Projects Abound

Well, I am still working on the loom but as the left side kept getting worse, I decided that the best action was to cut it off and start fresh with retying it and making sure all the broken warps are in good order in the back of the loom, so here is where it sits at the moment. I am really liking what is happening in it if it would just go well.

Starting over with same project

Starting over with same project

I have also been weaving on my zoom loom with my handspun. Have quite a few swatches done and I am liking how these are looking. These are a great project for something easy that takes up little space and is fun to do. I am getting better at them as well which is a plus for liking more of them. I am hoping for enough that will go together that they will make a nice shawl or something of the ilk. With these it would be thick and warm so maybe something else by the time I start putting them together.

Zoom Loom swatches

Zoom Loom swatches

Then what is taking so much thought with time right now is my corset. I won the class from http://www.historicalsewing.com. Boy am I glad I didn’t tackle this on my own or I would be already headed to the looney bin. I have made two mock ups and still have it too tight in the waist. So just took pictures and am about to send them on to get an expert opinion on the problem. Not the easy fixes I was hoping for that wonderful fit.

But as I came up to my room one day this week, I just stopped and took this picture of my table. Can’t remember now if that is corset one or two but the way it is laying should have been a hint. About how it stretches around my middle.

Trying to make a corset.

Trying to make a corset

So anyway, now back to all three projects. First to watch video and read about the corset sizing and then posting pictures for advice. Then maybe get to the loom if my brain isn’t fried and finish tying on and start weaving. And to relax this evening making some more Zoom Loom Swatches.

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I wrote I could weave better than I can sew?

Just yesterday I wrote, ” Yes, weaving comes a bit easier for me than sewing. ” Alas but, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen.” Ok so when weaving, a general rule is that most troubles are of your own making but despite so much care on this project – it isn’t going well. My last two projects were a straight twill and plain weave. They went quite well all in all, and I am happy with them. Alas to finish off this warp I wanted something more exciting so decided to go with my favorite (well tied with shadow weave) overshot. So of course there is the threading of the heddles that one must keep in very good order.

Rethreading mistakes in threading.

Rethreading mistakes in threading.

I know this pictures doesn’t say much to most but even with my careful copying out of the pattern in easy to keep track of pairs and sequences I still messed up the left side and had many corrections to make. Adding time to the overall project. Then….

Actually looking good for the border.

Actually looking good for the border.

We are finally weaving and the border is looking good. This is a star pattern and It just fits perfectly in the warp I had already on the loom. I love the color and it will be interesting to see how it looks when wet finished. Then…

How many problems can there be in one picture?

How many problems can there be in one picture?

Thankfully the selvedges don’t show well here but they aren’t going well. Then those two T pins on the left are holding inserted warps for broken ones. And to top that off the note is telling me that I just decided to walk away from it all for the time being and when I return, I still need to take out the lavender at the top as I was using treadle 3 when I suppose to be using treadle 2 for 9 picks. And yes, I realized it when the next set was suppose to be treadle 2 and I went to it and – OH DEAR ME OH MY!!!! So taking out. And if you can tell the selvedges aren’t any better but not worse though with the troubles on the left side not sure it is going to completely recover.

So my prayer now is that when I return in a great state of mind, I will get the rest taken out easily and the weaving next will go smoothly and look lovely. There really isn’t a lot of warp left here. Not like I’m looking at yards of this but I hope I survive it. When I post pictures of the finished shawl (hopefully that is what I’ll have when finished) I will remember the troubles I’ve seen and the triumph over them. Now to move on to planning and getting everything for my corset class. Anyone think that can go better?

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Corded Petticoat

The warp from the back beam through the heddles and the reed ready to tie on the front beam. I love the soft light of just this one on in the dark.

I love the soft light of just this one coming down. Ready to tie the warp onto the front beam.

After finishing the dress, I felt the great need for a corded petticoat. Alas I searched and read and searched and read and got a bit discouraged on this as today those who make them for their early 19th century period dresses sew all the cords in. Can anyone imagine I being able to sew cords onto a piece of cloth in perfect rows? I certainly couldn’t see it coming out well and was more than discouraged with the feat. But then I read one little sentence that changed the whole project. It stated, in essence, that “of course the women of the day just went to the store and bought the cloth with the cord already woven in it and so they just had to sew up the panels together and hem and band it.” Eureka! I could figure out to weave the fabric and sew it then together. No sewing of each individual line of cord.

