Posts Tagged With: yellow/orange/red aprondress

Norse Garb – Documentation

So, the Norse garb went over well.  I forgot to take a picture, so I’ll have to get one later.  But for those who are interested, here’s a link to my documentation.

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Wool Aprondress Finished

The aprondress is finished!


Finished aprondress

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Linen Underdress Finished

I know I haven’t posted in quite a while, but I have been busily sewing.  And now, the linen underdress is finished!

This gives me just under two weeks to finish the aprondress, coif, and fine tune my documentation.  Good grief!


Finished underdress

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Sewing the Linen Underdress

I realized that I haven’t updated about my Norse garb in a while.

I was almost out of my usual linen sewing thread.  Rather than wait for more I’ve decided to sew the dress in the same linen thread I used to weave it, waxed with beeswax.  The neck opening is finished, the sleeves are ready to go on, and I am in the process of adding the gores. So far, so good.

A friend has offered to pick up brooches to go with the dress while at Pennsic, so that’s taken care of.   I’m debating buying some beads to hang off the front as well as well but I’m not sure if that’s necessary.

I’m still trying to decide what to sew the apron dress with.  I read somewhere that for Norse, linen should be sewn with linen and wool with wool.  I don’t have any wool sewing thread, and I don’t want to use knitting yarn.  I have some perfect yellow linen sewing thread.  Another option is to buy silk thread – but would silk thread have been used on wool, or would the linen be okay.

Back to the books!

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Wool Fabric Finished

The wool fabric is done! 6.17 yards at 23″ wide.

Before Washing

Before washing

To finish the fabric before cutting, I ran it though the washer/dryer on the delicate cycle. It now measures 5.31 yards at 20″ wide, meaning approximately 16% shrinkage in length and 15% in width. I estimated 13% and 15% respectively, which means I’m right on target for the width. A bit shorter won’t matter.

After Washing

After washing - the wool has fulled and is thicker.

What I have learned so far in this project

I didn’t have any fraying issues on my sample, but I definitely did on my actual yardage. I think part of the issue was weaknesses in the yarn itself (there were some finer/looser spun patches), and part of the issue was the increased width meaning more take up. I had more tension on the warp, too, because I couldn’t just pass the shuttle through and therefore had to support its weight. I’ve never woven with wool before, so I’m not sure if this is common problem or just a deficiency of this yarn. I think this might be more a problem with this yarn than anything else since I am using cheap knitting yarn.

I am attributing the root cause of all of my problems in this project so far as inexperience with the materials. I’ve never woven with wool before, let alone this wool. If I had, I might have anticipated my problems and taken steps to prevent them.

I chose this yarn because when I ordered the yarn for my samples the price was much cheaper than that of Harrisville Shetland. Unfortunately, Knitpicks raised their prices (almost doubled them!) before I ordered the yarn for the project itself. It was still cheaper, but not by nearly as much (around $50 less, compared to the over $100 less when I was planning the project). I’d like to try another project in the palette yarn but soaking the warp in sizing first and using a temple. After all, it comes in over 100 shades, the finished fabric turns out nicely, and it still is cheaper. If it behaves well with these extra steps it might still be worthwhile to use it again. I haven’t worked with the Harrisville Shetland before either, so I’d like to try a project in that as well to compare. If it behaves much better and I like the finished fabric it may be worth the extra cost just to save myself the frustration.

All in all I am satisfied with the end result. The problems are all in the selvedges so it won’t show in the finished garment (unless you check my seams).

I also learned that some of my odd warp stretching problems can be solved by keeping the door to the craft room closed.


Horrible beastie!

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Aprondress Pattern: The Final Pattern

I had planned my pattern, then changed it.

So, here is my final final pattern.  It has to be – I’m about to start weaving the gore panels.


Final pattern

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Aprondress Pattern: Rethinking the Gores

I’ve been working on cleaning up the documentation for my apron dress, and it’s lead me to rethink my bias-to-bias gores.

The aprondress fragment at Haithabu is described as ‘such as the clothing of the Danish Queen Margareta,’  which is flared.  I’m arguing that the Greenland gowns (also Norse, also the same era), use gores – so gores are okay.  I pulled out the book to cite my source, and upon flipping through realizes that, really, all the dresses use bias-to-straight construction.

So I’m altering my pattern… yes, again.

It means I need to weave an extra 4 or 5″ of orange on the ends of my gore pieces.  I’m sure glad I haven’t woven them yet.

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Aprondress Pattern: Now With More Pattern

Edit: This pattern has since been modified.  See the newer version here.

A couple of people have requested the actual pattern for my Norse aprondress, so I’m including it here.

To see a photo of my mock-up, as well as my research, go to this post.

I modified the pattern to use gores rather than the curved seams used in the Margareta gown in order to reduce the amount of fabric waste.

I’ve since made some modifications from my mockup to the pattern. 

