I have been longing to have a go at the idea of combining handwoven fabric with a bold print to make a simple summer dress.
I chose a variegated cotton yarn and a cotton chenille yarn to be my weft and I wove 2 picks (rows) of each yarn for the entire length of the weaving which was 185″ x 13″ (470cm x 33cm) .
In the warp I used a mixture of cottons and ribbon yarns which were threaded through a variable reed. This gave me a 10dpi (40/10cm) for the fine cottons, a 7.5dpi (30/10cm) for the DK cotton and a 5dpi (20/10cm) for the ribbon yarn and these were all in the heddle of my 16″ (40cm) rigid heddle loom.
I chose a modern flower print for the skirt and I was really pleased with the way the different colours appeared in both the warp and the cotton fabric but as the weft was very blue I hoped that it would not dominate the overall effect of the weaving. This is always something to consider. How will the weft change the warp colours in a balanced weave?
I used a simple pattern to construct the upper part of the dress in the handwoven fabric and added pleats to the bottom part of the dress in the cotton material to give some movement. The whole garment is a loose fit and slips comfortably over the head so no zips or buttons to insert which makes for very easy sewing.
The front seam was covered with a tab using the same material as the skirt and then finished with gingham buttons to link it all together. I hope you can see from this picture how the variable reed gives the different setts across the width of the fabric. It is a very clever piece of kit but can be tricky to use if the warp yarn in the wide spaces (larger sett) is too bouncy. Proceed with caution!
I look forward to warmer weather and wearing my new dress. Happy weaving