So then to figure out exactly what I wanted to use for this project, and I bought some 16/2 cotton and warped it at 30 epi. I had some cotton cord that I thought would work great for the top of the skirt. In viewing quite a few I had seen that many had a thinner cord at the top and thicker at the bottom. Oh to find something for the bottom. I wanted it natural and that was hard to find. I ended up getting some Jute. Though I did find some stuff that would have been perfect but it would have cost over $100 for just this petticoat and I just couldn’t justify the cost. There are times when one could just wish they were filthy rich with money to throw away.

I now had all that I needed for the project so started weaving a plain weave header. Wove 6 inches and then started the thin cord and wove cord with four shots of the 16/2 cotton in between. I wove this for 12 inches and then switched to 18 inches of the jute with 10 ends between each one.

Weaving the thinner cord.

Weaving the thinner cord.

Weaving the thicker cord.

Weaving the thicker cord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved how fast this wove up, and it seemed to go pretty well except for a problem on the right selvedge that I couldn’t figure out what went wrong. I think I know now, after cutting it off, but for the weaving, I did figure out how to work around it. Oh, and it probably had its source in the fact that when I wound this warp on the warp beam I wound it backwards and after I tied on the front the brake didn’t work. So I ended up winding it all forward (6 yards) and then back onto the beam again the correct direction. First time I ever made that mistake. Hope to never do it again. But anyway it didn’t quite wind back on as perfectly as it was to start with.

After cutting it off I just washed it in the bathtub with my feet and tried to iron what I could of it and then hand sewed the side seams doubly and then used the machine for the hem and top which I just made a case of and ran a draw string through. It did come out a bit shorter than I thought it would. But despite that, it still seems to be quite good. I hope with another petticoat with it that it will be fairly smooth on the surface, but it will be closer to the bell shape that a proper skirt should have under than they do now. I think though if I get another insane moment though and want to do it again, I would make one all the thin cord and not use a thicker one. It would be a fairly quick project and of course the second one is always better than a first.

Corded petticoat finished.

Corded petticoat finished.

It will be interesting to see how a skirt looks with it under it. Oh and by the way. The bathtub is draining real slow since washing this. I didn’t think much came off the jute while in there but obviously enough that I better work on it soon or someone else will not be too happy at my procrastination.

 

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I Love Inventories – North

So I found Sarah North’s father’s name and inventory today as well as the one for Henry Earnest. Sarah was Henry’s daughter-in-law and she had married Henry’s son Felix. Her father was John North and he died in Washington County, Tennessee in 1794. Now I have seen his death date as 15 October 1794 but have discovered that date is actually the date of the sale of his property. So he died earlier in actuality unless something strange was happening. Hmmm….

His inventory filed in the August Sessions 1794 lists many fibery things. 10 head of sheep, 1 loom and tacklings (another great term for loom accessories), 1 large wheel, 3 small wheels, 1 pair cotton cards, 1 pair wool cards, 1 pair sheep scissors, 12 lb. wool, 1 flax break.

Now his sale pretty much is the same list. But at the sale 15 October 1794 Esther (his wife though unsure if Sarah’s mother as it seems he was married twice) bought 5 sheep £1.1s , 1 loom and tacklings £2.10s, 2 wheels and 2 pair cards 15s, 1 wheel and 2 spools 6s, wool 10s.

In comparison with Henry’s here we have more cotton references compared to Henry’s having more flax, but both have sheep and wool. Looks like Esther is not considering retiring from the need to spin and weave the cloth needed in the home since she bought back the loom, tacklings, and wheels, and cards. Rebecka North did buy one of the wheels. There must have been a few women in the home to man all the wheels but also in my latest reading in spinning history care was taken in having wheels for certain duties. They didn’t buy or build a one wheel to spin everything like we do today. They spun wool, cotton, flax on different wheels if possible. Amazing to think how the Great Wheel continued on despite what one would think as the treadle/flyer wheel should have made it obsolete but alas in many many inventories I have found a “large” wheel and “small” wheel in the same home.