I am not attaching the gores straight-edge to straight-edge.  I did this for design considerations of the fabric stripes along the hem.  This should also eliminate any potential puckering of the straight to bias seam.  In order to prevent stretching on the bias-to-bias seam, I plan on doing a tablet-woven seam to reinforce it.  Since the Margareta gown uses curved seams (integral gores?), they would also be bias-to-bias.

The finished pattern will require approximately 5 yards at 20″ wide (four 44″ long panels).  Narrower widths are easier to weave, and I can use the selvedges as much as possible to avoid fraying edges.


The pattern

As you can see,  I made the gore fabric a little longer to avoid stripes at the tops of the triangles.  This caused some fabric waste, but I felt it was better from a design perspective.  Since I’m weaving the fabric myself, I have absolute control over the placement, spacing, and width of the stripes.

The garment itself is incredibly simple.  Two rectangular body panels and two triangular gores.


The construction

I have placed the shoulder straps closer together on the back than in the front.  I found this placement more comfortable, and kept the straps from slipping off my shoulders.  I may modify this placement once I try the actual wool dress on, as the material will be much heavier.


Strap placement

The Haithabu fragment had a dart in it, and I will likely add the same to the side backs to improve the fit.

Of course, all of this will depend on how the finished fabric turns out, and how the garment feels/fits once I have it on.

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Another Learning Experience

And here’s where experience trumps book learning.

Everything I had read said to use the reed with the dent closest to the sett you intend to use, so I warped up my 15 epi wool with a 15 epi reed.

The selvedges frayed.  Badly.  I was breaking threads five inches in. Sizing didn’t help.

Frayed Selvedge

Frayed selvedge

It’s funny.  I had no evidence of fraying on my sample piece.  Then again, I did that in a 10 dent reed.

So, to reduce friction I’m we threading at 15 epi in a 10 dent reed.  I also added a doubled warp thread on each side to the last end (effectively tripling the last thread).

Reed Changeover

Changing the reed

Better Selvedge

Much better!

I’m glad I added an extra yard to my warp just in case.  :)

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Warping the Loom

In case you are interested, here is the procedure I used to warp my loom.

The following may be helpful:

1) Winding the warp

The goal here is to produce many lengths of yarn that are all exactly the same length. Using a warping board, I wind the threads back and forth. Near the top, I create a cross – this keeps all the threads in order.


The warp on the board

I do this in batches, so the warp doesn’t slip off the pegs. When removing the warp from the frame, I first add ties to preserve the cross and then wind the length into a basic crochet chain to keep things from tangling.


The warp ready for the loom

2) Prereeding

Rather than using a raddle, the process uses the reed to ensure that the warp is spaced correctly before winding it on the beam.  I use lease sticks to preserve the cross.



3) Beaming the warp

The warp is attached to the back beam while still threaded through the reed and lease sticks. This is made easy by the fact that the ends here are all loops – I just thread the stick through the loops and attach it to the warp beam. The warp then goes over the back beam, through the lease sticks, through the reed, and over the breast beam, around the foot beam, and up over the warping trapeze. This step requires an additional person, or a warping trapeze, to provide tension on the warp while it is being wound. I have the parts for a trapeze, but it’s not built yet.

I then wind the warp onto the back warp beam (inserting beaming sticks as I go), leaving enough at the front to thread through the heddles.

Beamed Warp

Beamed warp

4) Threading the heddles

This is fairly self-explanatory. The pattern I intend to weave determines the number of shafts and the pattern the heddles on those shafts should be threaded. The shafts are held steady in temporary holders.


Threaded heddles

5) Sleying the reed and tying up

The reed is threaded (or sleyed) in order to achieve a particular number of threads per inch. The sett of this yarn is 15 ends per inch. It’s usually a good idea to try to have as few threads per dent as your reed collection will allow. I happen to have a 15 dent reed, so that’s one I’ll use. The lease sticks are removed and the warp is then attached to the front cloth beam with as even tension as possible.

Tied up

Tied up to the front beam

6) Countermarche tie-up

The countermarche controls the raising and lowering of the shafts. The countermarche unit it placed on top of the loom and the cords are attached to the shafts and lamms.


The vertical countermarche system

7) Treadle tie up

After this, the lamms are attached to the treadles. The short lamms control ‘down’ and the long lamms control ‘up’. For each treadle, one lamm per shaft is attached to the treadle (either a ‘down’ or an ‘up’). That means that when a treadle is pressed, all of the shafts move.


Lamms and treadles

8) Final adjustments

All that remains is to ensure that the shed is nice and even. If I was careful in the previous steps this shouldn’t need too much adjustment.


A good clean shed. If this is out of alignment the shuttle will catch.

I do a sample of the pattern in a contrasting colour to make sure everything is threaded correctly. I am now ready to weave.


Ready to go!

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