Factory Visit: Teviz

Flannel, a fabric noted for its cozy, breathable, furry texture, is among the first things with which we all fall in love. As comforting as a mother’s heartbeat, a flannel blanket was likely one of the first cloths with which we came into contact upon being born.

When I dream of the perfect fabric, nothing compares to the feel of flannel, and no one makes flannel quite like the Portuguese. While working in New York for an outdoor adventure outfitter, I had the unique opportunity to meet the design team, flown in expressly for our benefit. When I learned one of the designers had flown to Portugal to research and work with the finest flannel mill in the world to make a new line of shirts using vintage or vintage-inspired plaids and patterns, I took note. Doing a little digging, I discovered she must have been referring to Teviz.

Teviz is a family-owned, family-operated mill in the north of Portugal, situated in a valley, the Vale do Ave. They have been churning out the softest cotton fabrics in the world since 1935. If I were to inherit any library in the world, I wish I could inherit theirs. Each year’s collection of plaids and patterns is collected into large, leather-bound books used for reference for years to come.

Special thanks to Miguel Ramalhão, who learned about Teviz from my Twitter, and felt compelled to take a camera to the factory for a terrific post of his own.

A few years after meeting that designer, I found myself working for a shirt manufacturer where I assisted in the selection of fabrics for some of the fall shirting. When I learned Teviz was under consideration as a flannel source, recalling my encounter, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit with Teviz’s Manuel Pires. He lugged one of their big books to New York for our meeting. It was from the mid-1960s. I discovered in that book several unique, vibrantly colored plaids and patterns. I’d died and gone to Textile Nerd Heaven. When Manuel explained all that he could make with what was sitting in front of me, my mind was flooded with ideas: the hairiest of flannels would be reserved for fabrics dyed tartans of the Stewart Clan and the Black Watch, a flatter nap for a crazy collection of  multi-colored prints, and a square weave of chamois cloth in subdued earth tones. The Portuguese have made flannel fabrics for every reputable manufacturer in the world, and the best of the best go to Teviz.

Last fall, when we were presented with the chance to work with Taylor Stitch on shirts for Buckshot Sonny’s, I dredged up my knowledge of this magnificent material, and we worked with the California dudes at TS to put together the Yosemite Shirt, our take on the classic chamois. You can imagine my satisfaction in learning that the shirts no sooner launched and they were sold out. While it is my hope we’re able to rely on more fabrics from my favorite mill in the future, it made me so happy to introduce Taylor Stitch to the wonders of Portuguese flannel.

For the unordained, you’ll have to wait for the fall, when it’s my hope we’re able to offer some iteration of these terrific shirts once again.

Special thanks again to Miguel Ramalhão for posting photos of the Teviz facilities. May I be lucky enough to travel to Portugal one day to see their craftspeople at work, and of course, to meet you, Miguel. Obrigado.