By way of avoiding making the muslin for the Stitch and Flip class that I must make, I deviated into curiosity about this material.
I bought it online years ago mainly because I was trying to get more red into my fabric diet and the price looked right. The description tagged it as “silk suiting”, the picture was misleading, and it was $6.99 ?? or so a yard, a price I now consider to be 2 or 3 times what it should have been tagged at.
The cloth arrived, stiff as a board and rough and glaring bright red/orange in a dizzying pattern, definitely not something I would have purchase had I been in a brick and mortar store. So it sat on the shelf. And I learned about choosing quality vendors and making better fabric choices…ah, yes, that.
So, back to the reason for this involvement: I was scattering about for a muslin fabric that had a stiff hand to match my soon-to-be-jacket’s firm hand and drape. This was certainly stiff enough and I thought I could use white threads to mark the various landmarks that a muslin requires with no intent to ever show it to anyone and therefore no need for it to be white. I rinsed it in the bathtub at The Stitchery and laid it to dry in the fencing in the shade. The rinse removed very little sizing, tons of dye, and it stunk! It was rougher than ever (being raw wild silk and all that is a reasonable result) so on a gamble I took it home to wash in a washing machine on very gentle and drying in a regular dryer.
Yes, that softened it up completely. I now feels like a gentle knit. And whereas it looked like a wonderfully jazzy, even African, piece of fabric before hand it now looks and feels like a hand knitted afghan. I don’t think I’ve ever had a silk change so much after gentle machine treatment.
One side up close:
The other side up close:
It’s too thick to use for a garment unless for a person of great stature and that I’m not. The vibrant red and orange is gone and I find it much easier to have around now. I may just use it as a throw.
Thick double threads and double cloth:
But it’s a great example of double woven cloth.
Last year I read an informative book about the connection between Joseph Marie Jacquard, his automated loom and the development of the computer. The Jacquard loom became a great source of French pride, a closely guarded state secret, providing a governmental subsidy to Joseph Marie in his later life.
The book, Jacquard’s Web: How a Hand-Loom Lead to the Birth of the Information Age is well-worth the spent reading and at the used price of $3.50 on Amazon you haven’t spent a lot of money to enjoy a true bit of historical irony that totally shapes our modern age today.
Without Jacquard’s poverty-driven desperation and punchcard loom and Charles Babbage’s self-financing, along with Lord Byron’s daughter, Ada Lovelace, you might not be reading this blog post right now.
Yes, that’s how miraculously woven this true tale is.
And it all started with a simple need to weave.
And I simply need to sew a muslin and resist the drive to make it a wearable garment…ahhhhhhhhhhhhh