Our Weaving Looms
Many firms boast about their shiny, fast, and modern equipment. We beg to differ. We're proud that our oldest looms are around a century old. Our single width machines started life as pedal looms, onto which we bolted simple motors to save our weavers' legs!
At D.C. Dalgliesh we use only traditional production methods - for good reason. We're not luddites. It's not to save money. The reason is that authentic tartans can only be produced on traditional shuttle looms. And that's something we care deeply about.
Why we use only Flying Shuttle Looms
Most tartans today are woven in large factory mills on high-speed 'rapier' or 'jet' looms. These take their name from the method used to inject yarn rapidly, from one side only. They are cheap to operate, as they can feed weft yarn constantly, and can be computer controlled.
The problem with that process is that each weft (sideways) thread must be cut on each side, leaving a stray end. This loose thread is then 'tucked in' to the fabric to prevent immediate fraying. The inevitable result is a less atractive thicker and rougher edge. And these threads can also work loose during wear, leading to fraying or an unsightly finish.
We use only traditional looms, which pass a wooden 'flying shuttle' backwards and forwards. These looms are much slower, and must regularly stop to allow the weaver to replenish or change the bobbin pirn inside the shuttle that holds and dispenses the yarn. But it means the weft yarns loop backwards and forwards, never needing to be cut. These shuttle looms give all our cloth the 'natural' edge (or 'kilting selvedge') that needs no hem.
This is vital for an authentic kilt. The bottom of the kilt retains its distinctive cut-edge look, as proper kilts have always had. A kilt which has been hemmed, or produced from a tartan with a so-called 'tuck-in' selvedge, will never look quite the same to a true lover of quality and tradition.