. . . . . . A place to contribute, exchange tips and ideas and find further info on the LDC group on Meetup.

Thursday, 19 November 2015


One of the most importants things in sewing is fabric.  So there are aspects we need to check before we get started.

CHECK that you are going to use fabric appropriate to the garment you are intending to make.  If you have a commercial pattern there are usually suggestions as to suitable fabrics to use on the back of the envelope.  Is it for woven fabrics or knit fabrics?  What sort of weight and drape does it require?  If you do not have suggestions for the fabric to be used try examining the materials used on similar garments made commercially to get an idea of what would work.

CHECK whether the fabric you have chosen has a nap or pile and thus the pattern pieces need to be laid out in one direction only.

CHECK whether the fabric you have chosen has a discernible repeat pattern that will require matching at appropriate points.  And check really, really thoroughly - I have used what I thought to be an even plaid when checking by eye only to find that there was a small variation on the thickness of the line and the repeat pattern occured at a far greater distance apart than I thought.  Luckily the seams to be matched were on the upper underarm so don't show really.

CHECK that you have laundered ( if you are using a washable fabric)  or otherwise prepared your fabric before cutting out.  Not only does any shrinkage then occur before you send time and effort sewing but this is also useful to see whether the colour runs so that, in future washes, you need to launder it separately from your other clothes.  Make sure when you hang it to dry that you do not hang it in such a way that the straight grain of the fabric gets distorted or that you get clothes peg marks distorting it where pegged.  Knit fabrics, which can stretch when hung, are best dried flat to prevent this distortion.

CHECK  whether or not the pins that you use could mark the fabric.  When you are cutting out, as far as possible you should always pin within the seam allowance so that any pin marks will not show when the garment is sewn up.  Think about the pins you are using- pins come in different types and there are special pins to use on silk, lace and knits.  If you are struggling to push an ordinary pin through the fabric or it keeps catching consider using a different sort of pin.  Using a ballpoint pin made it so much easier for me to pin certain jersey fabrics.

CHECK which is the right or wrong side of the fabric.  Sometimes this is obvious, at other times it is not and you can decide which to use but you will need to be consistent when cutting out.

CHECK that the thread you are going to use for sewing up your fabric is appropriate to the content and type of fabric, for example.  Here is a useful list compiled by The Sewing Directory with all sorts of tips on sewing different fabrics.

Have you any useful hints on this subject or stories of sewing a particular fabric (success or disaster)?