The video above shows the key aspect of quality control at most weaving houses. Workers quickly scan the cloth for faults, then either snip off the stray end or – much more laboriously – manually reweave the thread back in.
The latter is a intricate and absorbing process. Although done at speed, a worker can’t miss a single error and has to concentrate in a very different way from the people staffing the looms, warping machines and other mechanicals around them. And block out all the noise.
Perhaps surprisingly, quality control is often a key thing that separates luxury producers from more run-of-the-mill manufacture (no pun intended). They put so much emphasis on quality that they can’t afford to make a mistake. And the cost of the raw materials is a big factor – if the ultra-fine cashmere is worth a hundred pounds per metre, it’s worth someone spending a long time repairing it.
The second video, below, shows a very different process: automated embroidery machines (both are from Begg scarves, Ayr). Interestingly, the two processes could not be more different in their application, yet are the most efficient means to do their job.
This is key for me: as discussed at length on the Sunspel post, quality is what I care about most, and I have no patience for brands that push the age or beauty of their processes, yet will not discuss their efficacy. If the same shape could be achieved in the chest of a bespoke suit by machine-padding it, I’d prefer that. If a machine-sewn buttonhole were more attractive and longer-lasting, ditto. A few years ago a machine was launched that could link the toe of a sock just as well as by hand; yet some brands still emphasise the fact that their socks are ‘hand-linked’.