Eileen Lee of MzFiber traveled to Reno this past week to present a program on making clothing from handwoven cloth. Eileen started weaving a few years ago on rigid heddle looms. Soon she was giving lessons and then forging ahead on a couple of 8 shaft looms. She is now interested in making clothing from her handwoven yardage and had all sorts of tips for our guild.
One of the first things that Eileen experimented with were shawls and the difficulty women have wearing them. They are constantly slipping off your shoulders and you always need one hand available to grip them. Eileen started with putting a button closure so that the shawl would be connected in the front or be worn off the shoulder. Then, she experimented with making ponchos by connecting two rectangles together with a knitted center piece. She found that men also loved to wear these and did some custom commission work for a male customer.
Eileen recommends simple patterns with a minimal number of pieces. Let the handwoven cloth shine and be the focal part of the garment and save more complicated patterns for commercial yardage.
Sometimes the intended use of a fabric, doesn't match Eileen's original vision. In the photo below, the blue apron was once a shawl. She didn't think that the stripe/plaid really made the cut as a shawl, so she turned it into this elegant apron (don't wipe your hands on this one☺)
|Two close colors of yarn in warp make fabric richer in appearance|
|A closely sett plain weave with a painted warp makes elegant fabric for a garment.|
|raw edge finishes for handwovens|
|interfacings, seams and buttonholes|
Guild members enjoyed Eileen's presentation and want to thank her for showing us her techniques and her handwoven creations. She has a Facebook page if you want to keep up with what is on her loom.