Designer notes

The story of the Kantha fabric for a jacket began in 2008 in India by Virginia.

I went on a Textile Tour to Gujarat and parts of Rajasthan; we visited some wonderful places and visited families, some hand weaving the most super fine silk double ikat sari fabric, others hand weaving wool then tie dying the fabric for scarves, wraps and garments. In villages we saw mirror, cross stitch, chain stitch embroidery, also block printing and tie dyeing workshops, the most amazing textiles that are still being created and then we visited the wonderful Calico Textile Museum in Ahmadabad.

I fell in love with the very simple style of Kantha stitch; a way of creating yet another embroidery design element into a cloth using rows of running stitch. Kantha stitch grew from the necessity of the poor to be able to recycle old clothes and rags into new garments and household goods. Over hundreds of years the designs have become quite intricate but what drew me were the simple straight lines of running stitch.

I am a handloom weaver not an embroiderer and it took some years before I accidentally created the ‘running stitch’ effect on my loom, it had always been in the back of my mind and suddenly there it was in a piece I had designed and woven for an Art Deco Exhibition in 2014.

After finishing that piece which had white ground and black accent weave, I wove a sample in dark coloured ground weave with bright coloured accent weave just to see the effect, I was happy with the result so have created the fabric for jacket fronts, using black wool yarn as the ground weave and the beautiful, brilliant colours of India which I have hand dyed in silk yarn as my accent weave in my interpretation of Kantha embroidery.

I have now handed the fabric over to Pat for her to create a one off garment.

Virginia Harrison


Designer notes: Garment Construction Process by Pat

As a dressmaker it is my pleasure to make up the fabrics woven by Virginia and Christina for the ‘Creation to Collection’ exhibitions.

Each piece of fabric is designed and hand-woven individually which means each one is a very special piece.

Once the exhibit date is set we have early discussions on colour forecasts and select a range of colours for the exhibition. We then look at weave structures and the type of articles/garments we all want in the display.

Virginia and Christina produce woven samples and we select different colours and weave structures to suit items for the exhibition.

The fabric is then woven and finished.

Before cutting the fabric I make a pattern and make up the garment in calico to make sure it is the shape and fit we want.

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Any alterations are made and the fabric is ready for cutting. Before cutting out, however, I need to decide on the type of seam that is best for the weave structure and garment type. Hand woven fabric can react differently to commercially produced fabric. I often try out a few different seam types before finally cutting the garment out of the hand-woven fabric. If interfacing is needed that also needs to be selected carefully to suit the weight of the fabric so that it gives stability without changing the drape of the fabric. Once the garment is completed it needs to be carefully pressed and hung ready for exhibition.

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Pat Jones


Designer notes: Handwoven Moire by Christina

Textiles, particularly weaving, has dominated my creative expression for many decades.

Over that time I have sought to fuse the technical and the arts in the making of functional items that are both beautiful and a pleasure to wear.

After all these years as a weaver, I remain delighted to employ the mechanics of the loom to interlock yarns to produce items of warmth, texture, pattern and colour for humans.

As a weaver I feel connected with millennia of humanity as I have explored the history of weaving through centuries and cultures to gain an understanding of the importance of textiles to humanity.

I love the appearance of the fabric called Moire, the interplay of light, shade and shadow which shimmers as it moves is lovely to observe, and looks great to wear.

moire large format

The first moire was made in China as early as the third century BC as the imperial household had had its own silk workshops. In the 1850’s the clothing designer Worth used beaded embroidery to further enhance the cloth for the ladies of court to show off their wealth and position. Silk was the yarn of choice, to make the fabric, although in modern times other shiny fibres mostly man made have become prevalent.

Moire is commonly made by a technique called calendaring. This finishing process gives the fabric its shimmering wave like appearance. The fabric is folded and passed under ribbed rollers at high pressure and temperature, the differential pressure from the pattern on the rollers creates the effect by crushing some of the threads within the fabric.

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Of course I do not have that sort of equipment, but I came upon an article which suggested you could create the moire effect in a handwoven cloth, which is where I really started to think about the possibilities.

After a series of experiments I produced a cloth that was durable and would drape nicely as either a garment, wrap or scarf. I used a mixture of wool and silk to obtain a fabric that would shimmer, and also be comfortable to wear.

Christina Turner

Plush! 2016