Last of the Summer Wine


Just before the summer winds down it is always good to weave some bright fabrics to carry you into winter. This tunic is a really simple shape with all four pieces of pattern the same size with no shaping or darts.  It slips easily over the head and can be worn with or without a tee shirt underneath.


For my warp I chose a mixture of cottons, silks and linens as well as a few fancy yarns with a shiny finish to add sparkle.  Mixing different yarns in the warp is fine as long as you remember the golden rule to always have the same yarn for both selvedge edges.  This way when you tension your warp it will pull evenly and you will have a good selvedge.


I wove this fabric on a 16″ (40cm) rigid heddle loom using a 7.5dpi (30/10cm) reed.  I needed a 140″ (356cms) plus 20″ (51cms) wastage so I made my warp 160″ (406cms) long, using each yarn randomly threaded so that the finished fabric would not be too stripy.  I used the full width of the reed so that after washing I would have just the right width for each piece of pattern.  I used a ribbon yarn and cotton yarns for the weft and wove 2 picks of each yarn, beating firmly but not too hard as I wanted to see a balanced weave (where both the warp and the weft show evenly).  Any small gaps or unevenness always disappears after washing the fabric so don’t feel you need to beat it down too hard!


After cutting out the fabric I always apply thin strips of iron-on woven interfacing before zig-zagging or overlocking around the cut edges.  This woven interfacing will give you complete security over any seams unravelling.  It also provides a smooth and flat surface for your sewing machine foot to glide over.


I like to overlay the front and back seams when constructing the garment to make the most of the selvedge.  This gives a nice flat finish which can be enhanced by top stitching using a large stitch.  No garment is complete without buttons!!  This is of course is my personal need so certainly not compulsory!   Finishing a garment is always fun and there can be so many ways to do this so take your time and see what suits it.


I do think a pocket is fairly essential with our modern day needs.  I usually line the pocket with a matching cotton fabric.  This gives it strength and hides all the raw edges.

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Here I have teamed up the dress with a pair of trousers made on the 20″ (50cm) rigid heddle loom using a 10dpi (40/10) reed and a mixture of fine cottons.

Do hope you will have some fun experimenting with yarns from your stash to make this very useful top.  Sarah has lots of patterns in her Etsy shop designed especially to fit onto narrow widths of handwoven fabric so do take a look.

Happy weaving to you all.  Elisabeth and Sarah

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