Weaving for the movies
A number of years ago I wove a few fabrics for a movie. The movie became The 13th Warrior, a lot of it filmed on Vancouver Island and the interior of B.C. , with many local people working for and in the movie. When I first went to the film studios to meet the costume designer, the film was to be somewhat different from what it ended up to be. I wove two kinds of wool fabric for capes and a silk for decorative panels down the front of a dress. Going to the studios was exciting, so much to see including a scale model of a Viking village. Entire warehouse floors were full of people making and designing every aspect of a costume from head to toe and store-rooms full of fabrics.
After the initial meeting where I was shown design sketches, I wove and sent back samples of fabric. They were accepted and I wove yards and yards of fabric. The wool was pretty ordinary. I used our own home grown wool for one in all brown, and also wove a coloured stripe with commercial wool, both plain weave. For the silk panels I wove a narrow fabric using the old Swedish Snowflake pattern and arranging the warp colours in a gradation from magenta to dark pink. The silk panels were about 7′ wide and were to be part of a dress of chenille fabric also handwoven.
Did I every see the fabrics in the movie? The brown capes were there, the striped ones I am not sure and I think there might have been a brief glimpse of the dress!