Don’t Be Afraid to Sew Handwoven Fabric!

After retiring as a mechanic in the 1960s, my grandfather learned to weave. I don’t know what he wove to start with, but I know that he wove lengths of fabric at a senior center near his home in Hollywood (nature versus nurture, anyone?). I was young at the time, but I remember plain-weave cream-colored cloth with windowpanes of light gray. Grampa gave the fabric to my mother who was a fairly accomplished seamstress (this is where the nature part fails), and she made him a long-sleeved button-down shirt that he proudly wore. I guess no one told her that she should be afraid to sew handwoven fabric.

Today, as a weaver who has very basic sewing skills, I know enough to rely on experts to help me when I want to design fabric that I’m going to cut and sew. Why go it alone when there are sewists and weavers much more skilled than I am who are happy to help and have written about the subject? I don’t imagine that my grandfather wove his shirt fabric without someone giving him some advice about sett, weave structure, and yarn type. My mother never mentioned it being difficult, but she had the skill set to know how to handle fabrics that weren’t as tightly woven as commercial fabrics.

sew handwoven fabric.

Wool’s fulling quality helps with stabilizing it for cutting and sewing. Credit: Pixabay

Jean Scorgie is one of those people with both weaving and sewing skill sets. Her Ebook Designing to Weave and Sew addresses all of the ins and outs of weaving, finishing, and sewing. Rather than guessing about the best setts, yarns, and weave structures to use for your garment, this book guides your decisions. Once you are off the loom and thinking about cutting that beautiful fabric, you’ll want guidance in doing it correctly so that your designs match up and your cut edges are secure. While you are sewing your garment, tips for reducing bulk in your seams and hems will be invaluable. Other tips and tricks in the book about finishing, lining, and embellishing will help you make a garment you love to wear and that shows off not only your beautiful handwoven fabric but also your sewing skills.

sew handwoven fabric

Jean Scorgie wove the fabric for this jacket based on the store-bought blouse under it. Handwoven September/October 1990. Photo credit: Joe Coca

Weave to sew. It’s been happening for ages. There is no need to be afraid to sew handwoven fabric.

Weave well,
Susan


Learn more about weaving for sewing!

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