Custom Woven Fabric?

Max G

New Member
To begin, I don't know a lot about the specifics of fabric and textiles.

I assume that in this day and age, when a fabric is made, people aren't doing it by hand. There is a machine that makes fabric. Right? So I assume that patterns in fabric (like on a couch for example) aren't done by hand.

Is there a way to send out a custom order for fabric? I know I can get custom printing fabric, but can I get custom woven fabric? Like with different colors of thread or yard used instead of ink?

If someone can at least point me in the right direction, that would be SO great, I've been trying to figure this out all summer. I don't even know what to Google.
It really is not that easy :) But there are a few places where you can request a articular weave if you are willing to buy it in 1000 yard lots or so. You need to make it their worthwile to set up their machines to produce something they don't normally- and you will ay for it.

Textile manufacturing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This gives a good overview of the whole process and perhas why it is so hrd to get a custom woven fabric :) it doesnt go far into the different kinds of machines but you get the idea :)

If you know what kind of fabric you are after (fibre and weave, yarn dyed or batch dyed, or warp printed etc.) you will be in a better position to find a manufacturer. It's the main reason I learnt all this- to find the fabrics I needed and not rely on what manufacturers put on their label.
If you have a sample and need it recreated I'd recommend scanning front and back with a ruler so they can also see how many threads per inch and the twist of the yarns too.
Well, yes, there are still people out there who do weaving by hand. What you can get is limited, of course, and would not be like commercially woven fabrics that you are use to.

Even a small commercial mill would have to sell you like a 1000 yards of a run just to break even of having to set up the loom. I made a LOT of contacts a couple of years ago when I was trying to find someone to weave the Ebony Raffia for the Jack Sparrow frock coat when the mill discontinued it.

If you can tell me a little bit more about what you are needing, I'll check through my research and see if there's anyone from my contacts and inquires that might meet your criteria.

Is there a way to send out a custom order for fabric? I know I can get custom printing fabric, but can I get custom woven fabric? Like with different colors of thread or yard used instead of ink?

The specific term is thread-dyed or dyed-in-the-wool, if you're looking for a fabric that is woven in different colors as opposed to the dye being applied on the surface of the fabric, as in printing.

You can get this very easily if you're looking for plaids or a tartan reproduction. There are weaver's guilds in every state in the US, and probably plenty in the UK, Australia, and other countries. If you contact your local guild, there are probably dozens of hobbyists and professionals in each local guild who'd tackle a tartan yardage for pay.

For something like a jaquard or tapestry fabric, with say, an emblem or intricate pattern repeat, then your pool of possibilities will be smaller. It depends on what you want done, as many hobbyists can't afford the equipment.

Otherwise you're looking at the 1000 yard run from a professional mill that others have mentioned.

I dabble in textile arts. If you give me a better idea what you're looking for, I can steer you better in the right direction, and probably know of a few weavers who would be willing to give you a quote.
Thanks for all the replies! I guess the biggest problem is that I can't tell if the prop I'm trying to recreate is knitted or woven.

I've already made a thread about the prop, intending it to be where I can post updates about the build but I haven't actually started yet...

It's Ferris Bueller's Vest.


Is it knitted using intarsia or sewn together with fabric?
The vest is definitely knitted. Here is a close up of it.


Cropped from this pic.

It appears to be commercially machine knitted, and while you could accomplish a similar effect by hand knitting, you'd have to use awfully small needles to get a gauge this small, and your knitting technique would have to be really consistent and tight.

Here is a post by someone who hand knitted the pattern for a child sized vest. You can see how the difference in the gauge of the hand knitting changes the look of the pattern from how it looks on the machined version.


Cropped from this pic from this blog.

There is a technique of embroidery on knit that is called duplicate stitch or Swiss Darning. (most often seen on those "ski sweaters", reindeer, snowflakes, geometric designs, etc.) The pattern is charted like for cross stitch patterns but on the knitted item it is worked over that V shaped knitted stitch and when completed looks like it is knitted in.


Pic and how-to on this site.

Here is how it looks, much more like the Ferris Bueller vest than the child's vest above that is actually hand knitted.


Pic and how-to on this site.

Embroidery is a lot easier and faster than knitting anyway! So I would suggest you search for some knitted goods in the color and kind of the vest and then duplicate stitch embroidery the design in. You already have that great black and white graphic of the design, just need to convert it to a chart and you're good to go!

Knitted "yard goods" is a rare commodity, so you might try finding a ready to wear vest or sweater that you can work with.

Best of luck with your project and as always here, the required beg: please post pics of your progress!!

What Shylaah said. :D

You're going to need a tan vest with knit black ribbing trim, and with that much pattern you're going to need at least 400-600 yards of a matching black yarn with a similar fiber composition... ie. don't use cotton to embroider on a wool base, or things will pucker and twist when you wash it. Plus it will look odd when the light hits it.

However, if you don't need it to be screen accurate on the wrong side, I'd ask a knitter to make one using intarsia. That looks like fingering-weight yarn to me, so the yarn cost should be fairly cheap. I'd say two 400 yard skeins of tan, and four skeins of black, because you have the knit trim. Depending on the fiber content (which looks like a wool/acrylic blend) the yarn would run you 10$-15$ US per skein. What's going to be the bulk of cost is the knitter's time, especially with an intricate chart like that one.

I'd offer to knit it for you, but knitting for other people for pay makes me hate knitting. :D But I've done similar projects in that weight of yarn.

Two places where you might be able to find a knitter would be either a) your local yarn shop or b) a website called, which is like the RPF for knitters. It's huge though, and broken into several "groups" for various things like TV show fandoms, geographic locations (ie Texas). You could try looking there for a group for your geographic location, or groups like "All about the '80s" for someone to hire.

Good luck! :D
If price is not an issue for you and you'd rather have it in your possession "fast" rather than a do-it-yourself thing, I'd recommend a fellow that many of you probably already are well aware of.

His name is Indy Magnoli and his website is:

He's based out of New Zealand but he is THE go-to guy when it comes to resurrecting that piece of vintage clothing. Check him out and send him an email with the pictures you've posted and I'm sure his answer will undoubtedly be - "YES, WE CAN DO THAT!". :)

With him, you get a tailored quality piece that'll fit you AND be as close to screen-used as can be. In my opinion, nothing comes close.

Best of luck!
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