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July 2019 Newsletter

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Channeling Chanel in a Handwoven Pleated Skirt

Chanel tweed—this iconic fabric rose to fame in the 1920s when Coco Chanel commissioned fabric from a Scottish textile manufacturer. She then used it in her line of jackets, blazers, and skirts. To this day, Chanel still uses these classic textiles in their collections

When Anzula asked me to try out their new yarn Dottie, I wove some samples. The black tweedy flecks made a beautiful textured fabric that immediately reminded me of Chanel. With my love of fashion, and a desire to create garments that are beyond “loom-shaped,” I decided to make a handwoven pleated skirt. While a Chanel-inspired jacket would have been fun, I wanted to create a project that even a beginner could handle!

The skirt is completely customizable as far as sizing and length goes. The pleats are approximately 3″ wide, which meant I needed to weave 9″ of fabric per pleat. (Of course this measurement shrinks a little after washing, but it gave me a good baseline.) Also, since I was set on using a small loom, my fabric was going to be woven in two panels, then seamed along one selvedge. My warp was about 15.5″ wide, which after seaming and washing gave me about 28″ of length. You can increase or decrease the weaving width to create the length of skirt you want. Calculate 9″ of woven fabric for each 3″ of the finished waist measurement.

Multiple yarns and colors in the warp and the weft make a visually interesting fabric, full of tonal depth and texture. The pleats themselves also create an exciting runway moment—since the interior color differs from the exterior color, gold peeks out from under the blue as the wearer walks. If I were sewing this skirt from commercial fabric, I’d have to piece it together from different colored strips. Handweaving let me weave the color into the fabric. I wove 3″ of blue, then 6″ of gold, using a template that sat along the outside edge of my weaving. I tracked the number of 9″ sections so I could make two identical panels.

Once both panels came off the loom, I lined up the stripes and hand-sewed them together along one long edge. Then I formed the pleats, laying the right edge of a blue stripe on top of the right edge of a gold stripe. I hand-tacked the pleats for 4″, measured down from the waist edge. Then, with right sides together, I hand-sewed a side seam, leaving a 4″ opening at the waistband edge to accommodate a closure. I made a small rope (using a single strand) in the blue yarns using our Incredible Rope Machine, and laced it through each side of the 4″ opening to cinch it closed. For an on-trend flair, I added a tassel to each end of the rope. These tassels also prevent the rope ends from working their way out of the fabric.

 

My sewing machine only came out for the asymmetrical hem: I ran a line of stitching around the bottom edge, cut the fabric about 1.5″ below that line, and frayed the hem. I then hand-washed the skirt, laid it flat to dry, and pressed the pleats all the way down their length for a crisp finish.

Here are instructions for the sample shown:

Finished size: 28–30″ waist circumference x 22–28″ length
To customize the waist size, allow 9″ of woven fabric per 3″ of waist (before shrinkage). Be sure to replicate the stripes for each panel. To customize the length, take the total length (before shrinkage) and divide by two—this number is your weaving width.

Yarn:

  • Anzula Dottie (fingering weight, 80% superwash merino, 17% acrylic, 3% polyester, 420 yards per skein), 3 skeins Echo and 2 skeins Toffee.
  • Anzula Luster (fingering weight, 50% superwash merino, 50% tussah silk, 405 yards per skein), 1 skein each Nimbus and Toffee.

Warp: 728 yards of Dottie in Echo, 364 yards of Luster in Nimbus.

Weft: 364 yards of Dottie in Echo, 484 yards of Dottie in Toffee, 242 yards of Luster in Toffee.

Equipment: 20″ Flip loom, 10-dent reed, two 24″ stick shuttles.

Number of warp ends: Dottie 104, Luster 52

Warp length: 7 yards

Width in reed: 15.5″

EPI: 10

PPI: 10

Warping method: Direct warping with a warping peg

Warp order: 4 ends of Dottie in Echo, 2 ends of Luster in Nimbus repeated across the warp.

Weave structure: Plain weave

Weaving: Begin with 1.5″ of Dottie in Echo for seam allowance. Pleat repeat: Weave 3″ of Dottie in Echo, then weave 6″ in stripes: 4 picks of Dottie in Toffee and 2 picks of Luster in Toffee. Repeat the pleats for about 90″, then weave another 1.5″ of Dottie in Echo for seam allowance. Leave a 2″-4″ gap in the warp and weave a second identical panel.

