I used to sit and imagine how amazing it would be to weave fabric and then make that fabric into clothing. Today I learned that it feels even better than I had imagined. I made a little top today and about a month ago I wove the fabric. In theory, it's a simple shirt. A box top, made out of a cotton/linen gingham. It is a shape that is easily made and often seen. But man, this top is entirely mine.
I originally began the warp with the intention of making two pillow covers. They were to have patterned fronts, each with a different Monk's Belt variation, and gingham backs. As I was weaving, I quickly realized that I liked the plain gingham more than the patterned pieces. However, I continued on with my plan, if for no other reason than as an exercise to see how the patterns would progress. I finished that cloth. I was in love with the gingham and not as excited about the idea of making pillows with it as when I had begun. I was in no rush and just folded the fabric and put it away for a while. I eventually bought zippers and pulled out the piece to wash and finish. That's when I realized, thankfully, that I had lost the cord to my sewing machine during our move. This meant that I had to order a new one and was forced to think on the whole thing a little longer.
During that waiting period, #slowfashionoctober began, headed up by Karen Templer. My Instagram feed became full of amazing pieces of clothing and accessories that were well loved and thoughtfully crafted. I realized, why make something that I don't really want? I put the idea of making pillows to sleep (oh yes I did!) and woke up this morning with intent.
I'm still getting used to cutting my woven fabric and this was my first time sewing with it, so I decided on a style that would keep cuts and seams to a minimum. I wanted to highlight the gingham and use some of the Monk's Belt as an accent. I wanted the piece to be something that I would actually wear, which meant that it needed to have no fringe. Fringe is just simply not my cup of personal style preference tea. I also had to take into account that the piece of fabric was only 14 1/2" wide after washing. A crop top it would be. I don't like showing my midriff, but I do like a nice and high 11" rise on my jeans, so no harm there. I was pleased with the ease with which I took scissors to the fabric. I was pleased with how well the fabric took to the machine. I used bias tape to protect the cut edges inside and decided to leave the selvedge edges untouched.
And the result? I'm delighted. I'm already making a list of the things that I will do a little differently next time. I'm excited that it is no longer scary or a far fetched dream. I'm sitting here and can't get over the idea that I made a shirt. I made the entire thing, well ok, I didn't spin the fiber. And I'm not gonna lie, I'm super proud and pleased with myself. This is something that I have wanted to do for years and then today, it happened.