Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vintage Ties & Recycled Wool Hats

I've been sorting through things in my sewing room recently and found some wool that I purchased several years ago plus a box of vintage silk ties.  Being between weaving projects, I decided to design a hat.  Not finding exactly what I wanted patternwise, I combined two hat patterns and used the ties for embellishing.  Here is the first one I made using three ties and three different fabrics.  On the side, I used the short end of one tie and added a vintage button. 

Some of the ties have wonderful patterns, and I love being able to use them as part of a contemporary accessory. 
The three fabrics I used for this hat (two solids and one heathery twill) are from skirts I found at the thrift store; the lining material is from one of them.
For the second hat, I used three wools that are mill ends from Pendleton Wools in Portland, Oregon.  I think I was there over fifteen years ago, so that tells you something about how long the fabric has been in my stash!  In fact, I don't remember what I planned to do with it.  I guess it was just meant to be made into a hat.
I especially like the red and black tie in this hat, and it still had a tiny paper tag attached with the original price, $3.50.  It's quite narrow, possibly from the 1960's.

Hat number three is almost finished, but since my iron chose today to malfunction, I'm at a standstill.  Quite exciting to be ironing, hear a loud pop, and then see smoke come out of the wall outlet!  My resident mechanic and electrician thinks I just need a new plug; I hope he's right.

So here's number three, in progress.
These are fun to make; combining the different fabrics and finding just the right ties and buttons to make the colors and patterns work together.  Wonder what else lies hidden in my sewing room that might be inspiring?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Turned Twill Profile Draft Pillows...Finished!

They're finished!  I'm very pleased with the way my pillows turned out.  The weave structure (turned twill) results in the opposite placement of color on the reverse, so I used it both ways on each pillow.  For example, notice the center square here in the first pillow; it's red on one side, wine on the reverse.

And here, in the second pillow, orange dominates on one side, red on the other.

In the third pillow the two dominant colors are gold on one side, red on the other:

I had a lot of trouble inserting the first zipper, and after tearing it out three times, I looked for an alternative and discovered how to insert an invisible zipper next to the welting.  I can't believe how clean and neat it looks!  The only thing visible along that edge is the pull tab.

Pretty slick!  And I'm very happy with the way the pillows coordinate with a quilt I have over the back of my sofa in the family room.  
Just what I was hoping for!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Handwoven Magazine Weave-Along Continues

I'm weaving a front and back for each of three pillows; six pieces total, and today started the sixth and final piece.

So far, I like this last pillow best.  The three weft colors are chocolate brown, wine, and eggplant which give a deep, rich tone to the pillow.

I hope to finish the pillow tops tomorrow; then I have about 48" of plain weave to do for the bias covered cording.  Can't wait to see how they look!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pieces of the Past Linen Tunic, Altered Couture Magazine

The summer issue of Altered Couture magazine includes an article I wrote about a reconstructed linen tunic I designed.  The tunic proved to be a perfect way to use some of the vintage textiles I've collected.  
Photo by Altered Couture
 I love the photographs at the beach; just right for California!

Photo by Altered Couture
I made the tunic a little over a year ago, and, in fact, wore it to my sister's birthday party last June.  Not with shorts, though!   I wore it with a long, white linen skirt. 

This issue includes a lot of fresh, colorful ideas for altering existing clothing.  An added bonus is that my niece, Lindsay, wrote two articles about children's clothing for the same issue.  How cool is that?!  A "family" issue!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Weave-Along Eight Harness Turned Twill

My loom is warped and threaded and I'm on my way.  While dressing the loom is not my most favorite part of weaving, there are elements of it I enjoy.  Here you see the warp chains sitting on top of the loom ready to be attached to the back beam.

The warp is six yards long; over 3400 yards sitting there!  I love to see it when it's all piled up like that.  It looks good enough to eat!

Here's the warp wound around the warp beam;
There's something very satisfying about seeing all those threads lined up precisely as they come off the warp beam and go through the heddles and the reed.

I started by weaving the lightest pillow top first:
And detail of the transition between the first and second colors where the two colors alternate for 32 picks.
 So far so good! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Weaving Today Weave-Along Profile Draft

I finished my sample for the pillows I want to weave based on the profile draft published on  I used three shades of red in the warp; a muted barn red, deep lipstick red, and a brighter, almost pinkish red.

I wove five sections, each with a different three-color combination, and it's amazing how different each looks depending on the interaction of the colors. 

 The three shown here are the ones I chose for the pillows.  Now, off to warp my loom!