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Crewel Fabric - Coromandel Crewel

Coromandel Crewel is a specialist weaver still making in the traditional way to provide authentic fabrics for period properties.

Crewel fabric is made by hand-embroidering dyed wool onto a plain fabric base such as linen. The earliest and most recognisable example of crewel is of course The Bayeux Tapestry.

I came across Coromandel Crewel when they got in touch with me to work with a client of theirs in a period property. I was blown away when the fabric arrived to see how it was made:

Each batch is commissioned in small runs of only 250M and take 5 months to complete.

The back cloth is loomed by hand and it takes around 15 hours to make a run of 10m.

There are up to 130,000 individual embroidery stitches in each metre alone and embroidering a single metre takes between 5 and 7 days!

Coromandels designs reflect its early English heritage from Tudor & Jacobean times and their customers include period property owners, many of whom are members of the Historic Houses Association, the Listed property Owners Club and the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings.

When working with the fabric it was really interesting to get a feel for how older fabrics must have been to work with. I was unused to working with a fabric pattern that was ever so slightly different at each repeat and the back cloth was more flexible than usual. It took more time to pattern match and the thickness didn't allow for sharp creases at the hems and side turns.

Heading alterations in Crewel Fabric

However once I had gotten used to the way the fabric behaved it was a real pleasure to work with and for all of these reasons, the fabric creates a completely authentic curtain.

Crewel fabric curtains made for a clients bedroom

Although many of Coromadel's customers are using crewel in traditional houses, there is certainly an increasing demand for more natural products in newer buildings; being made up of 100% natural fibres and entirely handmade crewel could provide a great alternative to mass produced, synthetic fabrics.

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