Over the 30 plus years that my husband, Jim, and I have been together, I have made him a lot of shirts, vests, jackets, pants, and even a parka. Some of them, he really likes, and wears a lot, and some, well…. not so much, and even though I think that they look great on him, if he isn’t comfortable in it, he won’t wear it.
copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay
So, when I decided to weave a shirt for him to wear at his various festival gigs this summer (he’s a jazz musician), the first and most important criteria was to make it comfortable! It has to be a style that he likes (he likes ‘traditional’ shirts, not the ethnic styles that I like), and the fabric couldn’t be too wild (ahem, not like something that I would wear- very large grin accompanying this statement).
Jim’s a very gentle, laid back guy, and kind of shy, so he’s not into wearing stuff that is toooooooooo wild, although he does have a rather spectacular collection of ‘tractor’ shirts that our daughter and I have made for him over the years. (He loves his vintage tractor, and he loves making hay, so we keep our eyes open for fabric that has tractors on it. But, that’s another story.)
So, anyhow, when I decided to weave him a shirt, I had him choose the colors, and I warped up my Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom.
(I bought it from a friend on Ravelry). I wove a 4 meter length of fabric, and thought that it was toooooo bland.
So I warped up the next panel of 4 meters with a different, more striking arrangement of stripes, and I liked that a lot more.
These 2 pieces shrank from being 18 1/2 inches wide to 16 inches wide and got a 1/2 meter shorter after washing.
At first, I thought that I wasn’t going to use the first bland-ish piece so, I warped up my Peacock 2 harness table loom, and wove a 10 meter long piece of fabric, with the stripes going horizontally, instead of vertically.
But, when I laid it out, to start cutting it out, I realized that I needed the first chunk of fabric, too.
I had been pleading with Jim to let me puhleeeeeeeeeeeeeze put some embellishment on his shirt, so he said, okay and let me weave up a Celtic interlace for the collar, cuffs, and button band:
Last winter, I bought a lovely little heddle from Fred Hatton, and when I was weaving the Celtic interlace band, I couldn’t resist drawing rabbits on it and burning them on. The cradle loom is from the Vesterheim Museum
I had to piece the sleeves, so decided to get decorative with them, too, and wove another pair of bands to embellish the seams:
Of course, cutting out handwoven fabric is always a touch jittery….
I zig zag around each piece to keep it from fraying.
Sewing the shirt together was pure heaven! It went together just beautifully. This is a pattern Simplicity 2741 that I have used a lot, so I am very familiar with it. It’s a quick and easy shirt that looks great. (and is comfortable )
Every seam is stitched at least twice, and sometimes more, for stability. I used hem tape on the hem, and there are 6 lines of stitching alone at the hem. With handwoven fabrics, I tend to ‘oversew’ just for security.
So, tahdah! Here it is:
Here’s a closer shot of the sleeve:
and the collar:
Making this shirt for my beloved gave me the opportunity to pour a whole ton of love into a physical object that will wrap him in my love, appreciation and gratitude. Truly, there is love in EVERY stitch!!!!
And, if he finds that it’s not comfie, well then, I’ll wear it!
(But he does say that he likes it, so I hope it will be a pleasure for him to wear it and make beautiful music in it!)