Welcome to Baltic Works

Baltic Works, our historic 12,600m² factory in North-East Scotland, has been home to Halley Stevensons since 1864.

Around the factory

Baltic Works is bursting with heritage, innovation and the will to create outstanding weatherproof fabrics. From our bustling research and development lab, to each piece of custom-built equipment, Baltic Works ensures our processes are all under one roof.

Baltic Works, The Lab

The Lab

Our laboratory is where the bulk of our research, testing, development, experimentation and innovation happens. With a focus on low-impact processing, our team work hard to create exciting new solutions every day.

Baltic Works, Singer

Fabric Singeing

The singeing process is used to burn-off long strands of cotton to give a cleaner fabric. Fabric singeing also helps to prepare the fabric for dyeing, by then running material through a bath with enzymes to break down the chemicals used during weaving. We then wrap this up and leave the fabric to spin, allowing the chemicals to take action.

Baltic Works, Dyeing Jig

Fabric Dyeing

Fabric is loaded into our dyeing jig and passes through a bath, between two rolls, which dye the fabric. The weight of the fabric determines the meterage we can dye — our standard products can be dyed at 2500m.

Baltic Works, The Calendar

The Calendar

The fabric runs in between a series of pressurised rollers to give a uniquely smooth finish to our fabrics. It can either be run hot or cold, dependent on the required finish.

Baltic Works, Sanforiser

Sanforising

The sanforising process is used to shrink the fabric to allow the fabric to be washed by the end user. It comprises two units, the shrinking unit and the drying unit. The sanforiser is used to determine the level of compressive shrinkage applied using a rubber belt, steam and mechanical pressure. 

Baltic Works, The Emeriser

Emerising

The emerising process is used to raise the fabric, giving a unique look and feel that is similar to suede. This is achieved by the fabric passing over one or more rotating, emery-covered rollers.
Baltic Works, Coatings

Coatings

Coatings are used to directly apply specialised finishes to our fabrics. The fabric passes through a set of rollers before the coating is poured on and allowed to set.

Baltic Works, The Stenter Oven

The Stenter Oven

This is where the fabric is dried. It runs down a long machine bed, passing through a series of ‘ovens’ that thoroughly dry the fabric. This machine is also used for applying some of our specialist finishing processes such as water-resistant coatings. These finishes directly impact the handle and aesthetic of the cotton.
Baltic Works, The Hot Waxer

Hot Waxing

The fabric runs through a bath of hot wax at approximately 80-90* — it then passes through a complex set of rollers to cool the wax down before being rolled onto a large frame at the other end. Different variations of wax from our lab can be applied to generate a huge range of handles, dependent on the end product.

Baltic Works, Tumble Drying

Fabric Drying

Fabric drying is essential in ensuring the materials are ready for distribution. The fabrics are passed through a large tumble drier where a mixture of heat and movement are used to complete the weather-proofing process.

The history of Baltic Works

The concept of waxed cotton was originally developed in the early 15th century by sailors. Scottish North Sea herring fleets operating from east coast ports began treating flax sailcloth with fish oils and grease to waterproof their sails, keeping them light and efficient. Remnants of these sails were used as capes to withstand the high winds and sea spray, keeping the sailors warm and dry. These capes were the forerunner to the fisherman’s slicker.

The east coast Scottish textile manufacturers, many of who had their own fleets of sailing ships, would bring in linen and flax from the Baltic’s, hence our “Baltic Works”.

With care and a commitment to innovation, sailcloth evolved and by the mid-1850s, was made from lighter-weight double-fold cotton yarns, treated with linseed oil. Early Royal Navy sailing ships and tea clippers were amongst the first to use these lightweight cotton sails, famously “The Discovery“, which still sits in Dundee’s port today.

However, linseed oils yellow and stiffen through weathering. Through this oxidation process, the oil would eventually lose its water-proofing qualities. This initiated further innovation and the development of alternative waterproofing compounds. In the years that followed, various treatments were applied to cottons in an attempt to find the most effective, and the combination of densely woven cotton, impregnated with paraffin waxed coating, proved the most successful. Our history of innovation has allowed us to create many different variations on this, resulting in a unique product offer.

These fabric constructions are still used at Baltic Works to this day, however, the wax treatments have been developed to give longer-lasting, waterproofing finishes. 

With over a 150 years of experience, we create many thousands of meters of waxed cotton every year, with each roll produced to custom specifications. The beauty of waxed cotton is its durability and longevity, it is built to last. The fabrics are breathable, the wax adjusting to ambient temperature to be softer/more breathable in warm weather and stiffer/windproof in cold conditions. The end user can maintain its proofing by applying wax into the surface, keeping it soft, supple and weather-resistant. 

The densely woven cotton is strong and reliable, while the finish ensures the fabric looks better with age. The wax naturally picks up marks and creases through use, which adds to the fabric’s character. Garments continually adapt to the wearers personality, creating unique, one-of-a-kind products.

Stock availability explained

The ‘HS Collection’ is a range of fabrics that are in continuous production and offered on an “off the shelf” basis in a choice of colours. Ideal for express developments and orders we hold substantial stocks of these articles and are committed to replenishing the fabrics within a 8 weeks (if not available at the time of order).

Please note, The HS Collection includes all articles previously available as ‘Stock Supported’ or ‘Regular Running’ lines.

Bespoke manufacturing allows you to fully customise our fabric. We can colour match to any pantone or colour of your choice which can be dyed onto any fabric in our collection with any finish we offer.

*Lab work is required to be processed (Leadtime 2 weeks) and approved prior to production.

**Minimum order quantities apply and production lead-times of (8weeks) applies.

This product is suitable for luggage

Can be made in styles such as backpacks, satchels, laptop cases, cabin bags and suitcases.

Waxed cotton fabric suitable for luggage
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This product is suitable for accessories

Can be made into accessories such as gloves, hats, caps and belts.

Waxed cotton fabric suitable for accessories
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This product is suitable for footwear

Can be made into styles such as trainers, tennis shoes, hi-tops, boots and brogues.

Waxed cotton fabric suitable for footwear
P140_OW_HybridAero_BW_6_1080

This product is suitable for apparel

Can be made into garments such as overshirts, jackets, coats and trousers.

Waxed cotton fabric suitable for apparel
P140_OW_HybridAero_BW_6_1080