Shawl Tutorial: Material Discussion

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This is where we get to have lots of fun! There are so many materials out there that I cannot touch on every one of them in this tutorial. Instead I’m going to focus on a few favorites and if you have any questions about others, feel free to bring them up. The outside of the shawl is what everyone is going to see and therefore where you will most likely want your fancier material. The sky, or more accurately, your budget is the limit here. There are a few decisions to make first, do you want the color of the shawl itself to match the fringe, or do you want some contrast? Do you want a fabric that is textured but plain of design, or do you want something with a pattern, maybe to mimic the vines described in the books? For me there are three kinds of fabric that I really like for the outside of a shawl. To imitate silk without the hefty price tag, I like a poly-satin. These shiny fabrics are silky and smooth and can be made of different fabric blends. For a textured fabric, I really love different kinds of velvet. If the pile of the velvet is super thick you might have some issues with attaching the flame but a crushed panne velvet looks really good and doesn’t give you that trouble. You do want to be careful with panne velvet, it often has some stretch and if you let it stretch in whatever direction it wants to go it can be a pain. If I’m looking for a fabric with a design, I like to go with some kind of brocade. You can find tons of different designs but you do need to be careful here. If the design goes in a specific direction, you may need to put a seam in the back of your shawl. I have found some awesome designs where the fabric isn’t wide enough to accommodate the wingspan of the wearer.

A poly-satin, with the shawl color being different than the fringe color

A crushed panne velvet

A brocade I absolutely fell in love with

When it comes to the lining fabric, cotton is the best choice if you don’t want the shawl to slip around too much. Often, you will see things called “lining materials” that are poly-satin blends. The shiny-ness here can be an issue because it makes the inside of the shawl super slippery. Cotton can add a bit of a personal touch as well because of the sheer variety of designs it comes in. You can go a plain route but you can also go wild, make your shawl easily identifiable just by the inside, or even show some of your other favorite things off in the lining of your shawl.

An example of a fun lining

This was one I had a lot of fun with, it was for Kass and Ama's wedding, since she's Green and he's DM, I incorporated both in it. It just goes to show that the sky is the limit.

Just to touch here on the flame, I usually use a white poly-cotton to make the flame. We’ll talk more about sizing, cutting, and attaching the flame in a different week but this is just your reminder to get fabric for the flame as well, so you have it when we get to that stage.

Most of what I’m going to discuss has been about sewn shawls. I have a few shawls that were crocheted, and I know people also knit shawls. I do not have any experience making them, but I have added a flame to a crocheted one, which we’ll talk about in a later section.

So, after this, do you have any ideas for fabric? Have you seen a fabric in the past that you just can't get out of your head and want to use?
 
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Cattrin al'Modrah

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I've been working on collecting my materials together. I have several handmade lace elements that tie directly into symbolism for the series.

I am crocheting 2 yards of white pineapple lace trim for the edging. I don't think for this shawl I will use true fringe because of the trim, but the pineapple lace will help provide spaces where I can easily add it in in the future should I decide to add in fringe after all.

Because starting and ending the pineapple trim is a little tricky, I am crocheting some Irish crochet roses and leaves to help cover those wonky bits. Those motifs will have some white crocheted fringe. Finally, I crocheted some trim for the Flame. All in all I think I have about three yards of handmade crochet trim in this project, plus at least 5 roses and several leaves. I'm not sure if I am going to go full Irish crochet for the Flame or not at this point, because between the trim and finishing another project by hand my wrists are absolutely not happy this week. Oops. :look:

I also wanted to be able to use this shawl with virtually any Ajah color if necessary, so I was very careful about both the motifs on the fabric and the colors of both the trim and the fabric.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xhNkwERmisPb15sP6
 

Merena Orithana

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@Roheryn ni Galghandhrei t'al'Djinn Sedai - Those shawls are gorgeous! :love

I specifically am drawn to: the lace border around the fringe, the green border around the white tear shape.

How much fabric will we need for each?

Weird question, but for practical purposes, which fabrics wash the best and don't wrinkle as much? I assume the shawl will have to survive my suitcase at some point. :what :laugh:

I'm also wondering what color to go with... I was going to go purple, as that isn't technically an Ajah color, but not sure. I was thinking either green or blue. Or maybe I should just go to JoAnn's and see what speaks to me. :rofl

Are there other fabric stores y'all suggest?
 

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@Cattrin al'Modrah :eek :joy That crochet work looks awesome! ...technically....I know how to crochet....:look: ....a square.
 

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I've made a few shawls (including that first photo I'm pretty sure, I'm flattered it made an appearance here :$ ) and that shiny stuff is super appealing but an absolute pain in the ass to work with. My personal recommendation (if you're new to sewing) is to make a shawl out of something stable, washable, and not shiny so you're familiar with what it's supposed to look like as you progress, then make a fancy one out of shiny fabric if you so desire.

