Last night I went to a really fun Pop-Up Britex workshop called Warp x Weft: Textile 101. It was taught by Geana, the lovely Britex host of our last SF sewing blogger meetup. The Pop-Up Britex workshops are a series of textile and design workshops that Britex has put together, hosted at different locations around the city. Warp x Weft was about the process of going from fiber to fabric and designed for anyone interested in learning more about textiles, not just sewers.
The talk started with the raw fibers (did you know raw cotton isn’t necessarily white?), talked about manufacturing processes unique to each fiber, showed some yarns with special properties (wherein I learned a crepe de chine doesn’t use crepe yarn), different weaves of the yarns, and briefly touched on knit and felted fabrics. While I did know some of the information already, there was plenty that I didn’t know, and it was structured very well to help synthesize and organize all of the little bits in my head that I have picked up over the years.
We were given swatches of every type of fabric that was discussed and went over the characteristic traits of each swatch. Cutting the swatches and gluing them to the paper, I felt like I was back in elementary school in the most fun possible way. I also took copious notes all over my paper (many of which are hidden under the swatches).
There was an interesting mix of people at the event, from a woman in the fashion industry, to a gal heading to art school, to several home sewers, to a guy that wanted to learn about textiles so he could better use them in his handmade shoes. Everyone was chatty and friendly which made for a really fun evening. The workshop was held in a really interesting location – The Workshop Residence – a workshop space for a residency that pairs artists and designers with local fabricators to create beautiful products that are sold in their gallery and at local stores. I hadn’t heard of The Workshop Residence before but I was really glad to see their space, peruse some of their lovely goods and to have them on my radar.
I’ve always (other than a couple of awkward teenage years of trying to be cool) been “that girl” that sits in the front of class and asks all sorts of questions. This workshop was no exception, and Geana gracefully answered the vast majority of my unending questions. I did stump her with “Is qiviut ever made into fabric?” but got excellent answers to “So velvet made from cotton is called velveteen?”, “Explain again the difference between gabardine and denim?”, “You called that swatch pique – what exactly does that mean?”, and so on and so forth, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Britex is offering this Pop-Up again on October 10th and I highly recommend it. (Many, many thanks to Geana for bringing me to this one!). They also have a leather workshop and a draping workshop in the meantime. I’m very interested in the leather workshop. Any Bay Area folks want to join me?