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.
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. etsy.com/uk/shop/GetWeaving
Happy weaving to you all. Elisabeth and Sarah
This month we are show casing Sarah’s new bias cut top. This is a new sewing pattern featuring clever cutting to make the most of the narrow widths of handwoven fabric.
The warp is a cotton yarn in four colours, randomly threaded through a 15dpi reed using every hole and slot of the heddle.
To compliment the soft colours of the warp Sarah spun a singles of silk and plyed it with a singles of carded, hand dyed cotton to create a yarn with lots of texture.
The hand spun weft gives a lovely texture to this plain weave while the randomly threaded warp yarns give no definite stripe, just a nice heathery mixture of colours. This is one of the joys of the rigid heddle looms that they allow you to play with colour and texture and let beautiful yarns show off to their best.
This has proved to be such a versatile pattern that Sarah has made it up in several different colourways and yarn textures. Easy to wear and flattering to all figures the clever construction allows the narrow widths of the rigid heddle to come into their own.
This and many other versatile patterns are available from Sarah’s etsy shop at the address below. We hope this will inspire you to try weaving a good length of fabric with beautiful yarns on a rigid heddle loom and enjoy the thrill of making your own garments from handwoven fabrics. Happy weaving.
Indigo blue, the colour of a summer sky seems just right for these light weight trousers woven from handspun cotton, linen, silk and soya bean fibres.
The warp yarns are a mixture lurex, cottons, linens, ribbon and a wonderful, over twisted boucle! By using each of these yarns in small amounts across the warp they work happily together when under tension. Remember always to use same yarn for each selvedge to ensure that they all pull evenly.
Woven on a 20″ (50cm) rigid heddle loom with a 7.5dpi (30/10cm) reed the weaving is quite open and airy. After washing the fabric and line drying on a windy day the fabric blooms and the natural fibres swell to fill the gaps giving you a lovely light fabric with good drape.
My sewing pattern fits exactly onto my hand woven length. Lay out each piece of pattern on single thickness fabric to make sure it all fits exactly. After cutting out use the WOVEN IRON ON INTERFACING on all the cut edges before overlocking or zig zagging to secure the loose threads. This makes sewing very simple and will give all your seams great strength.
Sarah has designed her own collection of patterns to fit onto narrow widths of handwoven fabric and this trouser pattern comes in a several sizes and incudes three different styles. Her patterns are available on her etsy shop.
There is also a trouser pattern in our GET WEAVING book on page 20 with instructions on weaving the fabric, laying out the pattern and construction.
Indigo, with all its varied shades gives such a soft look and it is so nice to use natural fibres at this time of year. The tee shirt above was also dyed with indigo and woven on the rigid heddle loom with two picks of cotton and one of fabric that has been cut into strips after dyeing. The instructions and pattern for this top is also in our book GET WEAVING on page 16 and is available from Sarah’s etsy shop.
We hope you will feel inspired to add trousers to your handwoven wardrobe and enjoy the pleasure of weaving with natural fibres at this time of year. Happy weaving to you all from Sarah and Elisabeth.
We hope you will feel inspired to add trousers to your handwoven wardrobe and enjoy the pleasure of weaving with natural fibres. Happy weaving from us both. S and E
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!