I own a good pair of shears and I’m not afraid to use them.  I long ago lost the fear of cutting up my handwoven fabric.  I’ve woven literally thousands of yards of handwoven fabric in my long illustrious career, dating back to the very late 70’s.  Cloth is cloth.  Once it is off the loom it is fair game, though I usually don’t cut it immediately.  Sometimes I’ve waited 20 years to cut something up, but I eventually cut it up.  Not everything I make is a prize winner, and that’s OK.  For me it is all about the journey and the adventure and what I learned from the piece, and if I really like something when I’m finished, I even might wear it for awhile.  And occasionally even a prize winner won’t really be worn much because it is more of a runway piece, and I just don’t have that many places to wear runway pieces.

That said, I’m also not afraid to cut up old work.  Goodness knows the last four months have seen me cutting up lots of stuff from my 1980’s craft fair days, even bagging scraps to sell to quilters and doll makers.  We only live so long, and I have a huge old body of work that will eventually have to go someplace.  So I put stuff out at excellent prices at my guild sale, and various other venues that will take the work, and I am making a dent and moving it along.

Gored Skirtimg333I came across this skirt, woven in 1994.  It has been collecting dust in the back of my closet for a long time.  There is nothing wrong with the skirt.  As a matter of fact, I wore it often in the 1990’s, and have a couple of photos of me wearing it while demonstrating weaving.  I could of course only put my finger on one of them.

It is a mixed warp, done for a sectional warping demonstration.  I remember having a lot of yardage.  This skirt was fun, but no one wears an eight gored nearly floor length skirt anymore.  Certainly not me.  And I’m sure the style will come back around again, but this is one of those pieces, where there is a substantial amount of yardage involved and it could be restyled into something else.  I’ve been mulling it over for awhile.

I’ve recently showed the skirt to a couple of people who have been through my studio.  I mentioned I was planning to cut it up and re-purpose it.  Oh the horrors.  I’ve gotten letters.  Imploring letters not to cut it up.  I’m actually laughing at how passionate people can be.  I’m not.  Passionate about holding onto something that isn’t working for me anymore.

Vogue1382I just finished a really cool dress from bamboo, I showed an almost finished photo of me in it in the last blog post.  The pattern is Vogue 1382 and it is current.  It is an Ann Klein dress, and it turned out really well.  I’ve been staring at the dress, and the pattern and the skirt… 🙂

So to convince everyone that I’m not a complete whack job, I decided to do a quick photoshop representation of what the dress could look like adding a black linen component in the middle.


Then I decided to see what would happen if the colorful handwoven fabric was in the middle and the black were on the top and bottom.


This is really about composition.  Unlike a painting, where your eye moves around and settles on some central imagery, I don’t want the best part to be over my stomach.   I like the black in the middle, and I think that’s what I’m going to do.  I have the linen pre-shrunk and some black silk organza for the underlining for the middle part, and the skirt has been aggressively washed and machine dried.  I got a bit more shrinkage in the fabric than I got when I originally washed it back in the 90’s, gently, minimal handling and hanging to dry.  I wanted the fabric a bit more stable.  I’ll probably use a fusible underlining on the handwoven part, and see what happens…

On second thought…  Now that I’ve gone over and proofed the blog, I’m really liking the handwoven in the middle.  Who would have thunk it?

Stay tuned…


Comments (23)

LizJanuary 27th, 2014 at 10:13 pm

I was happy when I got to the part where you said you like the handwoven in the middle… that was my gut reaction seeing them both. It will be great!

blogless graceJanuary 27th, 2014 at 10:27 pm

The black in the middle seems too stark and choppy; I, too, like the handwoven in the middle.

Nancy WeberJanuary 27th, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I vote for the handwoven in the middle — looks better as a finished garment — even done with imagery. What a great use of computers!

Anne LorgenJanuary 27th, 2014 at 11:45 pm

What would it look like with a pale blue for the other fabric? The block design is stunning. I relate to the comment about it being the journey and the learning that happens as a piece is worked on.

