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.
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.