Too many samples?

20 February 2007

No one has asked why I’ve been making so many samples lately. Well I’m now making
in addition to the scarves.
I wanted something that fits into people’s wardrobe, special but at a reasonable and just price. I decided, years ago, when I was making handwoven clothing that it was not a good idea for me to try to sew garments for sale. I had read in a trade publication that industry could sew a pair of women’s pants in 20 minutes. Here is a video of how sturdy jeans are made in 13 minutes. I knew that it would take me 2 hours to make the same pair of pants so if I wanted to make the same hourly wage as the industrial worker it would cost 6 times as much if I did the sewing on my home machine. How did me sewing them make them better, especially 6 times better, to justify the increased cost? My answer was that it didn’t.
So I wanted the jackets made with industrial sewing techniques but I wanted to dye them to make them special. This is a process called garment dyeing. It is not easy to construct a garment that will dye well after it is made. T-shirts are garment dyed but they are very simple. Thread and fabric must be the same fiber, no interfacing. Different number of layers of fabric in seams can make the dye take up different. I wanted to try making a jacket for garment dyeing and I started in October designing.
The design and fabric interact and must be developed together and then the assembled garment must be dyed to see what the successes and failures are. I went through 3 different fabrics before I found one that worked. Many jackets and parts of jackets were made and dyed. I finally had success with a lightweight silk noil.
Here you can see an early version of the jacket in this silk noil.
early greige jacket.jpg
early greige jacket back.jpg
The cuffs have since evolved and there is now more topstitching on the bands. Once the design and fabric were finalized it was time to talk to a cut and sew shop to see if they could make them a sample and about schedule. Then make a production quality pattern and grade it. We are making sizes S, M, L, XL. Well the jackets are now made and we are dyeing them based on all the samples I have made. I will show you the finished jackets daily, as I get ready for the West Palm Beach Fine Craft Show.

A few last samples.
icicles sample.jpg
A black white that looks like icicles to me, but that could be a product of the local weather.
4 layers purple.jpg
These 4 pieces were layered and then pole wraped, not smooth but with tucks and twists. The goal was to see how many layers of this cloth the discharge and dye would penetrate.


One Response to “Too many samples?”

  1. glennis Says:

    how exciting! i’m always impressed by your skills and look forward to seeing the finished product.


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