Recently I saw a photo in which someone claimed they were wearing chambray and I wondered if they really were. I am a textile geek, after all, and I could see why someone would think that a fabric is one thing when it’s really something else. I wondered if the fabric in question was indeed chambray, or if it was denim.
Left: striped chambray
Chambray and denim are very similar in that the warp threads – the threads that are attached to the loom in weaving – are dyed threads, and the weft threads – the ones that come off the shuttle (I remember it by “weft goes left…and right”) – are white threads. And they’re both typically made of cotton.
Denim is typically a pretty thick canvas, but it can be very lightweight as well, it just depends on the gauge of the threads used. Chambray is typically lightweight.
This is a great blog post about denim, and it explains the structure of “the simplest example of a woven fabric” (which weavers call “plaino”) and the structure of a twill fabric (looks diagonal). Herein lies the fundamental difference between denim and chambray: Chambray is plaino weave – one over, one under, and denim is a twill weave, two over, one under.
Ultimately, I was concerned that the person was accidentally wearing an Albertan Tuxedo (denim jacket and jeans – a fashion I unwittingly adhered to for much of the 90s and early 2000s). If you want to go blue on blue, make sure you’ve got a chambray top and denim jeans – or vice versa.
I couldn’t think of a new skill I wanted to learn knitting- or crochet-wise as I’m a project-inspired crafter. I don’t typically seek to learn how to do something new until I’ve seen someone else’s project that makes me squeal and desperately want to do it.
But then I realised there is a skill I’m looking to learning; weaving. I know the very basics of weaving. I made a scarf for my mother out of bamboo and cotton a couple of years ago with the help of my friend and former silver smithing instructor who is a member of the local weavers’ and spinners’ guild, and then we had the looms donated to the costume shop and now I’ve woven the “Rainbow Brite” sash.
Picnik isn’t working today (I downloaded the latest Flash AND tried three different browsers) so I had to edit it in PAINT!
I learned a lot by this project alone as it’s the first one I warped without guidance (but I did have help). I still have a lot to learn about sett and tension and planning ahead, but I’m really happy with the results, and the person who is getting to wear it is excited by the prospect which is lovely too.
Happily, I got a weavers’ and spinners’ guild membership for Christmas and it comes into effect in May, so I’ll soon be able to pick the brains of people who have been doing this kind of thing for a really long time! And maybe they’ll help me stay on task with my spinning homework too…
Another craft. I’m starting a scarf for my mom for Christmas. The horizontal golds and green will be removed for fringe (they were just practise, it is my first woven piece. I’m doing the weft in a twill arrowhead pattern. I’m excited.
But…my Tilli Tomas yarn arrived and all I want to do right now is work on that.
And wish me luck; I’m going to start building my first real suit jacket today. And I’m not a tailor, that’s a whole other art-form, but everyone thinks I can do it…