 

Finishing: Hand-sew the two panels together and create the pleats as described above—hand-sewing is preferable to machine-sewing here. Lay the short edges together, right sides facing, and sew a side seam by machine or by hand from the hem edge to about 4″ below the waist edge (the opening should be as long or slightly longer than the hand-tacking on the pleats). Make a rope about 24″ long for the closure and lace through each edge of the fabric above the side seam. Add tassels to each end of the rope. Optional: Machine-sew an asymmetrical hem line along one long edge of fabric; cut about 1.5″ below the line and fray the edges. Hand-wash the fabric, allow to air dry, and press pleats with an iron on the wool setting to set the fold.

About Anzula Luxury Fibers

Anzula is located in Downtown Fresno, California. We are passionate about good yarn and vibrant colors. Our team hand-dyes yarn and fibers made from the most luxurious fibers in the world like cashmere, camel, tussah silk, linen, merino, targhee, tencel, alpaca, yak, and milk protein. Our intense love of knitting, crocheting, weaving has lead us to create over 140 stunning colorways, all of which are available in every yarn base we offer.

Fab 50 Vendors!

We are just over 2 months away from our Fab 50 party here at the factory, and we cannot wait celebrate with everyone! Keen observers might have noticed this update a few weeks ago, but we recently announced the select group of vendors who will be participating in our small market.

Here’s our list of vendors, and a little but more about them!

Brown Sheep Company

Brown Sheep Company, Inc. is a family owned and operated yarn spinning mill, located in Mitchell, NE. Makers of the ever popular Nature Spun yarn.

Handweavers Guild of Boulder

The Handweavers Guild of Boulder was founded in 1964 by a small group of Boulder women dedicated to the art of hand weaving. Three years later, in 1967, the official name of Handweavers Guild of Boulder was adopted together with a set of by-laws still in use today.

The Hummingbird Moon

“Here at the Hummingbird Moon I love to create bright, magical and unique colorways on super soft yarn and wool rovings. When I’m not creating new colorways on fiber, you can find me at my spinning wheel making more magic or sitting by the mountains with my knitting needles and some yarn.”

Northern Colorado Weavers Guild

We are a nonprofit group dedicated to sharing knowledge and skills in all aspects of the fiber arts. Our group was founded as an educational guild in 1973. The first meeting was held at a member’s home in Fort Collins, with 27 people attending. Today, the Guild has approximately 120 members.

Phoenix Fiber Mill

Family owned farm in Colorado specializing in Alpacas and alpaca products such as fiber, yarn, and socks.

Sunshine Yarns

Based in Boulder, CO and the beautiful outdoors, Sunshine Yarns dyes some of the highest quality wools, silks and cashmere blends that are perfect for the avid handknitter or handspinner. We have a huge range of unique colors that will make your knitting experience one-of-a-kind.

Thrums Books and Cloth Roads

Thrums Books is part of a business collective which also includes both its parent company, Thrums LLC, and its sister company, ClothRoads, a global textile purveyor.

Those of us involved in these endeavors worked together at Interweave Press for many years, honing our skills and forging a tight-knit team. The years have taken us in different directions, but the core relationships remain, and the core commitment to supporting indigenous textile artisans worldwide. Some of us make books, some of us source and sell wonderful cloth. Words and threads. It’s all in aid of helping sustain time-honored traditions.

Treenway Silks

Your silk experts and hand-dyeing specialists since 1977, Treenway Silks offers the most diverse selection of high-quality silk fibers available, which we hand-dye in a rainbow of colors.

Yampa Valley Fiberworks

We mill natural fibers for customers all over the world. Our small batch processing is done with care and craftsmanship. We’re universally referred to as a wool mill, but we specialize in wool, alpaca, llama, mohair, and angora natural fibers. Our goal is to make the entire experience easy and enjoyable – from receiving your unprocessed fibers to shipping your finished products. Our finished yarns are second to none in quality and craftsmanship. Yampa Valley FiberWorks is dedicated to regional sheep farming, environmental cohesiveness, and keeping the natural fiber milling industry alive and well in the Yampa Valley.

Wild Lily Fiber

I seek out the very best fleece and fiber I can find – and it is my delight to share it with you – along with the stories of the animals and people I meet along the way.

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