Picture taken at Williamsburg

Picture taken at Williamsburg

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I love Inventories – Earnest

Ok, I have the loom warped and weaving. Today I had big plans to get a lot done. Really big plans and even for tonight. But alas I got sidetracked in the one way that can take down a whole day without a blink of the eye. Yes, I got to looking at family history again. I found something that was taking me around the mulberry bush and was looking promising but alas and alack…. I don’t think it holds water unless you can find more out there hiding somewhere. But in rambling around the centuries, I ended up back in 18th and early 19th century Green and Washington Counties in Tennessee and in some wills, inventories, sales and found some for two ancestors. Now since getting into spinning and weaving, I have an addiction to fibery finds in inventories done at someone’s death. One, they can show how much was done in an area at a certain time when looking at a group but also just to have a kinship with my ancestresses when I see what is found in their homes. I have written about Daniel Cummins’ inventory and sale and the fact that the girls there must have clothed the family. But now for more.

I am a proud descendant of Henry Earnest. There has been quite a bit of research done on his family. He came from Switzerland with his parents who died enroute. He was taken in by Lawrence Stephens and at age married Lawrence’s daughter Mary. By 1771, they moved from the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia south into what would  become eastern Tennessee. There above the Nollichucky River he built what is known today as the Earnest Fort House.

Earnest Fort House from rear

Earnest Fort House from rear

Earnest Fort House from front

Earnest Fort House from front

I got to visit the home of Henry & Mary and it so makes one wish to see it as they knew it. As the road crosses the river today, the first thing you see is what has to be the back facing the river and road. There are three stories here and rather ugly. Wonder what once was? Then if you walk up the hill and look at the other side, you find a nice front door and stoop at the second story. But for what we don’t know about it’s first days we do know that it still looks like the fortress it has always been.

Henry died in 1809 and I have seen transcripts of his will but this time I found the ever lovely inventory and sale. So what fibery wonders did the family own? Quite a bit actually. The inventory lists less than the sale but both are interesting. So the inventory lists: 14 head of sheep, 1 loom reeds and gears etc, 2 hackles, 1 cotton wheel, 2 small wheels, 1 check wheel, set of spools, 1 ps fulld cloth, ps fulld linsey, some quantity of unbroke flax. This seems like quite the spinning and weaving shop.

But then we read the sale list and there is even more. Sale was 26 April 1809.

Mary bought back one pair cotton cards for  $.10, spinning wheel for $.10. Then quite a bit of the rest was bought by either sons or sons-in-law with a couple others sprinkled in. William Brown bought 6 yds. fulled cloth for $9.03, Samuel Snapp 3 yds. fulled linsey for $3, and 1 quill wheel $.29, and 1 reed and geers $.25, William Brown 3 yds. fulled linsey $2.50, Ezekiel Stanbury 3 yds. fulled linsey $2.48, Joseph Looney 2 3/4 yds. fulled linsey $2.02, and reed and geers $.97, Felix Earnest 8 1/4 yds. fulled cloth $14.50, John Cox 1 spinning wheel $1.20, Jacob Hiess 1 loom $4, Samuel D. Warren 1 reed and gers $1.61 and and another reed and gers $.81, Peter Earnest set of spools $.71, George Wells set of spools $.34, and 6 1/2 lb. wool $2.40, Peter Earnest 1 hackle $1.34, 7 sheep $8.27, and 7 sheep $5.02, Nicholas Long unbroke flax $1.16, Adam Shurley 1 clock reel $.80, Jacob Recer 5 lb. of wool $1.89, Jacob Earnest 7 lb. wool $3.25.

From these two lists I am thinking that Mary Earnest had a great loom set up with various reeds and “gers” or “gears” (I love the terminology in inventories for loom accessories.) I also am thinking that her daughters had set ups of their own and sent their husbands to the sale to get some of mom’s “reeds and gers” for themselves. After Henry’s death she lived with her son Peter, and I am thinking she kept at a bit of cotton spinning but that was it.

My direct ancestor, Felix Earnest, seems to have gotten quite a bit of cloth ready to be made up into something. Actually it reminds me that my dress fabric I wove was a 9 yard warp which off the top of my head I cannot tell you how much cloth came off the loom and was wet finished, but I think I have a bit of perspective of the 8 1/4 yds. fulld cloth he bought and what it took to make it. Alas mine was wet finished in a washing machine so I did get it a bit easier. I wonder if he got it for his new wife. My ancestress, Sarah North, had died in 1807 and Henry married Sarah Oliphant in 1808. I wonder if she was a spinner and weaver as Felix didn’t buy any of those items? Maybe a gift of cloth was a blessing.

