Over the next few weeks I will be sharing a few project scenarios for our Pin-Loom Garment 2023 (PLG23) weaving challenge. It does not mean that I’ll be making them all this year, but it is my hope that some ideas may be useful for your planning efforts.
The first example is the “White Fitted Coat” from the Vintage pattern booklet “Weave-It Book Five” (Donar Products, Medford, MA, 1937; available on the eloomanation website), a garment that has captured my interest for a long time. While the design is timeless, everything else in this project requires modifications. Here are a few things to consider …
If you’re a knitter, you are most likely familiar with contemporary “size inclusive” patterns for chest sizes ranging from 30″ to 70″ or more.
Not so 90 years ago! Pin-loomVintage patterns typically come in one size, and no measurements are given.
Also, at that time, basic garment sewing skills were common. To adjust the size, the pattern for the White Fitted Coat reads “Note that the dotted lines down the back make a fitted back. The size of [the] darts is governed by the size of [the] individual to be fitted.”
In other words: The pattern provides a starting point, but you will need to make adjustments to make it “fit”.
A good first step is to calculate how big the pattern pieces measure. Use the measurements of your sample weavie for your estimate … it doesn’t have to be precise at this point.
The squares in the pattern are laid out nicely in rows and columns. It will be easy to add to the pattern to make it your size … each additional row or column will add about 4″.
I know that I’m not as slim (in any direction) as the models in “Book Five”, so I probably have to add two columns to the back and one to each front, for a total of 52 squares, and my darts will probably be more on the tiny side.
The sleeves are raglan style, I may have to add one diagonal row of six squares per sleeve.
I’ll definitely get some extra yarn to make sure that I’ll have enough …
If you are not sure about pattern modifications for your project, please feel free to contact me. And … we can learn from each other, which is part of the reason to make this a group challenge!
Surprisingly, Weave-It looms are still readily available at online selling platforms like ebay, and also at thrift stores and yard sales.
Over the years, different companies have been offerig looms with the 3-pin group layout that is unique to the Weave-It weaving method, which gives you the option to “buy new”.
I will use the original “Weave-It Jr.” to weave the smaller 2″ squares that the pattern asks for, and I plan to use a contemporary loom, the Schacht Zoom loom, to weave the 4-inch squares.
Don’t get spooked by the materials list that only reads “22 1-oz. balls Germantown”. 90 years ago, there was no Craft Yarn Council, and the variety of yarns was small enough that crafters “just knew” what to get. Germantown for example is not a particular yarn but means “good quality worsted spun wool from Germantown, Pennsylvania” (source: https://germantownyarn.com/pages/about).
Out of curiosity I sampled a few Vintage “Germantown” wools that I found on ebay and on Ravelry. While those fibers still weave up well, I decided against using them for the project because of concerns about the feel of the fabric (particularly after blocking), colorfastness, and fabric integrity.
However, you can easily substitute and use any yarn that you see fit. I chose to keep the tradition of using Germantown: The Kelbourne Woolens company decided to revive Germantown a few years back, and that means that for my “Fitted White Coat” I will be able to use new Germantown wool in the old traditional sense.
Pattern, equipment, and materials are decided.
In the next blog I will apply those findings to my project plan and work out the details … I hope you’ll be joining me for that!
Please tell me in the comments section what you think of this post … is this useful? What other questions would you like me to write about?