Friday, May 11, 2018


Finished another one of those garments I cut out recently. This one is made from the leftover yardage from a dress I haven’t actually sewn yet. I considered this one the practice piece. Good thing too because it was somewhat more difficult to sew than I had thought it would be. You might remember the handwoven and hand-dyed fabric that I bought last year from Maiwa Handprints when I attended the Association of Northwest Weavers Guilds conference in Victoria. Yes, the irony of travelling to another city a ferry-ride away and purchasing supplies from a company that I can actually walk to from my house is not lost on me. However...

It was definitely worth finding this lovely gem. The fabric is wool, silk and organic cotton khadi and dyed in natural dyes from a company in India called Women Weave. Here’s the scoop on them from Maiwa’s website. It’s super light, almost semi-sheer, and woven in an uneven check pattern which made it rather a challenge to cut. I quickly gave up on perfect pattern matching. I did want to include the two selvedges in this tunic too because they were so interesting: one red and one blue on the otherwise black and white fabric. I also included scraps of a black and red checked wool that I found in deepest stash. No memory of where it came from originally. But it ended up to be the perfect complement.

I decided to make a self-drafted tunic top I had made several times before:

This was the first time I’ve made it out of a woven fabric but it seems to work just fine. It’s wearable either on its own or layered as I’m wearing it here. The original pattern is similar to Marcy Tilton’s V8582 (OOP). I included the drape on both sides to use as much of the selvedges as possible. I cut the pockets and the neck and armhole bindings out of the wool scraps. I didn’t have much of it so used this tutorial on how to create nearly 30” of 2” wide bias out of a small square of fabric. It worked really well and even though there were lots of seams in the bias they didn’t show much at all.

I had some difficulty with the fabric stretching badly on the bias. I ended up using strips of tissue paper under the presser foot while I stay-stitched the neckline and armholes. This helped somewhat while applying the bindings but I was just a little too careful to stretch the bias so that it wouldn’t gape. Instead it puckers slightly. Sigh. Just the opposite of the dress I’m wearing underneath, huh?

I finished the seams with faux French seams in order to enclose all the raw edges. This was actually less bulky than serging. Finally I reinforced the top corners of the pockets with iron-on interfacing patches on the back and then tiny square shell buttons in the corners. I embellished the left one with the tag from the fabric length:

Notice how I used the selvedge of the wool fabric on the pocket tops as well. Now that I’ve sewn projects from the leftovers, I still have to make the original dress that I planned using both the check and the cotton jersey. Coming up next! But I’m glad I made these two garments first so I know how to handle the fabrics and their quirks.

Meanwhile, today I didn’t do much of anything. I knit a swatch. I started a new knitting project. I read a lot. I lazed about on our new hammock:

Thom recently finished building the stand out of 2 X 4’s and heavy duty bolts. We didn’t have convenient structures to stretch the hammock between and the stand means we can move it around if we want to - although it weighs a tonne! Right now it’s here where I can gaze out upon my growing veggie garden:

In case you can’t tell, the weather was just lovely today.


Alison said...

Louisa - I just love your new tunic, particularly how you made use of the decorative selvedges! Your garments are always so inspiring to me...

but I must say that the tip and link to the how to make masses of bias from a small piece of fabric is something I had not run across before, and is pure gold. Thank you for sharing that! (as you may have noticed, I use a LOT of bias bound edges in my own garment sewing, and this will allow me to use some of my own too-wonderful-to-discard scraps)

p.s. the link to Maiwa is incorrect and also links to how to make bias... might need corrected

p.p.s. Happy creative weekend to you, and enjoy your new hammock.

Cynthiacc said...

The tunic is brilliant! I love your creative use of the fabric, all the details you put in. Very inspiring!

Louisa said...

Thanks for the kind comments!

Oops. I appreciate the heads-up on the link, Alison. It should be fixed now.

pao said...

I luv your new tunic. The fabric is just fab, as is the way you put it together.
My goodness, I never expected to see you lounging about in the garden! But then again, it looks like you were knitting. Such a busy bee.