One can dream up some quite interesting stories reading inventories.

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CHT Art Camp 2014

It was Art Camp again and so it was get ready and head out early Friday morning for Brownwood, Texas. We meet at the Texas 4H center there which is perfect for our gathering. Now there is no direct route there from the Houston area and sometime I am actually going to sit down with a map and really plot out what looks the best way across, but alas that wasn’t this time and so muddled across with three GPSs to help guide us. Rather interesting how each one gives a different direction even when it looks like you chose the same one. I know there is a lesson in there if I would only ruminate on it.

My First painting

My First painting

My second piece of paper

My second piece of paper

But we arrived and soon the place was buzzing with 30+ ladies all excited about fiber. I was taking the paper basket weaving workshop and our group actually started work on Friday after supper. (Did I mention we eat really well while there and gain a few pounds each year?) We had big sheets of watercolor paper that we were to paint both sides. Now I didn’t understand it all at first and it really is a project that after you do the first ones you get it and want to start all over but that is for another time. It was paint paper night and so I did.

Backsides with glitter.

Backsides with glitter.

After painting one side, it was turn the pages over when dry and paint the other side. Now I hadn’t added a lot of color and what silver I had added was thin so they dried pretty fast and I was back to painting and trying to improve on the look. So in the end my fronts and backs weren’t as different as they should have been but they did come out different as the backs were darker (which is what I had wanted for the fronts) though still not as dark as my head envisioned it and I did add glitter to the backs though most of it was lost over time as well. Again I should have had thicker wet areas for it to adhere to.

The bottom woven together.

The bottom woven together.

At this point, it was off to bed to await what was to happen on the morrow. Saturday morning it was time to strip the paper into thin strips with a pasta cutter.  It was at that time that one realized that whatever you envisioned with your paper would change when viewed in those thin strips. After that, it was pick a pattern for your basket. This is where I missed the boat somewhat as the patterns were color and weave and I didn’t really have two distinct sides to either paper for color and weave but with the blue and red one I did have long strips that I could still work with so off we went.

Finished basket

Finished basket

Hard at work.

Hard at work.

Spending a day weaving, by the end, I had a basket whether you could see it as a color and weave pattern or not. The red corners from a bit of distance show the pinwheel the best. The blue and lavender are not very distinct.

Then it was an evening of learning about Rebecca’s fiber trip to Japan and weaving on my Zoom Loom. To bed. Early morning. Breakfast and back at it to learn how to make a bias basket. Now for weavers of cloth where you only work in two dimensions, the bias basket took a bit to wrap your head about and make work. But once I caught on to what I was suppose to do whether one thought they were going to just tear everything up it was rather fun to weave.

The bottom woven for bias basket

The bottom woven for bias basket

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

Pulling the corners up and weaving in the sides.

I did lay out my strips so that the two sides of my paper were in different directions and then I also made sure that the different ends were lined up together as well. So the horizontal strips in the picture are one side with the light end to the left and darker end to the right. The vertical strips also kept the two ends separate. So we wove and tightened and wove and tightened and wove and tightened. And then learned to weave in the ends from the corners into the next corner strands. Having kept my sides and ends together made it so that I ended up with diamonds of each color at the bottom as the sides came up. And I know none of this makes sense but maybe it will help me remember how it went.

Finished bias basket

Finished bias basket

Then on one goes till you get up as high as is feasible to make a top and make sure it is all even and then you weave in the ends so that what it looks like around the top reminds one of being a kid again and weaving together chewing gum wrappers. I might add that in this picture you may notice the bandaid. Yes, the day before I was very me and managed to cut my finger with scissors when trimming off the ends. These were even scissors that could be classified as children’s with blunt nose on them. Just incredibly glad I wasn’t using my pointy ones at the time. Who knows what damage I would have done to myself then.

My weird odd contraption

My weird odd contraption

As there was still time when I finished the bias basket and I still had some strips, I started on a smaller basket. Alas as I was running out of strips to come up the sides, I didn’t want to just cut the tall spokes off so decided in a fit of madness to try and weave them in together. It was crazy and Brenda even got in on it to try and see what we could create. It is a crazy odd contraption that has been called many things since its inception. In this picture we still hadn’t come up with a way to weave in all the spokes sticking out. I did get them to connect but just a wrap not a weave.  I am still debating to go ahead and cut the top off as it is totally unpractical and weird but who knows maybe it will sit somewhere forever looking out of place.

