Today I found myself sewing. This is something I usually avoid. It came about after a thought process that went from considering getting out the knitting machine and making a skirt out of the wool I recently tried to knit then frogged because it was too scratchy. But I’ve always been a bit wary of knitted skirts and their potential for stretching or felting/pilling on the most worn parts (ie. the posterior).
Why not weave it instead? Surely there’s a skirty-thing I can make without much sewing? I remembered that odd little book Ashford put out – The Ashford Book of Projects. The one where the instructions for some of the projects end with “go buy a commercial sewing pattern” or else a few paragraphs of very basic directions, which make it really only suitable for an experienced sewer.
I am an experienced sewer, even though I don’t like it much, so I decided that before I warped up the loom and spent a few hours weaving then cut up the fabric, perhaps I should test one of these patterns first. So I got out some purple fabric I’d woven on the Knitters Loom a few years ago but never found a use for.
Fortunately, the book is full of patterns made from the narrow strips the smaller Knitters Loom produces. I wanted to do the wrap around skirt, but I didn’t have quite enough length of fabric, so I settled on the Back to Black skirt.
Soon enough I had the woven fabric in a skirty shape, complete with zipper. Then I went about the fiddlier task of making a lining. I realised as I sewed the lining on and went to turn it over that I’d set the zipper in too high, so instead of turning it I folded it over and top stitched it. I figured that, since wool makes me itchy, it would be a little extra protection. And a nice bit of trim.
I tried it on, took a photo and discovered something unexpected. The shading that had formed when weaving the graduated yarn, coupled with the way the fabric had lined up when sewn together, gave me very obvious belly and thigh highlights and a crotch shadow:
I tried turning the skirt around, so the zipper was at the front. Unfortunately, my zipper inserting skills aren’t what they used to be.
So I moved the zipper to the side. Much better.
Still, I wasn’t that happy with it. I was finding that, despite the lining, the prickliness of the wool was still bothering me. And the skirt was a bit big. And I was really a bit ‘meh’ about the colour.
Then I reminded myself it was a test skirt anyway. The pattern was descipherable once I’d written it out as steps. The zipper was the most fiddly and annoying thing, but if I did the wrap skirt next time a zipper wouldn’t be something I’d have to bother with.
But then I’d have to work out what I’d do about the ‘fasteners’ the instructions tell you to attach. Fabric woven from yarn is much more prone to fraying than bought cloth, and I’m not sure any buttonholes would hold together for long. Perhaps loops instead?