Variable Dent Challenge – Beguiling Beaded Bodice

We are lucky to have a company such as Natural Fiber Producers in the fiber world. Their mission includes supporting farmers and providing quality Certified Sorted® yarn for shops. The benefit of Certified Sorted® is two-fold. The farmers are able to sell the whole fleece and Natural Fiber Producers sorts it and sells it. The consumer benefits because they get a consistent quality of yarn tailor-made for their chosen project. See the Natural Fiber Producers website for more information on Certified Sorted® Guidelines.The yarn I chose for the body of this vest is a worsted spun yarn with long fibers that are more aligned to get a crisper look to the yarn. Since it is 80% Alpaca (grade 2- meaning 20-22.9 microns) and 20% Soy silk, the resulting fabric is soft and has great drape.

Back of the bodice with wrapped details

Supplies: 10″ Cricket Loom, 10″ Variable Dent Reed, Various beads

Yarn: Natural Fiber Producers Superfine Airy fingering weight in Sandstorm, 800 yds, supplementary threads in various colors. 2 of the 4 yard lengths of carpet warp to go in the spaces on either side of the 8 dent section.  Use a coordinating or contrasting color as desired.

Reed Set up: 12 D, 8 D, 10 D, 12 D

Warp: 4 yard warp, using the full width of loom.

String the beads on the 2 lengths of carpet warp. Insert the carpet warp into the slots on either side of the 8D reed section. Tie the carpet warp onto the front apron rod and then attach a weight to each length to hang off the back. The weight should be heavy enough to match the tension on the rest of the warp. The lengths of carpet warp are not wound onto the back beam.
Weft: Same yarn as warp at 12 ppi.

Weaving: Weave plain weave for 5 inches. Slide beads forward to the fell line through the reed  randomly for the next eight inches. If your beads are larger than the slots, you can ease the variable dent reed sections apart to bring the beads through the slot, then push the sections back together. Weave plain weave for the remainder of the warp.

Detail of the beads

Finishing: Prevent the ends of the fabric from raveling by serging or hemstitching. Hand wash the fabric, lay flat to dry.Cut the fabric into two 32″ sections (one of these sections has the beads) and one 24″ section. Finish the ends of  each section before proceeding. With the two 32″ pieces lay them side by side with the ends even. One of  the sections has the beads towards the bottom. Sew the edges together up about 12 inches. Find the center of the long side of the 24″ section. Attach the free ends of the 32″ sections to the long side of the 24″ piece. This leaves a 4″ section on either side of the 24″ piece.
Fold the piece at the 24″ mark along the long side and sew the end tabs of the 24″ piece to the sides of the 36″ pieces approximately 2 -3 inches along the top.


(Pictures not to scale)

Crochet a decorative edge on the bottom of the bodice, both on the front and back.

Front detail of the crocheted edge

Back detail of the crocheted edge

Wrap yarn around the gathered sections of the straps to add a bit more pop of color on the top of the piece.

Weave a few supplementary threads throughout the bodice, making the whole piece a cohesive look.

Detail of the red supplementary thread

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Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.