So all in all a fun weekend that I learned a new technique. The best part is that I have an idea for a project that learning how to do the bias basket will help with so it won’t be just a fun weekend that I won’t use anything I learned again. I doubt I continue with paper weaving but then I did have a friend last night say she had a pasta cutter she never uses….

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CHH Swatch Swap 2014

It was swatch swap time again and needless to say with my dress project, I didn’t come up with anything outstanding for it. I had been looking for inspiration since I’ve known for a year about it but not much was happening and then I got wound up in the dress and swatch swap fell aside though always nagging at the back of my mind.

So one day upon stopping at Yarnorama! in Paige, Texas, I bought a Zoom Loom with Christmas money. A fun little weaving tool that is based on the old WeaveIt looms of the past. I thought it would be great for road trips and times you need a small project. So with some blue yarn with a metallic blue in it and a white yarn with a metallic silver (Oh, I should say the them this year was silver) in it I was able to make several swatches in bits of time I found around my life.

The Zoom Loom and some of the yarns that found their way into swatches.

The Zoom Loom and some of the yarns that found their way into swatches.

Now I wrote on my paper that I went outside the box for this swatch but afterwards thought I should have written I went inside the box as the Zoom Loom comes in a nice little box that is made so that you can carry and keep it in it.

I needed so many swatches for the swap but I did several more swatches than needed as they were all different, except a couple, and some were definitely better than others. So there was a choice for people to choose from.

The Swatches

The Swatches

Now to finish the swatches, I had to make some decisions. Some had a silver cord in them so I left them just as they were. Some were made with thick yarn and were quite sturdy on their own so I didn’t do anything to them either. But some were quite soft and flimsy so I just ironed some and starched some. The different tactile effects of this I rather enjoyed.

Those with more white.

Those with more white.

Out of the whiter ones I loved best the middle and right ones on the bottom row above. The middle was a thinnish silver cord and the white with silver yarn. It had a bit of substance to it and I starched it and it was a nice wafer. The right one was doubled on the yarn and was very firm and sparkly.

Mixed blue, white, silver swatches

Mixed blue, white, silver swatches

I am not a big fan of these swatches, but one thing I learned in playing with the blue and white is that you can get color and weave effects with the Zoom Loom. I did get lots of practice with russian joins with all the color changes, but depending on how many layers you did what color and in what order you could get quite a few different effects.

Now that bottom right one above is a bit sad. My story is that it was a sample to closely tell the difference in having two layers of the silver cord or just one. Alas the true story is that I ran out of the silver making it and so just completed it with the yarn. Though despite being ugly it does show a comparison of the two.

Blue and whites that are darker

Blue and whites that are darker

I did learn quickly that the more blue yarn I used with the white yarn, you totally lost the silver in the blue. Hard to see and if you didn’t know it was there you would probably miss it. Lesson learned there. But as for the look of the two colors together I do like the bottom left one best. The top right I added a few silver beads to but found that not fun nor looking well so quite. The other two top ones are just solid blue squares but one has the white and silver yarn woven around the edge and the other a silver strand around its edge. Needless to say one can tell which one was first and which had a bit of experience behind its weaving.

Playing with thrums, handspun yarns, and a gift store bought yarn.

Playing with thrums, handspun yarns, and a gift store bought yarn.

One I will definitely be playing with again is the top left above. I tied thrums together so that they were long enough and used them for two layers and then two layers of the white and silver yarn. I like that little square immensely. The one next to it is also thrums. The brown and red ones are handspun. That was an experience and worked well. Being though much thicker than the store bought blue and white I had to learn to work to get them in nicely. Obviously, the bottom left one was a first one and needed help. The brown were better and have different thickness in silver cord in them.

This was quite an adventure and learning experience. I really enjoyed the tactile of the heavy starch ones. They lost the soft yarn feel and felt all one solid piece. But the thick ones had a great feel and the softer ones were oh so soft. I did learn that though the thin yarn made for a fast weaving, I really liked the feel of the thicker ones better and that it was worth the extra effort on the last couple of rows.

I don’t like all of these swatches by any means, but I will be making more of my favorites so I can make  something using little squares after what is in the pipeline right now.

