Weaving Decisions


Last time I posted I was looking for your advice and opinions and I sort of knew what would happen before I posted but I was in denial.

What happened was that I got a whole bunch of opinions about how to proceed but nobody mentioned that they knew what would happen because they had done all of the experiments and compared them and they had results. I know that some of the answers were from experience but I’m not sure that they were from fabric that was being woven for yardage for a garment. The sett will be pretty close on this project and I wonder how that affects the results.

One problem with all of this is that every time I feel like I’m making forward progress or get the answer to a question, there are 5 new questions that need 20 samples made to get the answer. But let’s pretend I don’t have new questions and follow through on what the plan is for this particular skirt.

After much hemming and hawing and a little conversation with Sara Lamb, I’ve decided to change the plan.

The original plan was to make a lovely skirt that has lacing on the hip as a closure, a lovely ruffle around the bottom edge and also a bottom edge that is a bit longer in the back. Last fall I took the pattern for that skirt that had been made for me by my mom and laid it out on muslin to see how much fabric I would need for the skirt and how wide I would need the finished fabric to be. The result was I needed to weave at 36 inches wide (the full width of my Mighty Wolf) and I needed just under 7 yards. I was going to dress the loom with 10 yards to take into account the loom waste and a little sampling I wanted to do.

The new plan is a bit more complicated.

Remember, I was wondering how to finish the singles yarn I was going to use for weft and I had several options I was considering:

  1. No finishing at all – use the yarn right off of the bobbins on which it was spun.
  2. Blocked on a pvc niddy.
  3. washed and dried with no blocking

I actually have added one more option in which I wash the yarn and then smack it around a bit to full it and make the yarn a little stronger.

That’s 4 different options and I really do need to see what the affects of each will be.

So now, the new plan is a bit more involved. I’ve reworked my numbers. I’m going to warp the loom with 15 yards. The width on the loom will be 24 inches. I’m going to make 4 samples with the 4 different finishes. each sample will be 48 inches long so that I can cut it in half and finish one half the way I would finish the fabric and the other half will remain in its just off the loom state. It’s good to do that so you can see what changed in the finishing instead of trying to remember.

After all of the samples have been washed and fulled a bit I can make a decision about the fabric.

So, I have 15 yards. I lose about one yard to loom waste. I lose about 5 yards to the samples and so now I’m left with probably just under 9 yards after I tied on again. I think 8.5 yards of 21 inch wide fabric (allowing for some shrinkage in weaving and finishing) should be enough for a knee length gored skirt. I hope.

All discussion is welcome!


5 thoughts on “Weaving Decisions”

  1. Hi Beth, I’ve been following your progress on this and loving the details. I’m still trying to wrap my head around your calculations. So, let’s say your skirt length is 36″‘ you’ll have, in effect, 8.5 21″ wide panels around, or a whopping 178 inches. With gores, it will be much wider than that at the hem. Say 130 or so are taken from the waist area and turned around for the gores, now adding that to the hem, so over 300 inches in the hem. Am I understanding you correctly? I know you measured using a muslin, but that’s a heck of a lot of skirt. Could there be an error somewhere? Better to err on the side of too much, but had to ask. (I’ve woven loads of yardage)

    1. Beth

      Knew length is the shortest I want but I’ll make it ankle length if I can. I would love a long skirt. I just haven’t actually measured the revised plan on a muslin because I’m going to wait for the samples to be dune and the yardage off of the loom before I make and decisions.
      Another thing in the back of my head is wouldn’t it be lovely to have a dress with princess seams?

  2. very exciting to follow you progress with this – I love how you approach it in such a very academic way – you and we all with you will learn a lot… do you think your skirt will be ready for the PLYaway fashion show? (yes, I know it is a tall order) 🙂 – please keep us posted and thank you for sharing.

    1. Beth

      I would love to have it done by PlyAway. Fingers crossed!

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