Saturday, February 25, 2012

Transparency with a Twist

Handwoven transparency is a technique typically used for window coverings or room dividers, but I just finished designing a top using the transparency inlay technique.
 The transparent quality is more evident in this photo of the back where you see the camisole underneath.
Linen or other 'sturdy' fibers are the traditional choice for warp and weft, but  wanting something soft that would be suitable for clothing, I chose tencel which I love for it's silk-like hand and drape. The inlay was done with a variegated rayon boucle. Some of the motifs are solid squares while others are open in the middle.
I used a commercial pattern for the top - Butterick 5948 - which was a pleasant change after the time-consuming task of making my own pattern for the last garment I made.
I changed a couple things on the pattern - 3/4 length sleeves instead of short or long, and I bound the edges with bias cut linen. My woven fabric involved quite a bit of special handling, so the "two hour" tag definitely didn't apply! Maybe I'll try the pattern again with commercial fabric - it would be fun to see if it really takes only two hours!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Diversified Plain Weave Tote Bag

Diversified plain weave is typically woven with two sizes of thread, one being four or five times as heavy as the other. While sampling for a vest I plan to weave in diversified plain weave, I wondered what would happen if the two threads were closer in size.  I wove another sample with the thinner thread about half the weight of the other.  The result is this tote bag.
 Here is a photo of the fabric on the loom,
  and a close up of the weave structure.
 It's always interesting to see what happens to the fabric when it's wet-finished.  These yarns are cotton, so they shrink quite a bit and bloom when washed. This photo was taken after washing, drying, and pressing. You can see how the shapes in the cloth become more defined.
The fabric for the handles and top edges was woven on the same warp, different treadling. You see it here in a shot of the inside of the bag.
The pattern I used for the bag is a Japanese design (featured on the cover) from the book "Carry Me; 20 Boutique Bags to Sew". 
From the book: "Designed with shopping at flea markets and antique fairs in mind, this bag is especially roomy. Its deep side slits allow the bag to open wide, accommodating anything you want to toss in there." I guess it's time to head to the flea market!