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Period Dress – In Action

Well I did “finish” my outfit and so early Saturday, February 8th, I donned the dress and had Mark get a picture before heading out to Heritage Day at Jesse Jones Park in Humble.

Without apron

Without apron

One thing that can be said for it is that it does make one look pretty well… for better word – fat. The skirt is 3 panels and definitely enough fabric to make a good full skirt. Alas it is still too big in the waist and in this picture is hiked up a bit as it is too long where it sits. (1830s needs to be ankle length) I did learn quickly why frontier women called their handwoven dresses their “heavy dress”. When just holding these garments you definitely have an arm full. Now this was woven with cottolin and 8/2 cotton. I do know that handwoven dresses in the pass were done with thinner thread. (This was woven at 24 epi and I know one historical one that was around 40 epi though I don’t remember the exact count.) Alas those were women who could spin well. I doubt I could spin a thread that was thinner than what makes this up and it also be a good strong even thread.

The top is the shortgown pattern that I liked. It was to have pleats in the back but I was unsure to do them with this cloth and thickness and I liked the roominess so I did not put the pleats in back. Alas that meant that the neckline was a good bit wider than it should be. (Oh dear where is this headed?) It is the one shortgown that I have made that I did not have to worry one bit about the pins coming out in front. They were pinned closed and generally I loose a pin during the day. But it was a bit of work to get a pin through the two plackets and hence they went nowhere until I was home trying to push them back out again.

Near the end of the afternoon.

Near the end of the afternoon.

So for Heritage Day I decided that instead of being historically correct I would take my alpaca, which desperately needed spun, to spin for the day. And then I didn’t want to take my great wheel out as it was wet, my treadle wheel would probably not have been seen in Texas in the 19th century. Well, actually of course it wasn’t since it is a modern Kromski Mazurka. But on its side is the fact that it is designed after the old traditional wheels of Eastern Europe. So whose to say a similar wheel didn’t make it to Texas at some point in the 19th century. Then to top off my look and set up, I did manage to braid my hair over my head and it stayed. I really don’t like wearing my bonnet as my hair is more than it can easily handle. When there were lots of people around and I was looking straight into the sun, after it decided to shine after around 3pm, I did wear my hat so its brim could help me look at people while talking.

The apron I am wearing I have written about before. I wove it as well and it has some cotton weft that is handspun when I was learning to spin cotton. It starts with my first thicker yarn at the bottom up to the top with a nice thin yarn. So all in all I did get to show people what handwoven on the frontier could look like. I do know that some did take the time to weave Log Cabin pattern dress cloth so it is possible that some could also have ended up with a somewhat checked cloth like my top and then the striped skirt as well.

But in finality, no it isn’t done yet. I really want to take the hem up a bit more so it sits closer to the correct length, I also want to see about an inset to the neckline so that it isn’t so wide. You can tell that the left side just didn’t want to sit up on the shoulder of its own volition. And lastly, you can’t see it but the bottom of the shortgown where the sides meet needs a bit of help and after wearing it a day, I think I know what I want to do there.

So the final question is – Will I ever stop working on this outfit and declare it really done?

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Period Dress – IT IS FINISHED

My project is finally over. It is finished. Am I happy? Probably not as much as I should be. It totally is not as wonderful as I envisioned it, but, alas and alack, it was I making it so of course it was better in my head than it turned out. It went through many changes over its course of emergence. It had to jump through hoops to try and please its creator. But for now it is over.

I did envision at first a dress. Alas as the sewing progressed I realized that that was a bit too far for this material to come together well into a waist band. So it evolved into a skirt and Shortgown. Now with that evolution happening after the cloth was all woven, I learned my first lesson. When weaving for a project and with my brain and my often changing of the mind, weave more than you think you need for any one project or part of a project. As woven I should have had enough for skirt, bodice, and sleeves. Alas going to a shortgown meant that I was short for the bodice no matter what I did. And to top that off I have a bit left over of the sleeve material as they ended up just two smallish rectangles needed.

But enough on the bodice I do have a picture of the skirt.

The finished skirt

The finished skirt

Finished. Pressed. except for that little bulge that seemed to have defied the ironing. Finishing the skirt in and of itself was a job. The width around compounded by the thickness of the cloth just didn’t want to make a pretty pleated skirt. I asked Mark if I could gain four inches in my waist for it to be perfect and he said absolutely not. So with lots of fiddling and ending up using hooks for the closure and moving them in a bit, it does fit though still a bit loose. Will need a couple petticoats to help hold it up and chemise and other underthings to fatten me out.

