Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Project 15: Silk Basket Weave Vest

So I was in one of my local fabric stores late last year, cruising for bargains at the remnant table when I spied a stack of beige silk dupioni pieces at 50% off the normal price. They weren't big enough to do much with, but out of the blue a vision came to me. If I cut the silk into strips and made bias-tape ribbons I could weave them into larger panels and use the panels to make parts of garments.

Making the bias-tape ribbons was pretty easy. I cut the strips with a rotary cutter and a straight edge, then got a magic folder thing that I just ran the strips of silk through on an ironing board and followed with the iron. I wove the strips on a cork bulletin board and used fabric glue to secure the outer border squares. When I had a piece big enough, I placed the pattern pieces for the front of a vest on them and drew around the outside with a sharpie. (don't faint)

The real trick was figuring out how I could cut the garment pieces out without the whole thing falling apart. The answer came in a flash. I had to stitch around the outline of the pattern piece to fix the upper and lower ribbon squares together at the edge before cutting. It worked like a charm.

I had plenty of silk left, so I made myself a matching necktie. Some critics have said that the look is too matchy-matchy, so I've since purchased some more silk in other colors to make contrasting ties. See! I can take criticism!

Project 14: Long Sleeve Osnaburg Shirt

When I was making our Halloween Jedi Knight costumes in 2010, I discovered this incredible textile, of which I had never heard. Osnaburg is named for the city that invented it in Germany, and was historically associated with the slave culture of pre Civil War America. The material is woven from the left-over bits of cotton after making finer weaves. It's thick and fluffy and strong and is usually unbleached and un-dyed. I think it's beautiful, and so did Lingoman. He dropped several hints in November that he would like any article of clothing made with osnaburg.

I decided to try something new to stretch my skills, so I made him a long sleeve version of my standard Seumas Shirt. I had no serious issues, I'm pleased to report! The little placket on each sleeve where the opening is was a little tricky, but both of us were pleased with the result.