Tuesday, 16 September 2014


As London Design Week approaches and the fabric companies, amid noisy fanfare, collectively prepare to unveil their seasonal offerings, I find myself drawn to the quiet understated honesty of a simple weave pattern. The herringbone.

Or is it a chevron? Its hard to tell the difference, so some basic weave terminology needs to be unpicked. Hold onto your hats, because this gets complicated:

Twill weave is a pattern of parallel diagonal ribs (like denim, for instance) where the weft (crosswise) yarn floats over one or more of the warp (lengthwise) yarns and then under two or more of the warp like so:

Chevron weave describes a distinctive V-shaped pattern, where the sequence of twill weave is reversed forming a point at the base of the zigzag. Not to be confused with herringbone weave, where there is a break in reversal so that alternating diagonal lines form a broken V-shaped pattern:

Lastly strie is a dying technique where a subtle mottled striped or streaky effect is produced by random warp (lengthwise) yarns having been dyed unevenly in a variety of tones of the same colour before weaving.  Nowadays there are mechanical processes at the finishing stage of textile production that creates the same effect.

OK, the technical part of the lesson is over...but now look at this smart new fabric from Romo called Dante where the combination of strie dying techniques and a tapered chevron creates movement and light within the weave itself, and calls to mind leaves or ferns. Love it!

To complement a new collection of more flamboyant designs, Romo have created this subtle weave in 5 on-trend colours: a light and dark neutral, an indigo and two acid-brights.

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