Welsh Wool

Vintage Welsh wool selection | H is for Home

Our last blog featured the characteristic designs of mid 20th century German pottery and how it captured an era. Another favourite of ours, with an equally distinctive look, is Welsh wool with its astounding range of colours, patterns and textures.

Welsh wool detail | H is for Homeclaret & cream

Welsh wool coat detailvibrant orange & olive green

Welsh wool detail | H is for Homeshades of coffee

A number of mills have produced these high quality textiles over the years and in some cases still do. A couple of good examples producing traditional Welsh wool tapestry are Trefriw Woollen Mills and Solva Woollen Mill.

The distinctive designs are not ‘tapestry’ in the truest sense of the word but are, in fact, double woven cloth producing a pattern on both sides.

Mills manufactured textiles for sale by the length and also produced their own range of homewares including blankets, throws, cushions, place mats etc.

Vintage Welsh wool coasters in original packaging | H is for HomeTapestry drink coasters

In addition, these textiles were purchased wholesale by fashion manufacturers including Gwydir Garments, Dwyryd Clothes, Coracle Clothes, Gannex and many more.

Vintage Welsh wool zipped jacket | H is for Home Vintage Welsh wool zipped jacket | H is for Home

The cloth was then made up into coats, jackets, capes, waistcoats, skirts, belts, hats, handbags and purses.

Vintage Welsh wool handbag | H is for Homevintage handbag

Vintage Welsh wool skirt & waistcoat suit | H is for Homeskirt & waistcoat suit

The 1960s were undoubtedly the heyday for Welsh wool. Nothing screams the 60s quite like a Welsh wool tapestry cape, mini skirt and knee-high boots. In fact, Mary Quant was known to make trips to Wales to source fabric for her fashion house.

Welsh wool cape and handbags | H is for Home

However, recent designs by Melin Tregwynt have really moved things on once more and are much loved by contemporary interiors magazines. Whether it’s this modern look or the vintage pieces, these textiles look fantastic in the home.

Vintage orange & green Welsh wool coat on stick back chair | H is for Home

The green and orange colourways look amazing with dark woods such as teak and rosewood, the bright pinks zing against white acrylic and browns & creams lift rustic pine with a bit of subtle colour and texture.

Welsh wool place mat with Cathrineholm kettle | H is for Home

There are obviously no rules though, and the range of colours and patterns allows for great fun and flexibility.

Quality vintage pieces remain affordable and, having been out of favour for a few years, are being appreciated once more.

A creeping rejection of the cheap and mass-produced, the recognition of hand-crafted objects and the use of natural products stands Welsh wool in good stead for the future.

Vintage Welsh wool handbag | H is for Homevintage handbag

Vintage Welsh wool handbag | H is for Homevintage handbag

3 thoughts on “Welsh Wool

  1. Hi
    I found your blog when I was checking sites that linked to ours. Thanks for your interest in Welsh fabrics and I agree with you about the future demand for quality products. People like to find authentic products with a story attached to them.
    We have a customer in Japan who originally came to us because he'd found a vintage designs of ours in Portobello Market in London. Since then we have supplied companies like Comme des Garcons and Muji with traditional Welsh designs. Thanks again for your interest.

  2. You have recorded some lovely 1960's patterns and colourways, some of which are from Trefriw Woollen Mills. I like to collect and record old Welsh bedspread patterns and the more recent "tapestry" by the metre patterns but sadly it is difficult to find where they were woven.

    Elaine Williams, Trefriw Woollen Mills Ltd.

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