Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ruff Two

Technically, this piece shouldn't be in this blog because it's not sewn, but since it's my blog, I'm putting it here anyway.  The piece was inspired by the Elizabethan lace collars called "ruffs" that you see in paintings from the era.    I made a piece called Ruff One a long time ago, and I always meant for it to be one of a series, but then never got around to making any others.  So finally, with the creating of this piece, I have Ruff Two!

Those lace collars have starched lace arranged into a compressed sine curve shape, creating "pockets" all around the outer edge of the collar.   They even had bullet shaped irons that they used to insert into the pocket in order to iron out any wrinkles.

To weave such a thing is pretty straightforward.  I created a double weave to create the pockets at the edges, and put a bit of leno lace on the top side of every other pocket.   In addition I incorporated a dense area around the neck with a ruffle.    The warp was a sport weight white wool, the dense area was 30 gage copper wire, and the weft was all copper.  Once off the loom, I added heaver copper wire "springs" to hold the pockets open as I envisioned that they should be.   These springs are just pieces of copper wire folded into a "V" and inserted into each pocket.

I also wove some pure copper tabby ribbons before and after the wool weaving, and these ribbons of copper form the part that you see running down the center front.

Ruffles and pleats jacket

This jacket is one of my latest 3D weaving, inspired by an old Simplicity pattern .   It was off the loom for awhile before I figured out how exactly to proceed.  The top part, i.e., the cape, the pleats on the yoke and the ruffled collar, was all woven in one piece.   The warp was a light blue rayon and the weft was a reddish-eggplant linen, except for the double weave section.   A double weave using both threads colors created the pleats, and once the 3D part was done, the  linen threads were removed so that the warp was all one color for the flat weave part of the jacket.   Removing half the threads on one part of the warp was a bit tricky, but they were on different sets of shafts so that helped. 
The whole piece required 24 shafts:  8 for the background twill, 8 for the background twill sections between the pleats, 4 for the pleats themselves, 2 for the tabby selvage threads on each side, and finally, 2 for the "dense area".   "Dense area" is a term that I use for the tabby section of the warp in which the shed is opened  and left open for anywhere from 16 to 50 picks.  That lays the weft threads next to each other allows me to pack them together at some point, creating the woven-in ruffles.

A major challenge with this piece was how to attach the body of the jacket to the 3D cape part, and how to line it.   Should I attach it at the collar?  That seemed to add unnecessary balk and weight.   Instead of a cape, should I incorporate that part of the weaving into the sleeves and the body of the jacket?  That wouldn't really work because the cape wasn't large enough and would have required a lot of piecing under the arms, etc.

I finally realized that I could cut the body of the jacket in such a way as to attach it at the end of the pleats, and, I could also start the lining at the same place.  This meant that I could make the body of the jacket, line it, and then hand stitch it onto the inside of the cape at the end of the pleats.
From there it was just a matter of figuring out the order in which to sew all the seams and how to make a closure.   I like prowling around antique stores and I always buy old belt clasps and the like.   I happened to have one that had rhinestones and was a hook and eye type closing. But, since some of the stones were missing, I removed all the stones and mixed up some two part craft epoxy that I colored to match the cloth, using pixi dust.   The epoxy filled in the holes like enameling and made the closing match the cloth.   There are also a couple of regular hook and eye closures on the inside of the jacket, where you can't see them.

All in all this was a difficult project in a lot of ways, but I'm happy with how it turned out.  I'm also glad it's DONE!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Bias cut wool jacket

This is a jacket that I also wove over the winter.   The purpose here was to use up a bunch of bits of wool of various colors.   That worked, sort of.   I still have a lot of bits and pieces, but they are just smaller now. . . .  Once the weaving was done, I didn't like the idea of vertical stripes, and horizontal stripes were out of the question.  The solution was to cut the whole thing on the bias.

The pattern was a combination of two different patterns.   I liked the high neck on one pattern and the body from another.  And the bias cut presented the opportunity to create ruffles in the front and around the neck.   I finished the raw edges by sewing on a bit of blue ribbon on both sides and then added a tight zig-zag stitch to tie it all together.  Stretching the fabric as I sewed created the ruffles. 
But, to make sure that the ruffle creation didn't miss-shape the front, I first stitched in a separating zipper from the waist almost to the neck, and sewed in the lining.   That acted to keep the stretching that created the ruffles from elongating the body of the jacket.

Finally, I added a set of buttons to the back to make gentle pleats, which gave the whole piece a bit of shape in both the back and acted to pull it in a bit at the waist, which benefited the look from the front.

Cutting on the bias also meant that there were some good sized pieces left, and these will be used next winter to make more ear muffs.    I originally warped 6 yards, 27 inches wide.   Because I was using heavier wool than I usually do, the sett was 12 threads per inch.  The warp was an ivory wool, and I used about a cone and a half of that.   More left overs!

Ear Muffs

I've been weaving, but not blogging!   I wove some wool fabric over the winter and used some of the scraps to make a couple of sets ear muffs for holiday gifts.  But since I didn't want to build the under structure from scratch, I bought a couple of inexpensive ones, took them apart and covered them with my own fabric.   The inside is felt, and they are stuffed with quilting.   The pattern reminds me of Scandinavian sweaters.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Woven Sunburst Long Jacket

This is my most ambitious project to date.  The 3D weaving was ambitious, to say nothing of fitting the woven sunburst onto my custom designed pattern and then getting the tailoring to work despite the weird shape of the woven cloth!  A cloth trap was used for this bit of 3D weaving - a technique that was explained in a previous post titled 3D Ruffled Huck Lace Vest.

First I warped the loom with just under eight yards of 2/20 ivory linen, sett at 24 threads per inch.  I then wove approximately 5.5 yards of fabric in the usual way using a 10/2 light green weft.  Next, I added 48 warp threads (2 yards long) to the right side of the warp, sett at 48 threads per inch and with a double thread floating selvage. Nails were used for lease sticks since the yarn slips easily through them and I didn't need much width.  To tension this extra bit of warp, I weighted both ends.   Presto, I was ready for more 3D weaving!

I opened a tabby shed in the newly added section of the warp, and while leaving it open, wove 32 picks in the normal way.  Then, the tabby shed was changed and another 32 picks were woven.  In this way each color change in the sunburst was woven with 2 sets of 32 picks.  The tabby section, ends up looking a lot like a rep weave, as you can see in the detail below.

As a result of this weaving technique, the 3D fabric had a selvage of 54 inches on one side and 11 inches on the other.  The first 5.5 yards of fabric was, of course, used to make the jacket except for the right front panel.  A small semi-circular piece of fabric filled in at the side of the sunburst.  Silk lining was used and the button holes were hand finished with  matching warp yarn.

The pattern used for this jacket is the same one that  I used for the 3 Ruffle Pearl Vest, with the addition of sleeves.  Using my dress form, I designed this pattern in such a way as to be fitted but without the use of darts that would break up the weaving.