Mixed Media Garment with Handwoven Cloth

Currently at Cochenille, we have challenged our users to create a mixed media garment which involves some combination of fabric/yarn/embellishment, etc. So, I am going to share the design process for a garment that suits this type of challenge.  Hopefully this will inspire people to jump in and create their own mixed media design.

I recently taught a class for Stitches at Home entitled East Meets West; Simple Shapes, Great Design. As is often the case, I decided to do the project homework just as my students would.


I often start a project with an inspiration. For this project, I chose a piece of hand-woven fabric that I had purchased in Paris several years ago. It was a remnant cut that measured 44” wide by 24” long. What I loved about the fabric was the varying yarn fringe. There was a base cloth and then several novelty yarns were inlaid into the base. The overall look of the cloth reminded me of old stone structures, cobble-stone streets, and other natural (and old) substances.

Handwoven fabric from Paris


My concept was to build a garment that centered on the fabric but added yarns and crochet to complete the look. The fabric would serve to build the body of the garment, and I decided to add the yarn to create sleeves and possibly a collar. I also decided to continue the fringe feature. So, off to my stash to locate yarns that could work with the fabric. This is always my favorite part of design; finding the ingredients. I chose a grey Alpaca/Silk yarn as my primary yarn, and then a few other yarns that would carry through the texture or color of the hand-woven fabric.

Theme and Mood Board

In design, often the process begins with the creation of a Mood Board. This is a collage or composite of images that allows one to focus their thoughts on a chosen theme. You can do it by hand, or using an online tool called Canva (www.canva.com). Although I love Canva, this time I decided to go the hand-building route with collaging.

In Mood Board building, one often comes up with a name that expresses their theme. I decided upon Threads of Time. The hunt for a few images that communicates your theme began, and as always, I had way too many, and thus the curating begins. Below you can see the Mood Board I created. I have a few images, a fashion pose with the model wearing a garment similar to what I’m after, and samples of the yarns I plan to include. Initially I left a ‘spot’ for the yarn and fabric, as I had yet to cut up the handwoven.

Concept Development

Garment Plannning: The Sketch

Once the Mood Board was settled, I sketched out my concept garment using what is called a croquis. This is an 8-headed model that you use to keep your garments in proportion. Below you can see the sketch of the garment as I planned it. I laid a piece of tracing paper over the croquis and drew in the lines of the garment. I began with the fabric body, and then added sleeves as I envisioned them, using yarn and crochet. Initially I didn’t have the fringe drawn…. That came a bit later… as you might guess, design evolves.


I crocheted a small bit of the sleeve, to get a sense of how it would look. I had decided to make the sleeve about 8” deep. The primary yarn is an Alpaca/Silk mix (it is scrumptious). My main stitch was a double crochet. I added a couple of rows of contrast yarns.

To confirm my decisions, I took my fabric and crochet band to the dress form and pinned things in place. Then, I continued to crochet the second sleeve and a neckband.

Yarns chosen, sampling, testing
The crochet pattern

On to Garment Designer

Since the silhouette of my planned garment was to be more or less rectangular, all I really needed Garment Designer (www.cochenille.com/ ) for was a confirmation of proportions and a neckline. Below you can see the pattern I created, and my little quarter-scale mock-up which helped me determine how long I wanted the sleeve. I decided it was too long, and so, planned to shorten it when I completed the crochet.

Quarter Scale Proto of Pattern
Garment Designer Neckline Template


It didn’t take much to cut divide the fabric in two (for the front vs. back) and the cut out the necklines . By the amount of waste you see below, this project becomes a minimal/zero waste garment. I used the excess pieces on my Mood Board.

I serged the raw edges of the fabric, and then sewed the shoulder seam and pressed it open. I left the side seams open, in anticipation of the crochet bands.

Serge and Sew

Joining the Bands to the Body

I am not a purist at times. I simply sewed the crocheted bands onto the fabric using a regular straight stitch on my sewing machine.

Sewing the Sleeve/Band to the the Body of the Garment

Building the Fringe

Using the same yarns as the crocheted bands (for sleeve and collar), I create a fringe and hand-knotted them onto the collar band and the lower sleeve. The last step was a haircut for the fringe, ensuring that all yarns were the same length.

Adding the Fringe
Trimming the Neckband Fringe


That’s it! My mixed media garment is complete! I love how design evolves. I also really love mixing media and pulling together all the craft skills that were taught to me by my mother and grandmother so many years ago.

All done! Mixed Media Garment