Inkle Woven Skirt Band
I had an upcoming Pick-up Inkle weaving workshop and wanted to have a “working” sample to show the participants how their finished bands could be used. I decided on weaving a band using a Pick-Up technique they would be learning in class. I wanted to use the band to sew to the hem of a skirt, and I have the perfect skirt pattern that calls for trim in lieu of a hem. My first instinct was to use a weaving pattern that will be in the workshop handout, but I’ve woven that band a dozen times and I planned to have this finished before the workshop. That’s when I saw a beautiful band posted on Facebook. It looked familiar, and when the author of the post mentioned it was in a book I had, I knew I had to weave it. I found my future skirt band.
I re-charted the warping draft and the weaving draft so I could read it without magnification (a practice I highly recommend). I used a crochet cotton that I’ve found very useful for band weaving. It’s called Curio, it’s soft and has a lot of yardage. This is a Baltic style band. The pattern threads are warped alternately with two background threads between them, and present a speckled pattern when woven tabby/plain. The weaving pattern has an 18 row repeat, and after weaving the second repeat, I found it moved smoothly if a tad slower than I anticipated. I really enjoyed weaving this band, but it became obvious with my other commitments, an illness I was fighting and the slow weaving this pattern presented – I wasn’t going to use this for a sample in my workshop, but as a demonstration piece. The participants were very gracious and never mentioned the fact that I was demonstrating on a pattern they weren’t going to use. The band itself is quite lovely and while my selvages are a bit sloppy, I’m certain it will be a “Working” sample for my next workshop in a couple of weeks.
When I finally finished this band, I was mostly happy with it. I knew that I had to finish it properly since it’ll be attached to a garment. Reading the yarn requirements, I need to Hand Wash / Dry Flat. So I gave this band a good soak in tap water with no detergent, but I know I will dry the skirt it will be attached to in the dryer. This is when my experience as a seamstress tells me to treat my fabric and trim as it will be treated once it becomes a garment. So I rolled the wet band in a towel and squeezed the excess water from it, then I put it in a garment bag and threw it in the dryer. I pressed it flat with a hot iron once it was dry from the wrong side to avoid flattening the design. I was chewing my nails the whole time it was in the dryer, but I’m glad I did it. I lost 8 inches to shrinkage. It would have shrunk no matter what; had I applied that trim to my skirt and it shrunk I would have had a mess. It would have shrunk and buckled and puckered the hem of my skirt. I would have had to remove it and re-sew it, and since it would have been cut, I would have had to patch another piece to it.
One thing I would change about this band if I had it to over again is the background pattern. I think I look at the lovely pick up pattern in a book and focus on it, ignoring what’s going on around it (or more aptly, ignoring what’s NOT going on around it). I would have added some design to the background that flanks the main pattern. A nice chain design, bars or some checks would have livened up this band a little and increased its width. It’s so easy to add these design elements to our bands, and it makes them more “our own” creation. These designs are woven tabby/plain and the only work to them is charting and warping them. They appear automatically when we weave. I also would have liked this band to be 1/4 inch wider, and those selvages to be crisper. One problem with selvages is how much time I spend weaving in each session. If I sit and weave for quite a while, then my selvages are straighter. However, if I only weave a short amount at a time, they are more wavy. I finished the weaving by securing the weft in the second to the last pick. I made and posted a video of this last week, and it can be found on the Videos page on my site and YouTube. Now on to constructing the skirt and applying this trim.