A sewing client/friend found a piece of fabric folded up inside an old suitcase when they went to clear out the house of her cousin. The woman who originally bought it had been a traveler and a hoarder so it probably was tucked away for 20 years or more. Here is the card that was included with the fabric. I think the purchaser wrote the $ 23.98 on it, perhaps that was the amount it cost in dollars at that time. Note "frock length", this would be one itchy but warm dress!
Editing note: based on the comments so far I realize I wasn't clear on this project, I am making the jacket for the person who found this fabric during the house clean-out, so not for me. Despite the fact that it is definitely my color. I am on a jacket moratoriam for the time being :)
Of course getting my hands on the fabric plus this fantastic typewritten card sent me down the internet rabbit hole to do all kinds reading on Avoca Handweavers and their interesting story. They have a fantastic website and if you like fiber, wool, history, Ireland or any combination thereof you will enjoy it. Here is the link to their website for more loveliness.
The Story of Avoca from Avoca Ireland on Vimeo.
Have I said it before? I love Ireland! I guess in typical American fashion I am drawn to the lands of my ancestors, and both my paternal grandparents were born there. So green, so pretty, such great food and drink...you knew about the drink but yes, the food is fantastic also. I can't wait to go back and you can bet that the next time I will go to Avoca.
This fabric is so springy, so alive, if that makes any sense. There are lots of little wiggly fibers sticking out in the weave, and so far I have just let them be but perhaps they will need to be snipped off once the jacket is finished. If you look closely in the middle of the photo below you can just see one of these grey fibers. I have never worked with a handwoven fabric and it is a learning experience, the actual threads are larger than other wools, the edges to tend to fray but the weave is very tight and there are actually 3 colors going on in this, a royal blue, an aqua-y green and a grey that blend to make one of my favorite color combos.
Here is the pattern used for this jacket. Such a great basic pattern and I used the sleeve on my recent Burda wool tweed jacket. Useful ! Try to ignore the less than stellar illustration art. Those women look very grumpy.
I used Fashion Sewing Supply interfacing, the Pro-Weft Supreme Medium-weight Fusible which I find is perfect for most wools. And it helped to keep the edge fraying to a minumum. Conversely if I had decided to use silk organza underlining for the whole jacket I would have hand basted that along the seam lines and left it at that. Now for an editorial comment: step away from the serger! Once in a while I see a sewist has serged all their pieces for a garment prior to sewing it together, to overcome the fraying edges. eek! I would not do that as I am sure it would distort the shape of the pattern pieces or mess up the careful seam allowance I just cut out. Or slice off all the edge markings. Or something more dreadful, like inadvertently cut the fabric (which we all have done, right?) anyway to me a serger has almost no place on a lined garment. OK, off the soapbox for now :)
Being in a family of string-savers and old button-keepers I retain the selvedges of nice linings to use as stays in place of twill tape. Its basically free, very strong and yet soft so when you press the shoulder seam open it disappears. Plus any color will do.
This jacket is nearly done, I have the lining assembled and it is just ready for a try-on and final fitting before hemming.
I had a little buttonhole trauma before I made these as I originally tried to make them smaller. OF COURSE making test ones on scraps before the final versions and these were the smallest I could make that would be nice and even and flat. This fabric is so springy and when you get down to little 1/4" cuts such as on the inside corner of the buttonhole slice there was no way that it would not become a frayed little mess. So these are about 1 inch by .5 inch and I found some fantastic buttons as well. After the fact which is not how I usually do it but this time it was necessary. The sleeves are just basted on here in anticipation of the fitting.
So later next week I will have a finished jacket to show you. Meanwhile I am finishing my crafty worktable project and thinking about sewing a knit top.
Happy winter weekend, Beth