Thursday, 2 May 2013

Fabric Perfection

Hello Ladies and Gents…

With such a glorious day it has given me the boost to share with you the next installment about making an 'A' Line skirt. I attended a one day course ran by The Thrifty Stitcher in Stoke Newington, North London and so far I have shared with you my pearls of wisdom on pattern cutting from a beginners perspective. I will now share with you how to prepare your fabric before the big snip-snip...

Now before you cut your fabric, the fabric must be washed and pressed. The washing of the fabric will decrease the likelihood of the fabric shrinking once the garment is made – you don’t want all your hard work to shrink in the wash and come out all teeny and toasty. The pressing of the fabric will ensure it is smooth again decrease the likelihood of cutting out the wrong size pieces as after all smooth fabric is a smaller surface than creased. So, top tip: wash and press.
So with my washed and pressed fabric and with the pattern size selected we
Mark the 'Wrong Side'
turned to look at the fabric. I selected a fabric that was plain, but spoke volumes in colour as it was such a vibrant royal blue. A plain colour is quite difficult to decide which side is the ‘right-side’ of the fabric. With close examination, it is the side that is the smoothest appearance. 
Top tip: Once you know which is the ‘right-side’ put strips of tailors chalk on the ‘wrong-side’ – this easily identifies what side is which and will reduce the likelihood of stitching the wrong sides together. I folded the fabric in half (wrong-sides together) and smoothed the fabric over with my hand. To ensure the fabric is aligned line up the selvedge edges and not the edges that are fraying - this will normally highlight if the fabric has been cut straight. I placed the front pattern piece on the fold – this is so there are no seams at the front of the skirt and to follow the grain. I then placed the back piece on the fabric.

Now, this part is quite complex for my little brain to deal with, but I will do my
Ready for the Snip!
best to explain. With the front piece being on the fold, it naturally follows the grain line as you have smoothed the fabric so that the selvedge edges are aligned. For the back piece you need to align the pattern with the grain. On the pattern it will highlight the direction of the grainline – this needs to be straight and follow the direction of the thread. I measured the distance between the top-edge as the pattern needs to be the same distance to ensure the fabric grain is correct. A great blog that also explains this is by Tilly and the Button called Before You Cut Your Fabric - link below. With my fabric ready I placed my pattern onto my it and pinned into place... ready to be cut.

This phase taught me a great deal about the fabric itself - about the selvedge, grain, grainlines, etc - all adding to memory banks for future reference! Next time I will blog about cutting the fabric and pinning....

Top tips:
  • Equipment: Washing machine, iron, fabric, tailors chalk, pins and sewing pattern
  • Wash and press
  • Once you know which is the ‘right-side’ put strips of tailors chalk on the ‘wrong-side’ – this easily identifies what side is which and will reduce the likelihood of stitching the wrong sides together

Useful websites/ blogs:

Again, I'd would like to say a massive thank you to Claire-Louise and to all at The Thrifty Stitcher for a wonderful creative day.

Happy Fabric Time x

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