extreme preparation

Having spent the best part of two days with my stripey fabric (shown above before wet finishing), I am finally ready to start assembling my trousers.

The washing led to more widthways shrinkage than I was expecting — from approx 26 3/4″ in the reed to 23″ when finished — but there was still plenty of cloth to play with: more than ample for the width of the main pieces and, in fact, enough left at the sides for pockets and other inside bits and bobs, which was gratifying. First I had to cut a length two trouser-legs long and stitch it to the remaining length leaving gaps for pockets and ties. Then I had to lay out pattern pieces and prepare for the real cutting.

I took some time to read a guide from an old issue of Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Winter 2006/7) on cutting pattern pieces from handwoven cloth, in which Stephanie Corina Goddard recommends outling each piece with fusible stay tape before cutting. Fusible stay tape is beyond the scope of our local haberdashers, so I used a rotary cutter to slice up strips of lightweight interfacing. Tackling one pattern piece at a time, I tucked these little strips of interfacing under the edge of the paper pattern and then pressed them into place. The first trouser leg I did took me about two hours! But, hey, by the second one I had it down to less than 90 mins.  Thank goodness for square pockets, that’s all I can say. Once I had cut out each piece I did the usual tailor tacks and notches (although given the interfacing, I cut the notches inwards rather than outwards for a change) and then zig-zagged round the circumference of each piece to secure the edge.

Here is the wrong side of a pocket,

and the right side of the waistband:

So altogether I have a pile like this,

and all the sewing still to do. Nevertheless, I am reckoning that I have done the lion’s share of the work, especially since the assembly is the bit I have tried before so I have already worked out the details of what I need to do.

You may notice, comparing the wet finished pieces with the unfinished cloth at the top, that a slight vertical line in the weave structure has been noticeably strengthened in the washing. This was a surprise to me as it didn’t do this in my sampling. I am not sure how to account for it, but suspect that it could be the result of a treadling error, albeit one that I managed to make consistently for about six yards on the loom! I have to compare what I actually did with what I meant to do… Still, I like the look of it, and the fact that the regularity of the structural stripe contrasts with the irregularity of the colour stripes. You might think, however, that by now I would be able to get a sequence of four (yes, I said four) treadles right, mightn’t you? I really do wonder about myself sometimes. At least you didn’t have a bet on it.

You didn’t, did you?

extreme preparation” was posted by Cally on 11 July 2010 at http://callybooker.wordpress.com

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13 Responses

  1. Julia
    | Reply

    I’m betting that the trousers will be spectacularly successful, treadling error or no. At any rate, they will be extremely well-constructed!

  2. Valerie
    | Reply

    Lovely! Can’t wait to see the finished trousers!

  3. Evelyn Oldroyd
    | Reply

    Great idea for the edge treatment – hadn’t seen that before. Those are going to be the greatest trousers, can’t wait for the modelling session!

  4. RuTemple
    | Reply

    That’s gorgeous, and how wonderful to get to see the work in progress.

  5. neki rivera
    | Reply

    great idea for finishing the edges, thanks.
    those pants are going to knock the idem off everyone at convergence!

  6. Geodyne
    | Reply

    I’ve just spent five minutes staring at the screen, drinking in those colours.

  7. Trapunto
    | Reply

    It is so exciting to see this cloth to clothing transformation. I think I would have given up on the interfacing, but I can’t think of any alternatives beside quarts of scratchy fray-check, and your pants certainly deserve to last.

  8. Margreet
    | Reply

    Oh Cally, what a lot of work you have had to do for not being able to buy the tape. But you found a good solution, be it a lot of work.
    The weaving looks great, lots of work still to do before going away on your holiday though!
    You are going to look great and I hope to see it at a later date 🙂
    Have a good time and I look forward to reading about it here.

  9. Holly
    | Reply

    Love it! Four treadles in a row…hmm, I am personally foot-brain challenged 🙂

  10. Laura
    | Reply

    Well, as I always say – if you can’t be perfect, be consistent. 😀


  11. Lovely job and great pics! Thank you kindly for plugging my cutting technique 🙂 Cutting your own strips of interfacing works best anyway inasmuch as the ideal width for a 5/8″ seam allowance is a fusible strip cut 3/4″ wide; and no one makes fusible tape in that width.

    I taught the technique — in both workshop and lecture form — at the last Convergence. Alas, a family situation makes it impossible for me to apply to teach (much less to attend) this year. The HGA booth should have back issues of SS&D if anyone else is looking for the series I did on sewing with handwovens.

    Hope you have a wonderful time! (And thanks for making my day)

    • Cally
      | Reply

      You’re most welcome! It took me a while to get the hang of it, but once I had all my pieces edged in this way it made the sewing really straightforward. No anxiety about fraying or stretching!

  12. lynne
    | Reply

    I was lucky enough to see the trousers and WOWZA do I COVET!
    Super fabulous wardrobe for most amazing and inspirational friend.

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