manufacturer or tailor. The Harris Tweed Authority is not able to provide historic or provenance details on individual garments.