I'd like to make a linen or silk shawl and then actually embroider it a la the books, but the chances of me actually getting it done before I'm old enough to have been raised Aes Sedai at a canon-appropriate age are pretty slim. :laugh:
 

Leira Galene

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I've been working on collecting my materials together. I have several handmade lace elements that tie directly into symbolism for the series.

I am crocheting 2 yards of white pineapple lace trim for the edging. I don't think for this shawl I will use true fringe because of the trim, but the pineapple lace will help provide spaces where I can easily add it in in the future should I decide to add in fringe after all.

Because starting and ending the pineapple trim is a little tricky, I am crocheting some Irish crochet roses and leaves to help cover those wonky bits. Those motifs will have some white crocheted fringe. Finally, I crocheted some trim for the Flame. All in all I think I have about three yards of handmade crochet trim in this project, plus at least 5 roses and several leaves. I'm not sure if I am going to go full Irish crochet for the Flame or not at this point, because between the trim and finishing another project by hand my wrists are absolutely not happy this week. Oops. :look:

I also wanted to be able to use this shawl with virtually any Ajah color if necessary, so I was very careful about both the motifs on the fabric and the colors of both the trim and the fabric.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/xhNkwERmisPb15sP6
Your lace is beautiful, Cattrin! Are you crocheting the whole shawl, or just the trim?
 

Leira Galene

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I'd like to make a linen or silk shawl and then actually embroider it a la the books, but the chances of me actually getting it done before I'm old enough to have been raised Aes Sedai at a canon-appropriate age are pretty slim.
Same :look:
 
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@Roheryn ni Galghandhrei t'al'Djinn Sedai - Those shawls are gorgeous! :love

How much fabric will we need for each?

Weird question, but for practical purposes, which fabrics wash the best and don't wrinkle as much? I assume the shawl will have to survive my suitcase at some point. :what :laugh:

Are there other fabric stores y'all suggest?

Thank you! The only one I didn't make is the first picture.

I will answer that question in one of our other weeks because I have a discussion planned on how to make sure the shawl fits the way you want it to and and that can change how much fabric you need.

So far, I haven't found much that survives a suitcase ride without a bit of wrinkling. I will tell you, if you are worried about wrinkles, don't use linen. Jaryd has some good comments about fabrics to work with.

Fabric stores depend on what you have in your area and if you are shopping online or not. For example, I have a Fabric Warehouse that I get a ton of my fabric from but there are only two of them and both are on NJ, it's not a big chain.


I've made a few shawls (including that first photo I'm pretty sure, I'm flattered it made an appearance here :$ ) and that shiny stuff is super appealing but an absolute pain in the ass to work with. My personal recommendation (if you're new to sewing) is to make a shawl out of something stable, washable, and not shiny so you're familiar with what it's supposed to look like as you progress, then make a fancy one out of shiny fabric if you so desire.

I'd like to make a linen or silk shawl and then actually embroider it a la the books, but the chances of me actually getting it done before I'm old enough to have been raised Aes Sedai at a canon-appropriate age are pretty slim. :laugh:

That is the shawl you made in the first picture!

I have that desire too... I have plans for a silk shawl, with flowering vines. But first I need to do some research because I want to use the flower language to make sure whatever I embroider will say something about me... And then I want to hand knot my fringe. So that will probably never happen, but I can dream.
 
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Delara Morellin

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I've never been fabric shopping before now, is it common to see nothing for the project you are working on and LOADS of fabrics that would be great for later stuff? :laugh:
 

Jaryd Kosari

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I wouldn't know anything about that problem :look:
 
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Nope, I have no idea what you're talking about. :look: Just ignore that polar bear print linen over there...
 

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Melearlin Valar

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Me and my 4 bins of fabric are wondering why you are calling me out like that :look:

Luckily a shawl is a flat shape so pretty easy to iron. Since it's an outer garment you probably don't need to wash it too often, unless it gets dragged through dirt. If you have super long fringe you're gonna want to hand wash so it doesn't tangle like whoa in the machine. (And don't wash silk. Silk doesn't like water.)

I'll say that shiny fabric isn't inherently the problem, it's lightweight shiny fabric (compared to a stiff one) that's gonna be a pain in the butt to sew. So silk taffeta - shiny, and super easy to work with (just not cheap). Whereas the east asian inspired brocades from Joann - shiny, beautiful, reasonably priced, but will fray like mad and be a pain to work with.

I also expect that I'll never have time to hand embroider a shawl, but I really want to do one with this 3D lace as an overlay to mimic embroidery:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/523844...d-blossom-floral?ref=user_profile&pro=1&frs=1
 

Merena Orithana

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So silk is easy to work with?
....what fabric type should I (newbie) be searching for if I want a brocade like fabric?
 
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