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I love making sustainable choices when it comes to clothes. Fast fashion is polluting the planet, so I am all for mending and upcycling instead of throwing away. But what happens when you get a hole in a garment? Well I would say mend it. And with this tutorial on how to use a Speedweve loom today, you can do that too!
Visible mending is very much in fashion. And that is brilliant as far as I am concerned. I love that there is a trend to show off your clothes sewing mends and show how much you care enough about your clothes to keep them going as long as possible. So read on to see how a Speedweve can help you do just this.
How To Use A Speedweve Loom To Mend Holes In Clothes
A loom is any device that can be used to weave cloth. The loom itself keeps the warp threads under tension whilst the weft threads can be placed and interwoven. And the Speedweve or Speed Weve looms are just tiny versions of this.
Back in the 1940s during WWII, cloth was rationed as everything was needed for the war effort. People became very adept and inventive at ‘making do and mending’. A Lancashire company – E&A Chesstok – produced a whole load of tiny looms called “SpeedWeve”. They were even known as “Lancashire’s Smallest Loom”.
You can still find vintage models of the Speedweve on sale today. However, just recently I have noticed that other sellers have started selling new editions of these miniature looms that were devised for a domestic audience darning and mending holes. I wanted to see how they worked. And once I tried one I realised just how brilliant they are.
Would you like to find out how to use a SpeedWeve to mend or darn a hole in your clothes? Then read on!
You Will Need
- A Speed Weve – these come in a few sizes – I have got several with different numbers of hooks. You only need to use the number of hooks that covers the hole you are mending.
- 2 elastic bands – or thin bobbles
- Thread or wool for darning.
- A long sharp needle – long enough to traverse the width of the hole plus a bit more.
- Good lighting.
The Speedweve can be used with most fabrics. I am mending stretch denim, but you can just as easily darn socks, darn a jumper or mend a hole in a cotton shirt.
Pop the wooden disc under the area of the hole that you need to mend. Centralise the damaged area/hole/threadbare area in the centre of the disc. Try not to stretch the hole as much as possible but keep the area taut. Place a thin elastic band or hair elastic to secure the wooden disc if you wish.
Place the metal part of the speedweve over the disc into the groove, and secure in place with an elastic band or hair elastic. Make sure that the fabric isn’t stretched or puckered. Make sure the fabric is not overstretched, and try to keep the grain of the area to be mended in line with the speedweve. You will notice that the straight lines on the fabric in the picture below are NOT in line, so I rotated the loom and fabric into place.
This has now been lined up.
You can draw a straight line on your garment underneath the hole on the other side of the hole from the hooks of the Speed Weve – this helps to keep the darn neat and tidy.
Set the hooks on your loom at the top into the central position, so that the hooks face straight up.
Placing The Warp (Vertical) Threads
Thread your long needle with a long piece of yarn or thread. Place a stitch on the left end of your line directly below the hook that you will be starting to work on. Pull the thread up and over the first hook of the speedweve, then pull the thread back down straight to the line.
Place a second stitch on your garment directly under the second hook of the speedweve. Pull the thread up and hook over the second hook and bring the thread back down to the line. Stitch the thread to the line directly under the third hook.
Repeat like this until you get to the last hook that you will be using. Bring the thread over the hook, back to the line and secure the thread securely to the garment. Push the hooks at the top to the left using the loops or push mechanism on your speed weve. You will notice that this makes the top loops of thread have an upper and lower portion.
Placing The Weft (Horizontal) Threads
Next in this tutorial on how to use a Speedweve loom we need to weave into these warp threads.
Take another piece of thread and thread your long sharp needle. Starting next to where you placed the warp threads place a stitch down at the bottom left of the vertical threads, then weave your needle through all the top loops, going in-between the top and bottom portions of each loop.
Pull the thread through all the warp threads, pulling the whole line of weft thread down to the bottom. place a stitch at the bottom right of the warp threads, securing this layer to the garment.
Move the hooks to face the right by pushing the mechanism, or in my case moving the metal loops. This causes the loops of thread at the top to twist the other way. What was the top thread in the last layer is now the bottom thread.
Push the weft needle through all the top loops from right to left this time. And again bring the resulting thread down to the bottom of the warp threads. Again place a stitch to secure this woven thread layer to the garment, slightly above the stitch you used to start the weft threads. And remember to push the loops back in the other direction at the top.
Repeat this motion time and time again, securing each layer of weft threads with a stitch on the garment to the side of the weaving area. Soon it will build up into area of threads.
Remove the elastic band and carefully remove the metal part of the speedweve. And you will be left with some small loops of thread at the top of the woven area. Finish off the woven area by attaching these to the garment, individually stitching through each loop to the garment before moving onto the next loop.
And you have finished!
As you can see – this means that ultimately you have weaved a tiny rug of threads and secured them to your garment to produce a visible but beautiful mend!
Different Weave Designs When You Get Expert At How To Use A Speedweve Loom
If you go take a look on the internet you will find a whole section of the net talking about the different patterns that you can produce in the loom, just like you were making a miniature carpet. Fort now I will be sticking to a basic weave for my mends. But it is obvious that this can be a great new hobby to pursue, as well as being a brilliant way to be more sustainable.
And here are some great ideas for how to make your clothes last longer.
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