The never ending silk recycling is finally woven

The never ending silk recycling is finally woven

The silk recycling is woven, it’s all done, finished, tutto finito bandito! I actually ran out of the red and orange silk so for the last little bit I had to dig in the bag and retrieve some matching silk with blue, red and orange. It looks just fine. Once the weaving was done I hem stitched the edge, wove in any loose warp threads and washed the yardage.

The whole mass went into the washing machine on a regular cycle, in cool water with my usual detergent. This is the way I plan on washing the finished jacket. I also did this to release any dyes that are lurking in the silk. The jacket will probably bleed dye for the rest of its life because some dyers do not set the dye in silk. The cotton warp took on a slight pinkish tint, so that helped to level the overall look of the fabric.

I plan to hang dry the jacket, so the material was taken outside to hand dry and freshen in sunlight. This proved a tiny bit problematic. The fabric was really, really heavy when wet. This is also when the light began to dawn that this was not, I repeat not, just a four yard warp. I left the fabric to dry on the railing overnight, where it promptly froze into position. Freeze drying works too, so two days later, in it came.

I was able to measure and confirm that this was clearly a massive piece of fabric. Originally, the warp was estimated to be ‘maybe’ 4 yds or 3.5 meters. It was purchased at an estate sale from one of our guild’s best weavers, but the labels fell off and things got a bit muddled when best efforts were at hand. I knew I was taking a risk, even getting it on the loom was a challenge, but I have no regrets. The length proved a great surprise and reward at the same time. It also explains why I ran out of weaving material. There are 8 yards or 7.5 meters, plenty here to make two jackets if I’m careful!

The final product is gorgeous. It just shimmers in the right light and I really want to do it justice. Even though it is a recycled product, or maybe because it is recycled, it’s important that the final result show the very best characteristics of the fibres that have gone into making it.

Our guild has an amazing resource for researching just about anything fibre related. Jan is our librarian. She is the lead book slinger in our heavy rental group called Jan and the Librarians; they have sessions once a month at the guild. I joined in last weekend and Jan supplied me with my requests for information on Japanese clothes, braids and ‘Saori’ weaving.

Japanese clothes design save weavers from the angst of having to cut their beloved fabric. The patterns are usually straightforward, basic, and interesting. I qualified this statement with ‘usually straightforward’ because I had never seen Saori weaving before nor the clothes that have been designed to use the material woven on a Saori loom. the book is in Japanese, the patterns are like origami on crack and they fascinate me endlessly. Until I can figure out the patterns I opted for a very conservative jimbei pattern from the jacket my son lent me. There are examples of simple patterns in one of the books.

This jimbei is meant for hot summer days. The sides are not stitched close but fastened with a cable stitch or stitched close with a decorative embroidery stitch. The underarm is left open, again for summer comfort.

The front is loosely tied or left open as preferred. I was interested in the reinforcement used at the bottom of the sides. These were the same reinforcements I found on the kimonos, so they clearly work.

The female version of this simple jacket has a closed wrist. It’s called a hippari. I might do one of these for winter if I have enough material left. The photos of the jimbei and hippari are from “Make your own Japanese Clothes” by John Marshall ISBN 0-870110865-X, I really enjoyed reading this book, lots of ideas for ways to incorporate the Japanese style into my life.

There are so many new things I will need to explore once I decide to start sewing this jacket. I’m really looking forward to getting the sewing machine out again.


9 thoughts on “The never ending silk recycling is finally woven

  1. What a beautiful piece of cloth! It would be great if you could get 2 jackets from it, but whatever you achieve we are really looking forward to seeing some photos.

  2. This fabric is gorgeous and what a surprise to have much more fabric than anticipated. Even if you don’t have enough for another jacket, you could use it for a bag or another accessory. Good for you on weaving it up and I’m looking forward to the next chapter, sewing machine here you go!

    1. Ann you may need to borrow the Saori book next! it realy is like oragami for fabric on crak! realy quite ingenious construction with little cutting.

  3. Love it Bernadette and the idea of freeze drying made me chuckle! I love the fabric! Can I ask what width it is. I look forward to seeing the finished jacket(s).

    1. Yes, of course. It’s 17 inches or 43 cm wide, but surprisingly stretchy. I can pull it two inches or nearly 5 cm, which will make for a very comfortable jacket. The fabric hasn’t been pressed after the washing. Each panel of the jimbei is 16.5 inches or 42 cm wide. I should have enough width of accommodate my copious bottom.

  4. i am so glad that the guild library could help you!! there are a number of good books on Post weaving (Sewing) in hopes to intice the weavers to be brave and pick up sizors!
    your fabric looks like it vary much want to be a jacket and keep you warm while looking cool! i am looking forword to seeing the next steps towords clothing!

    1. Those books have opened a whole other set of skills that I might need to learn. I know how to sew, but I might need to learn knot making and braiding to make a really nice cord for a closure. Who knew that this project was going to bring so much interest to my life. Love the learning curve, and thank you for your help Jan, much appreciated.

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