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
This month Sarah takes centre stage in her new dungarees. Made from 100% cotton yarns the fabric was woven on a 20″ (50cm) rigid heddle loom using a 10dpi (40/10cm) reed threaded every hole and slot.
The handwoven fabric measures 18″ x 244″ (46cm x 620cm) and Sarah’s pattern fits neatly onto this length, making use of the selvedges and creating very little waste. The patch pockets are turned on their side to create the contrasting stripe.
The front patch pocket and the shoulder clips give these dungaress a very traditional look and combined with their loose, casual fit they are a joy to wear.
This new pattern #GW TR005 is now available from Sarah’s etsy shop along with many other exciting designs especially made to fit onto narrow widths of handwoven rigid heddle weaving.
etsy.com/uk/shop/GetWeaving We do hope you enjoy wearing your handwoven fabrics with pride. Happy Weaving
With this glorious weather I decided to make a light weight pinafore dress using a favourite pattern from the Get Weaving range #GWDR007. This design only needs a 14″ (36cm) wide fabric and can be woven on many of the smaller rigid heddle looms.
I used a 7.5dpi (30/10cm) reed on my Ashford Knitters loom, threading every hole and slot and put on a wool and silk warp of 185″ (470cm) in length. I am quite short so this is enough fabric for my height but it would be very easy to weave a longer and wider length to fit a larger size which is one of the joys of this sewing pattern.
The weft uses two types of yarn, a commercial boucle with lots of bumps and lumps and a hand spun wool and alpaca yarn which I dyed with a blue, acid dye from Colour Craft .I used two picks of each yarn, beating gently to give a balanced weave and to allow the boucle to pop through to the surface. The fabric was washed and line dried before cutting out. I had enough fabric to make an all essential pocket on one side!
This pattern is a nice easy fit with plenty of room for a tee shirt or jumper underneath. I like to line my wool dresses to help them hang well but you can use bias binding around the sleeve and neck area just as easily, especially if the dress is made from linen or cotton.
You can find out more about Sarah’s wonderful sewing patterns by going to her etsy shop. etsy.com/uk/shop/GetWeaving Happy weaving everyone
This winter I thought it would be fun to weave some blankets on the rigid heddle loom using my hand spun wool for the weft and a commercial wool warp.
I used up all the left over colours from a dyeing day, spinning them onto one bobbin and then plying them with a mixture of blended red wool so that the overall colour was warm and cosy. I used the full width of my 20″ (50cm) rigid heddle loom with a 5dpi (20/10cm) reed threading every hole and slot.
The warp was 165″ (419cm) long and 20″ (50cm) wide. After cutting it off the loom and securing the cut edges with a machine stitch I gave it a good wash and a line dry where it flapped about vigorously. I then cut the length into two halves and hand stitched these together using the same yarn as the weft with an over hand stitch.
The cut edges were then bound with a velvet ribbon, machine stitched on one side and hand stitched on the other, giving it a lovely luxury feel.
I was so pleased with the results that I made another one in quieter colours using a commercial wool and silk warp and a hand spun wool and alpaca weft. This time I bound the edges with a satin ribbon. The rigid heddle loom is really so versatile and with a good range of heddles to choose from and a wide variety of yarns it is possible to weave so many different fabrics with different uses.
Keep warm and cosy and Happy Weaving!
This year I thought it would be fun to update my Christmas furnishings with some new handwoven cushions using the pick-up-stick with my rigid heddle loom to create some Scandinavian type patterns.
To create the patterns first place the heddle in the down position, then working behind the heddle insert a stick (a long shuttle or ruler works well) under a set number of warp threads. This can be any combination such as two up, two down as in the pictures.
The patterns appear when the pick-up-stick is turned on its side, lifting up the extra warp threads to create spaces for the weft to pop through. With several rows of plain weave in the background the floats are held securely in position.
Varying the thickness of the wool weft will give a good contrast with the background yarn. These three patterns were created by inserting the pick-up-stick under different combinations of warp threads. The yarn is pure wool, bought on cones at Wonderwool this April in Wales. The cushions were all woven on a 20″ (50cm) Ashford Knitters Loom using a 7.5 dpi (30/10cm) heddle. I used the iron-on-woven interfacing along all the edges before inserting the zips.
I cannot tell you how much fun this is to do! It is so simple and the patterns just grow before your eyes. I love the contrast here between the red and the white background. For more information about the patterns look for a lovely book called Textures and Patterns for the Rigid Heddle Loom by Betty Linn Davenport. There is also some reference to this method in The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. Give it a go. I think you will love it!
Now the days are cooler it is good to be wearing an extra layer and this simple tunic, made from cotton and viscose yarns feels just right. Woven on the 20″ (50cm) rigid heddle loom using a 7.5 dpi (30/!0 cm ) reed the warp is made up of cotton, viscose and ribbon yarns threaded on to the loom in a random stripe.
The weft is a cotton ribbon tape which is lovely to use as it weaves up really quickly and produces a soft but robust fabric which holds its shape and is nice to wear. We have used one of Sarah’s Get Weaving patterns #GWDR007 to create the tunic pieces. These patterns have been especially designed to fit onto narrow widths of handwoven fabric.
Once the fabric was cut out we used the Woven Iron-on Interfacing on all the cut edges before overlocking the raw edge. This guarantees that the fabric will not fall apart at any time! The seams were topstitched for a flat finish. As the fabric was so flexible there is no lining used in this version making it a perfect top for jeans and tee shirts. This and many other sewing patterns designed for fabrics woven on the rigid heddle loom are available from etsy.com/uk/shop/GetWeaving
Woolfest, hooray! Day two and we remembered to ask our fellow stall holder, the lovely Sew Sister to take our picture on the stand before the doors opened. It was great to meet so many enthusiastic rigid heddle weavers and to see what you had made.
I am always amazed that from the humble beginnings of a cattle market, still wet from the mornings livestock sale this vibrant and colourful show of all things woolly emerges. We had a brilliant spot this year and armed with cable ties and calico soon had the stand ready for action.
Really popular this year were the Get Weaving sewing patterns which are designed by Sarah especially for the narrow widths woven on the rigid heddle looms. We also had our three weaving books which show the many different weaves and colour combinations that you can achieve with just plain weave using the rigid heddle loom with it’s many different reeds. There is a good selection to buy now from a 15dpi down to a 2dpi which is great fun and lets you weave with all sorts of art yarns.
We bring a good selection of garments all made from handwoven fabrics as examples of the Get Weaving patterns so that people can try them on. Sometimes we even sell the odd item! The green pinafore dress (pattern DR009) has been a great success this year and I can’t wait to weave a linen version for the summer.
This is Sarah’s weaving on the Ashford 20″ (50cm) using the 15dpi reed and mercerised cotton from the Ashford range of cotton yarns. The weft is a wool and silk handspun singles spun on her Louet Victoria. It is going to make a wonderful piece of fabric just right for the pinafore dress. Spinning the weft to weave with a commercial warp is a great way to begin weaving with the rigid heddle looms and one of our favourite ways to make exciting fabrics for clothing. As always, Happy weaving.