Sewing Handwoven Fabric
A couple weeks ago I had the good fortune to leave the Land of Enchantment for a few days of fibery fun at the first-ever Interweave Yarn Fest back in beautiful Loveland, Colorado. The days before the trip, I eagerly pawed through my yarn stash to come up with a list of needs to bring to the vendor hall for more efficient shopping, and I looked forward to being surrounded by yarn and yarn enthusiasts once again.
Yarn Fest did not disappoint. I bought all the yarn on my list, received a big box of handspun yarns from a friend, and got to ogle some truly amazing handwoven garments. Anytime you go to a big fiber show such as Yarn Fest (or Convergence or any other weaving conference) there are always weavers who wear truly stunning handwoven clothing, from fabulous jackets and blazers to elegant skirts and dapper waistcoats. These garments are always oohed and ahed over as fellow weavers touch and admire the fabric (also known as the “weaver’s handshake”).
While I have yet to sew an item of clothing from my weaving, I realize it’s just a matter of time before I sew up a nice skirt or sweet capelet from my cloth. I am fortunate in that I have taken some sewing classes and have actually sewn a few items of clothing from commercial fabric, so I do know the basics: I can read a pattern, I know how to properly cut fabric for the best outcome, and I know my way around a sewing machine. That said, sewing with handwoven fabric is a different beast; it’s not necessarily more difficult, it’s just different. Think of it like baking from scratch instead of using a boxed mix: there might be a few more steps and some techniques you have to learn, but you get to be in complete control of the outcome and can adjust things to suit your own individual taste.
Fortunately for me and all other aspiring seamstresses and seamsters of handwoven cloth, Daryl Lancaster has an excellent series of webinars dealing with different aspects of sewing with handwoven cloth. If you have ever thought of sewing clothing using your handwoven cloth, but do not know Daryl Lancaster as of yet, you really should look her up. Daryl is not only a truly gifted weaver, but she is an exquisite seamstress. She knows all the tips, tricks, and techniques for sewing with handwoven cloth.
Daryl’s five-part series guides you through the entire process of sewing with your handweaving, from deciding what to weave, selecting the pattern, learning how to fit the pattern for the best results, and finally how to construct garments that flatter, maintain stability in the cloth and pay homage to the creative process. In fact, Daryl’s third webinar, Garment Construction Part 3: Garment Construction and Seam Finishes, airs on May 4 and covers grainlines in cloth, tools, techniques, how to reduce bulk, and all sorts of seam finishes suitable for handwoven cloth.
Did you miss Daryl’s first two webinars or are you unable to make her May 4th one? Well, don’t worry because all these webinars are available on demand, so you can learn from a pro at any time. Whether you see a webinar live or on demand, you can watch it again any time you want, so if you need a refresher in a few weeks it’s as simple as a few clicks of the mouse.
I know I’ll be checking out Daryl’s webinars soon so I can not only refresh the basics from my other sewing classes, but also so I can make sure I start sewing my handwoven cloth with all the literal and metaphoric tools I need to do it all correctly. Who knows, maybe next Yarn Fest you’ll see me in a beautiful handwoven skirt.