Friday, July 22, 2016

sewing with handwovens

I've shared before that I am enjoying incorporating my handwoven fabrics into my sewing projects. I really like combining them with purchased quilting cottons. Here's my latest, a Lola Pouch (pattern by Sotak Handmade)
Having found no real tips or examples that suit me online, I've been experimenting and have come up with a method that works for me. I thought I'd share my tips here. Maybe they will help someone else? At the very least, I will have them documented for my future projects.

First off, I learned early on from my awesome weaving friend Kathie to make use of every inch of my warp. I usually put enough warp on my loom to weave 2 or 3 dishtowels, plus extra. Once I have woven the towels, I plain weave the rest of my warp into fabric that can later be used for whatever I choose.
I am really loving weaving my 8/2 cotton yarn (very thin) onto my thicker cotton warp. It makes a sturdy fabric that still has a bit of drape. After I remove it from my loom, I zigzag the edges, wash & machine dry, just like my towels.

The trouble (not trouble really, the interesting thing) about handwoven fabric is that you can't just cut into it. The edges will unravel if you don't finish the edges first. Here's how I have done this for the bags I've been making.

First, I iron ShapeFlex 101 (SF101 my favorite interfacing) on the back of my fabric piece, and draw the pattern pieces right on the SF101 with a pencil or marker.
I set my machine to a small, tight zigzag (these are the settings that are working best for me, you'll have to experiment on your machine!) You want the zigzag to be less than a 1/4 inch wide so that it ends up in your seam allowance later on.

Now I do a zigzag stitch all the way around inside the drawn lines of my pieces.
It's a good idea to zigzag on the outside of your lines too, so that your leftover fabrics will still be useable. Even small strips can be made into bookmarks or perhaps sewn into a patchwork project. I don't want to waste even a tiny bit of fabric I have worked so hard to create!

Now I simply cut apart on the drawn lines. I like to use scissors for this part. I suppose you could use a rotary cutter if you have very good control. And your pieces are ready to be sewn into a project! 


Debbie said...

Very interesting! It's great you've discovered techniques that obviously work very well for you! The Lola is awesome!

Ondrea said...

I still can't believe that you have woven that cloth! You are such a clever bunny and I love what you have made with it.

Chantal said...

What a lovely pouch Elly. You have come up with a really good solution to the unravelling problem. Very good idea.

Kristin said...

So Impressive!! I love what you are doing. You tempt me to look into looms, but I have enough to keep me busy for now. I'll just continue admiring your work!! =)

Heidi said...

I really like this! Thanks for sharing!!