Monday, March 18, 2019

Handwoven Garment Number Three

I’ve finished my second vest using Ngaire’s yardage.  This time rather than drafting my own pattern, I used an old favourite, McCalls 7407.  I have used this pattern before with pretty good success, so I thought I’d make my life easier.
I’ve again used decorative river stones to hold the pattern in place while I’m sorting out where the pieces will best fit.  I love this trick as it is much easier than pinning and unpinning each piece as you move them around.
This is a fully lined vest, so I did the same again with the lining.  I have a real beef with the linings that are available to me on the Island.  We have a very limited selection and sadly lower quality than what I would have wished for.
I will fast forward through all the sewing as it really was very straightforward and move on to where the real angst began.

I wanted to show that this was a truly handmade garment and there is no better way to do that than with embellishment.
My first thought was to make tassels on each side of the bodice.  My thought was to attach a cord and make a loop on each side and pull them over one another giving a loose tie.   Hmmmmm, no!
Then I thought I would make a tassel cord.
I used Bamboo 7 for the three strand cord and slip knotted it into a loop.  I made the tassel using the slip knot for the centre of the tassel.  Then using basic wrapping created the tassel.

The idea for the vest was to use buttons on each side of the bodice and loop the tassel over them to act as a closure.
Out came the button box and then I spent a blissful hour picking and sorting through them.  I became very nostalgic because this was something I did as a child, sitting on the living room carpet sorting away!
Buttons were chosen and the tassel was hung....nope, it didn’t work and it made the bodice sag.
My solution was cheap and cheerful, hook and eye closure.  Sometimes the simplest really are the best.
I think it worked well and it quietly makes sure that the neckline remains in place, showing off the nice scoop neck.
Our fashion show at the guild is next week and I feel really happy to be able to show all three of the garments made from Ngaires yardage projects.  This lovely Capelette, the Open Backed Vest and this vest.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Black Tencel Shawls in Eight Shaft Twill

Just before Christmas I got a commission for a shawl similar to one that I had woven but had recently sold.  The shawl was purple silk and a black Tencel warp with a favorite twill pattern called Frost Crystals.  I didn’t take any photos of it on the loom but here it is getting ready to be shipped.
It is always more economical to put on enough warp for two shawls than for just one shawl, so that's what I did.  I could have cut off the first shawl for the commission but I had enough time that I could weave both shawls at once.  I tried out a couple of weft colours in Tencel, a blue, gold and white.

I thought that the white was a little stark and the gold a little brassy and the blue OK but not quite what I had in mind.  Thankfully, I have another warmer gold colour called Straw, which I think works a lot better.
I was going to change the tie up and/or the treadling but I really do love this pattern, so I stuck with it.
When I start to twist the fringes I chose the number of threads in each bout and then make sure my math is right by flicking every other bout up onto the book that I am using as a weight.
The gold shawl has such a wonderful drape and the warm gold colour is quite stunning and dramatic. For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is a hardy orange called Flying Dragon (Poncirus trifoliata) and yes, that is snow behind it!

Monday, March 4, 2019

Silk Scarves Inspired by an Impressionist

I am still working through the bag of hand dyed silk warps that we dyed ages ago, they seem to multiply in the cupboard!  This time the warp has been dyed with streaks of pale blue and green but keeping some of the original white silk warp.
The warp reminds me of a Monet Waterlilies picture, so I continued with that inspiration.  I chose a favorite pattern, the network circles to represent the lily pads.  But, I quickly realized that I didn’t have the right shade of green to compliment the warp.
Luckily I had a really pretty blue Tencel that both complemented and highlighted the warp and allowed the pattern to shine through.  Now, the warp is resembling light sparkling off the water.
The finished scarf is lovely and oh so very subtle.  The drape and the flow of the scarf is very stream like.  For Sale. 

The next hand dyed silk warp is similar in colour to the first one.  For this warp I used a spray bottle to apply the dye.  The warp has streaks and dots of different intensities of blue.
I always seem to have to try a lot of wefts before I find what I am going to use.  The first testing of wefts are pale teal, pale blue and navy.  The top two wefts are too pale and the navy is a little predictable but it works.
The seconding auditioning I went with white, mid tone blue, grey and the same navy.  Nothing really works but the navy in my opinion.
For the second scarf I used the same threading and tie up as the first scarf but I changed the treadling.  The new motif could be little diamond shaped leaves, or little thumb prints.  Either way the pattern is quite lovely.
The finished scarf is very striking.  For Sale.