Trying to get the waist pinned

Trying to get the waist pinned

There are quite a few weaving mistakes that went unnoticed. So there is “character” to it. Some I told Mark I did on purpose so that spot would have a nice accent to it. Not sure that will fly though. There is the band around the bottom of the stripes that actually covers the too wide of stripe on one panel. Two panels absolutely perfect and one with mistakes and too wide. I’m thinking there was some day in there I should not have been sitting at a loom at all. How did I not catch at least the width with all my careful measuring? Especially when two nailed it perfectly. But anyway, after a couple tries, we came up with a trim idea that worked and covers the too wide stripe. It looks perfectly measured whether it was or not.

I also did all the sewing by hand that would show so the only machine sewing on this was the lining panel to the hem. I then tacked it up by hand. The waistband is all by hand but as thick as it got, it would have cruel and unusual punishment to have even tried to make a machine sew it whether it showed or not. Then of course my felled seams down the sides were by hand.

The bodice doesn’t make a good picture by itself so will get one when I dress out in the outfit – maybe tomorrow. It is Heritage Day and that was the goal to finish this. But did you notice all that white? Do I want to wear it out where it is rainy, wet, icky, … Not sure I do but the forecast is better for Saturday so will see if the Shortgown only gets worn (with another skirt) or the skirt ventures out as well. It would be warm which is a plus.

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Period Dress – Skirt

It has been awhile since last posting but sewing up the seams of the skirt was a chore not that fun with such thick cloth. I love felled seams and did them on my other dresses (by machine) but am trying with this one to not have machine sewing show on the front so it was hand sew the seams. Notice that wording about machine sewing showing on the front? Well, I did dream of hand sewing the whole thing but boy does that take time that isn’t my cup of tea at all. So I did the felled seams. By hand. Three of them. Three panels to join. Which constitutes 6 complete lines of sewing top to bottom, bottom to top. Yikes! that was hard to keep at but alas it is DONE!

Panels of skirt all sewed together.

Panels of skirt all sewed together.

Learned something. Felled seams done by hand look a lot different than done by machine. I do so like the way they look by machine. But for these they are, in one sense, hardly noticeable  - that is on one side but with the thickness of the cloth it looks like a tube running down the sides on the other, but they are good and tight and not too bad – for me.

Can't see very well but a felled seam.

Can’t see very well but a felled seam.

The narrow stripe is the seam and you can see the end of it … well if you know what you are looking for. At least I’ll remember what these were like.

That done. It was much easier to move on to the hem. Did it all today. I had read about 19th century hems and how women then needed that hem and bottom of the skirt to be strong so they would sew in facings. Some (as for my 1830s time period) could be 12 inches or all the way to the knee in height. In looking the information I found over, I decided that actually the old ones were wiser than us today and it would be the perfect way to get a decent hem on the skirt, so into the fabric drawer I went in search of white cotton to use. I found several folded pieces, and being me, they each were made up of scraps I couldn’t throw away. So opening them all up I found one was rather long and of good height at its narrowest point. So it became the facing. I cut it. I ironed it. Desperately needed as who knows how long it has been in the drawer. And pinned it to the edge of the skirt.

White cotton that would work for the facing cut and ready to go.

White cotton that would work for the facing cut, ready to go.

I cheated on myself here and used the sewing machine. I hemmed the top of the facing and then boy, was that a fast run around the skirt. Those two long seams done in less than a couple of minutes. Wow! Then it was back to the ironing board and ironed up the hem and pinned it. Then it was sit with Les Miserables and start hand sewing the facing at the top to the skirt.

Skirt facing all sewed in.

Skirt facing all sewed in.

This went fast as well. It was easier to do than any of the other handwork I had done. And yes, it could have been a but thicker more substantial material for the job, but I wanted it white and out of the drawer so this is what it got and I think it will work well enough for its job.

Now on to the next step. And as is my want I have changed my mind again. (Not about which pattern will be sleeves or bodice this time though. That mind change has been enough already.) I do not think I will do a one piece dress but rather the more practical skirt and shortgown. I think it will also look better with the differences between the sections of fabric as then the skirt and the top will be the same colors but separate so as to not be so weird in their striped and checked look. Next steps will show what I mean.

Categories: Weaving | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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