Wovember Words: Shetland Wool Pinafore Dress

Our finely honed appreciation for wool can bring such joy, especially when we can create something from fleece to finish. Sarah Howard wrote to WOVEMBER to tell us about her own favourite high wool content item.

I love spinning Shetland fleece and every year I head for the fleece sales at Woolfest to choose another one, particularly the coloured fleeces. I usually spin them in their natural colours but this time I decided to do some rainbow dyeing and just loved the results.

The lime green wool and silk warp provided a good strong colour base for the mixed colours of the fleece and was easy to set up on a 12” Ashford rigid heddle loom. It was woven with Shetland singles, spun on a Louet wheel after being very lightly carded to open up the fibres but not to overblend the colours.

A lovely breezy day was perfect for drying the fabric once it was off the loom. I made a six panel pinafore dress with godets to give a bit more flare to the hemline and side button bands for some waist shaping.
I love making clothes with my handwoven fabric- using narrow looms has never been a drawback and with careful seaming it’s possible to make your whole wardrobe.

Happy Weaving.

Thanks so much to Sarah for sharing her images and the process of creating her wondrous dress. You can read Sarah’s blog at www.creativeweaving.co.uk 

This entry was posted by louisescollay.

16 thoughts on “Wovember Words: Shetland Wool Pinafore Dress

  1. As both a knitter and a dressmaker this is so inspiring. The colours are fantastic and the finished result is both unique and so wearable. thanks for the inspiration

  2. So glad you like it. I make up my own patterns, have for years so I can use my narrow handwoven fabrics. Next month my co-author Elisabeth Kendrick and myself have our 3rd book coming out : “GET WEAVING, CLOTHING FROM YOUR RIGID HEDDLE LOOM”. It’ll be available from mid December, from us, see http://www.facebook.com/getweaving, or look for the title on ebay. A shorter version of this pattern is in the book.

    You can always email me for advice- getweavingwithsarah@gmail.com. I’ve been a weaver and spinner for 40 years, very happily!

    Happy weaving 🙂

    • Hi Joanne, so glad you like it. I’m well past the child minding stage so I’ve had time to work on these ideas, it’s really what I love to do most of all. The 6 panels are each 8- 8 1/2in wide, I always make a “mock up” first before launching into cutting my fabric up. Please keep watching on facebook/getweaving for more ideas

  3. I’m just starting to weave, and like the idea of a 16″ rigid heddle loom – you just blew away my last doubt! It’s just gorgeous, inspiring.

    • Ooh good, so glad that it’s helped you to make up your mind. I love weaving and my aim is to fill my wardrobe with my handwoven clothes- I’m getting there slowly. Our 3rd book is out next month “GET WEAVING clothing from your rigid heddle loom” which is more like this. Keep an eye on the blog and facebook page 🙂

  4. Wow Sarah very inspiring! I love this! I usually don’t like the spinning of multicolours as I find the finished yarn too muddy for making anything but you hav just opened my eyes. Wonderful weaving!

    • Thank you, so glad you like it. I try to avoid “muddy” by not over carding and by weaving with singles, that keeps the colours a bit clearer. I just love weaving with handspun and Shetland fleece is one of my favourites, I usually leave their natural coloured fleece undyed but went a bit mad with this one. Happy weaving 🙂

  5. Now that is FUN!! What a great Pinafore! Know also that all the original Japanese Kimonos were made from 13″ wide fabric so You GO GIrl!!

    • Thanks Susan. I’ve been making my own patterns to use with narrow handwoven fabrics for over 30 years, some of my early ideas came from “Cut My Cote”, a wonderful book showing early garments from narrow widths and the kimono was in there. Made me realise anything can be done and its great as there’s so little waste. Our 3rd book on weaving is out soon, keep watching if you’re interested. Happy weaving 🙂

    • Thanks Allison, it’s really just like making a very long scarf then cutting it up and assembling it in panels. No problemo! I always make a trial garment first in spare fabric to make sure the pattern fits before chopping up my lovely handwoven cloth. Takes a bit of time but well worth it then I can re-make the same design but in different yarn and colours. New book out soon, keep watching. Happy weaving 🙂

  6. The dress is lovely and your photos illustrate the process from fleece to garment beautifully. Reminded me that I used to do lots of rainbow dyeing but have somehow forgotten about it. One of the most successful was some fleece which I dyed and spin, then my husband knitted an all-in-one jumpsuit for our new baby. She’s 27 now so it won’t fit any more but a predecessor to the onesie?

  7. Thank you so much for your comments and enthusiasm for making clothes from handwoven cloth. It’s something I’ve been working on for a long time- my aim is to replace all the things in my wardrobe with my own handwoven garments. I especially love working with a commercial warp and handspun weft, every row is a joy to see. Our 3rd book “GET WEAVING clothing from your rigid heddle loom” is out very soon and utilizes all the narrow looms. I love hearing what you guys have been making too! Check facebook/get weaving for updates, our blog and Happy Weaving to you all 🙂

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