Final Garden Shot is some spring crocuses.  We thought that we had lost them last year to a foraging bunny but a few are still here.  They are a little bruised and battered due to either the deer walking all over them or the crows that insist on pulling them up this year.  I think that we will lift them this year and put them into the back garden as that is fenced and maybe they will survive.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Another Handwoven Garment

I may have caught a bit of a sewing fever, so onto another garment.  This is another one of Ngaire’s yardages that she wove in 2010, here is a link to the blog post about it.  It is a brightly striped twill gamp in 2/8 Orlec and 2/10 black Tencel.
My inspiration for this garment is this little vest that Ngaire wore when she was a teen.  It is an open front vest with no back, very simple and colourful.
To get an idea of the timeline for this....think MC Hammer!  Yup, we’re talking the early 90’s!
I had to create my own pattern and I made it in 2 sizes, small and medium (about size 12).  This was my first effort at pattern making and boy, did I learn a lot.
To work with the yardage I first stabilized it with black iron-on knit interfacing.  This step was absolutely necessary because as soon as I cut into the fabric it frayed like crazy.
This is the end result and I was pretty pleased that I got the pattern to match so well.
Now that I had the vest put together the problems started to rear their ugly head.   Hmmmm, young teen patterns don’t have shaping, yup I forgot the lady bumps!
 I have a work around to fix my slight gaping problem in the yoke area and I know it will work, but it won’t be pretty!  I am going to ease stitch some black elastic along the upper yolk and around the neck area and allow the elastic to gently give some shape.
I think it is going to look really good with my black knit jacket and a white shirt!  And the absence of a back will really cut down on the bulk.

Tulips on the table are a sure sign of spring!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Making a Handwoven Garment

In my last blog post I talked about the yardage I wove, but I didn’t tell you what it is going to be . . . a capelette!  The pattern is really pretty and looks fairly straightforward.  The pattern is New Look number 6007.
Cutting out the pattern pieces was a little tricky because the yardage was really quite thick.  So where I could, I cut out a single piece at a time, much easier on the hands.
I wussed out about sewing it (and using Mom's new machine), so Mom is doing the sewing.  Here is the back of the capelette and you can see the circular form of the garment beginning to develop. 
For the interfacing we went with a light pink 100% cotton; it was both cheaper and higher quality than the interfacing that we can get at our local store.  But the pink fabric is so tightly woven that it was seriously hard to push the pins in.  So using a trick that I picked up on The Great British Sewing Bee (did you know that a new season has just started after a four year hiatus?)  I used flat river stones to weight down the pattern pieces; it worked surprisingly well.
I am doing all of the ironing, so I get to iron the seams open flat and also use the new wooden point presser which is great for ironing into corners.  Mom picked up the point presser at the Guild Silent auction in December and it is a godsend on the collar.
The Judy is trying the capelette on at the end of the day.  We still have to add the interfacing pieces and collar, but it is starting to look like the photo on the pattern!
The capelette is a little shorter than expected, but exactly the length on the pattern. So instead of hemming the bottom of the capelette we decided to add satin tape to finish the edge and keep all the length.  It really adds a lot of interest, it is also a labour of love as Mom used the sewing machine to attach the right side but the inside side needs to be hand sewn so that there is no stitching to mar the satin ribbon.
I was surprised about how much of a mess the wool yardage made while sewing.  I had to vacuum every day to keep a handle on the bits of fluff.  The hardwood floors run the entire house so the little bits would end up in every darn room!
Finally finished, well mostly!  It is absolutely lovely and just what I was hoping for!  The belt isn’t quite done yet because it is going to be made from the same fabric as the capelette with the satin ribbon as an accent.  But, of course I ran out of ribbon and today is Family Day in BC so the fabric store is closed.  So just imagine it with a wider belt with a ribbon accent all around the edges.


Final Garden Photo is a lovely shot of the picture perfect snowflakes that we had last week.  These snowflakes came down while it was sunny and in large fluffy clumps that looked just like the fake snow in the movies.