Nancy WeberJanuary 28th, 2014 at 2:08 am

Upon thinking more about your fabric, how about making a pencil skirt with that fabric. I think it would look fabulous on you — you have such a great body to put it on.

NancyJanuary 28th, 2014 at 6:26 am

I like it in the middle too!

Suzy HokansonJanuary 28th, 2014 at 6:56 am

I also vote for you skirt fabric in the middle. Stunning!

JennyJanuary 28th, 2014 at 7:30 am

The striped middle definately. Black in the center somehow visually pulls the middle in and I keep thinking….corset.

Hey…I like long 8 gored skirts. When I get a bit further with WW and have sufficient appropriate yardage….there is a Folkways Victorian Walking skirt pattern that has been calling to me for quite a while.

treahJanuary 28th, 2014 at 8:08 am

Black in the middle!

ShelbyJanuary 28th, 2014 at 10:49 am

I would vote for the handwoven in the middle. A great way to reuse something to great advantage!

leilani bennettJanuary 28th, 2014 at 11:30 am

OK, I have to chime in–handwoven in the middle! And you are still going to have a LOT of handwoven fabric left over. have you thought of a short (just below the waist) jacket again incorporating the linen and the handwoven? Just a thought.

GinnieJanuary 28th, 2014 at 11:37 am

I like the handwoven in the middle, too, though I can’t reason out why that would be. And you will have lots left! Enough for another project or two!

JaneJanuary 28th, 2014 at 12:17 pm

I like Nancy Weber’s suggestion of a pencil skirt….

JoanJanuary 28th, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Like the handwoven in the middle, with your figure you can definitely carry it off. Now, all the leftovers, like the idea of a short jacket. I always remember your tip to me about trying to cover my backside with a long jacket, usually wear short ones now, they sure look better!

LouisaJanuary 28th, 2014 at 1:10 pm

If you go with the handwoven on the top and bottom, then I think you should choose another colour for the centre that isn’t so contrasting as the black. Otherwise I definitely like the handwoven in the middle better.

I don’t get it but I guess such reluctance to cut into handwoven fabric is why so many weavers make scarves and stoles instead of jackets, dresses and skirts!

Jenny SethmanJanuary 28th, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Much prefer the handwoven in the middle. Seems the right amount of balance.

CindyJanuary 28th, 2014 at 1:50 pm

On my screen, the black in the middle is very black. The black on the top and bottom is dark gray. First glance, I liked the gray on the top and the bottom.
What other colors of linen do you have? Photoshop them in and we can vote again. 🙂

Christina GranatierJanuary 28th, 2014 at 2:01 pm

I like the handwoven in the middle. After seeing your dress in this pattern I went and bought it!!! Now i have something to use my small piece of handwoven for. Thanks.

dan bridgeJanuary 28th, 2014 at 7:01 pm

I like the top and bottom handwove..not fond of it the middle…unless you’re a size 1….. That being said, go with what YOU love…. (As I’m sure that is what we all do when all is said and done)…scissors are our best friend!

JennyJanuary 28th, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I really like Leilani” s jacket idea . I see some interesting visual interaction there. What would one use for trim?

Love this conversation……..great interaction… do make us think…!

Stephanie SJanuary 28th, 2014 at 8:35 pm

One the model – the handwoven looks best in the middle. But…I think part of the problem with the picture with the handwoven on the bottom and top is what other’s have commented on – that the black is so black and such a contract – at least in the photo. Also – it seemed wrong somehow that the stripes matched on the top and bottom. For that matter, I think the handwoven fabric on the bottom might look great if you use the same commercial fabric on the yoke and middle. I suspect that there is so much to look at (handwoven fabric that the eye doesn’t know where to settle – when it is in two places separated by a solid fabric. You look great in that style, it is certainly a pattern you should use again.

Gisela McDonaldJanuary 28th, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Handwoven in the middle balances the shift, as someone else already commented. Looks more sophisticated to me!

MichelleJanuary 31st, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Print in the middle. You are slender and i doubt there would be a tummy bump. I’m not and even I would want the handwoven in the middle.

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