Hand Sewing

Did you know that there is a “grain” to sewing thread? Yup. According to Daryl, you should always knot the end that you have just cut off the thread. That, along with waxing your thread, will minimize tangling while you are hand sewing.

And yes, I’m finally getting around to finish the hand sewing of my jacket.

Jacket Workshop

Yardage in daylight (Click to enlarge)

Here’s a picture of my yardage in daylight — just before I cut into it. I don’t have a picture of myself cutting into it. I procrastinated as long as possibly could. I love the way the fabric turned out. The color stripes remind me of a cascade of colored ashes from a fireworks display. Oh, and the actual fabric. It has absolutely gorgeous hand and drape.

After all that work on the yardage, I walked into the workshop and then dropped my jaw. It bounced a few times. I had forgotten to bring my yardage. Yes. After months and months of work, I forgot it.

I had packed the car with all the equipment, tools, and food for Daryl’s 3 day Jumpstart Jacket Workshop the night before. I left the yardage for the morning. I didn’t want to leave it in the car overnight. And the next morning? I drove away with the yardage still sitting by the front door. Sigh.

(Click to enlarge)

Okay. Onto the class. We only had 8 people in the class (instead of the typical 15). This meant that Daryl had more time to work with us individually to alter the pattern, not only for fit, but style that we want — casual, fitted, buttoned or open front, length, ease, everything. It was fabulous. Daryl was fabulous.

After all that stress about mistakes in my treadling and whether I had enough usable fabric to cut my pieces from, I had. And I have plenty to spare.

Once we got to sewing, she taught us how to apply a Hong Kong finish to all the raw edges. The finished garment will have no exposed raw edges. How fabulous is that?

I chose a fuchsia raw silk fabric from Thai Silk to make the pocket lining and bias tape from. Look how well the fuchsia matched the accent yarn.

It was a very intense 3 day workshop. I was able to finish all the major sewing by 5 PM on Sunday, but just barely. I still need to apply the bias tape to my shoulder seams. The rest of the work is handwork. I need to remove all my basting and marking stitches, hem the sleeves, and tack down the jacket hem and front band. A nice pressing and it will be done. There’s probably about another 3 hours of work remaining.

This old thing? It's just something I whipped up over the weekend.

Here’s the jacket in its current unfinished state. There are things that I would do differently, but overall, I’m very happy with how it turned out. The colored wrap threads kept it from a boring man’s suiting fabric.

Jumpstart is right. This jacket presents a great jumping off point for a lot more ideas and jackets. I’m already planning my next yardage and jacket!

Yardage Stats

Click for larger. Really. You need to click.

Because some of you asked…

Warp Length:

  • Wound on 10 yards
  • Wove 9 yds according to my on loom measurements while under tension + 1 yd of color sample
  • Off loom measurement: 8 yds of fabric; about 7 yards usable

Width:

  • 30″ wide at the reed
  • 28″ wide at the fell
  • 28″ off the loom

More Stats:

  • 30 ends per inch
  • 900 ends + 4 floating selvedge ends
  • approximately 40 picks per inch
  • 18 total failed handspun; 4 while threading the loom; and the rest during weaving
  • no broken warp otherwise
Click for larger. Really. You need to click.

Either Zephyr is really, really stretchy or I measured incorrectly on the loom. I believe its the latter. And the 7 yards usable? Well, I had some treadling mistakes that I didn’t catch. Because I was weaving with the wrong side up, I couldn’t see them. I knew the first 20″ or so were riddled with mistakes, but there were a few scattered through out. I suspect those were at the end of a long weaving session.

The handspun fails were due to bad joins at the color change. I didn’t feather the 2 ends enough when I changed colors and they separated right at the joins. Or, the joins were too fat and the abrasion of the reed scraped them apart. Again, a better feathering job may have prevented them.

How did I fix them? The ones that failed while warping, I just replaced with black Zephyr. I just didn’t want to deal with an unplied yarn dangling off the back of the loom. Chances were good that they would unspin and drift apart. For the ones that failed during weaving, I put in a rescue warp with Zephry about 3x the length of the failed join area. Wove on the rescue warp for a length before re-joining the original handspun back into the warp.

It’s amazingly difficult to take pictures of a black fabric at night, but you can see in the above pictures that I mostly achieved the look I set up to make. The color runs are longer than I liked, but I like the effect. It looks like wet paint dripping down the length of a black ground. Jackson Pollock it’s not.

And just for fun and for my sanity sake, I played a bit for the last yard. I used some of the leftover Zephyr I had from sampling, and found the colors that most closely matched the colors I had dyed and spun into my yarn to see what it would look like with alternate weft colors.

Back of Sampler (click for larger)

Kind of fun, isn’t it? The back is a weft faced fabric. I had thought that it might be fun to weave a self lined fabric with COLOR, instead of a lining. The far right is the indigo that I used for my fabric. Next to it is the same black as the warp. The remaining were colors that were found in my hand dyed / hand spun yarn.

Front of Sampler (click for larger)

Unfortunately, the idea was prettier in my head than in reality. The color bled through to the front too much and had a much stronger impact than I thought it would. Still, it has potential. I just need to figure out what that is.