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?