Handwoven Double Weave Vest

The double weave cloth I designed, wove, and wrote about in a recent post was begging me to be made into something – a vest!  But because I’m somewhat sewing challenged, I called up my longtime friend and professional seamstress extraordinaire, Elisabet, to help me out.  She’s the one who sewed the woolen jackets I wrote about in an older post.

Elisabet grew up in Holland where her parents had a weaving business with several tapestry carpet looms, dobby looms and a jacquard loom at one time, weaving upholstery fabrics, tablecloths, and carpets.  The business is still being operated by her brother and his partner but only pile rugs are being woven now.  Elisabet came to the U.S. in 1982 and that’s when I met her.  She learned to weave at the age of 12 but when she came to the U.S. she started her own sewing business and is still making a living from it in Chester County, PA.  Her skills are excellent and her work is impeccable.  She also gives private sewing lessons.

I showed her the 20 inch by 2-1/2 yards long fabric hoping it would be enough for a vest.  After taking my measurements she assured me it would be enough but suggested that the more colorful side of the fabric would look more attractive on the outside of the vest, the opposite of how I imagined, but I liked the idea and agreed to do it this way.

The next step was choosing a style.  Elisabet showed me a few basic commercial patterns from her file.  We picked one, but she made some changes to it that I liked.  We kept the style simple so that the fabric would draw most of the attention and the style would help show it off.

After cutting out the pieces with a rotary cutter, Elisabet serged the raw edges with her overlock sewing machine before sewing them together.  She used seam binding for some of the finishing on the inside.  I did the crochet finish at the front openings.  Because the fabric was thick enough and had enough body to it, interfacing was not needed.

Here are images of the vest with details, followed by a short list of resources for handwoven wearables.

Handwoven Double Weave Vest, Pearl Cotton, 2010

1) Elisabet at work 2) inside finish detail 3) closure embellishment

For more information about making handwoven wearables, here are just a few of many recommendations thanks to the weavers from some of the online weaving groups:

  • Daryl Lancaster’s work is beautiful and she has self-published monographs on weaving and sewing topics.  Daryl’s blog has a link to her website where you can purchase the monographs.  She has also written a few articles for Weavezine.
  • Handwoven, Tailormade: a tandem guide to fabric designing, weaving, sewing, and tailoring, by Sharon D. Alderman and Kathryn Wertenberger, Interweave Press, 1982.
  • Clothing From the Hands That Weave, by Anita Luvera Mayer, 1984.
  • Fashions From the Loom, by Betty Beard, Interweave Press, 1980.
  • Weaver’s Wearables, by Virginia West, 1979.
  • Cut My Cote, by Dorothy K. Burnham, the Royal Ontario Museum, 1973.  (Simple, traditional garments of different cultures, fascinating and exquisitely presented.)
  • Articles in weaving magazines including some of Handwoven’s Design Collection booklets.

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16 Comments on “Handwoven Double Weave Vest”

  1. Nice job with the weaving and construction. I like your colors.

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Jenny. I should have mentioned in the list of resources that teaming up with someone who knows how to and likes to sew is also a way for a weaver to get a handwoven fabric made into something wearable. I will pass on to Elisabet your compliment on her construction of the vest.

  2. louise Says:

    great job!

  3. Judy Says:

    I love the vest! I have handwoven yardage that I have stored for a couple of years because I just couldn’t decide on a vest pattern. Now I’m motivated to get it out and make a vest. Could you tell us more about the crocheted edge and how you did it?

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Judy, I’m glad you’re motivated to make a vest too! The crocheted edge was easy to do: First of all, these front edges of the vest are clean selvedge edges not raw edges that were cut and would have needed extra finishing like serging. I did a blanket stitch first on these edges with a blunt needle threaded with the same yarn I used in the weaving and then did one row of single crochet through the blanket stitch, not through the fabric. You could just crochet right through the fabric but there’s less pull on the fabric if you crochet through the blanket stitch.

  4. Karen Says:

    The vest is beautiful. You have inspired me to try double weave! Could you tell what pattern you started with?

    • evasweaving Says:

      I’m not sure what the exact starting pattern was that Elisabet pulled out from her collection of patterns but I would recommend getting a commercial pattern packet that has multiple styles in it that you can choose from and alter if you want to. I have an old Simplicity packet with 6 different styles that are great to start with. Thank you, Karen, for your comment.

  5. Suzy Says:

    What a beautiful use of double weave cloth! I’m sure this is something that will be worn often. It’s so unique and magnificent! I, too, am inspired! Thank you1

    • evasweaving Says:

      Thank you, Suzy, for your comment. I clicked on the link to your website and was thrilled to read that you wrote a book about the Bauhaus artists: “Woven: A Bauhaus Memoir” by Suzanne Work Hokanson. I love them, especially Anni and Josef Albers. Back in college in the 70’s I took a course on color theory and it was mostly based on Josef Albers’ book, “The Interaction of Color” and it has been my inspiration for the way I design with color in my weavings. I am going to order your book and can’t wait to read it!

  6. elizabeth Says:

    Hello!!! I saw it at lizzys…touched it, oood and awed over it…a beautiful piece of work…loved every inch of it. Thanks for sharing..

    • evasweaving Says:

      Hi Elizabeth! Lizzy (Elisabet) told me you saw the vest while she was constructing it, thank you for stopping by at my place in cyberspace and saying such nice things.

      In case anyone is wondering, I have two friends named Lizzy, both sew for a living, Elizabeth is a specialist in window treatments (curtains etc.) and Elisabet is a specialist in constructing garments. They both do beautiful work.

  7. buyathread Says:

    Eva, I just came up for air and saw your new vest. Elisabet’s skill did justice to your fabric, and the result is beautiful! You and Elisabet make a good team.


    • evasweaving Says:

      I’m glad you like it, Fern. Thank you so much for stopping by and for your comment!

  8. What a beautiful vest!! The fabric and the design of the vest go together beautifully.

    We just had a program on doubleweave at our guild. I’m quite intrigued by it.

    I’m glad that you explained how your crocheted on the edges. I want to do something like that on a particular scarf and I haven’t been quite sure how to approach it. (Not helped by the fact that I don’t know how to crochet yet!!)


    • evasweaving Says:

      I’m so happy you stopped by, Sue! Doubleweave is intriguing and can be done in many different ways. As for crochet, it comes in handy for finishing edges nicely, you can learn the basics easily from any beginner’s book or article on the subject. And thank you for your comment, I really do appreciate it.

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