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  • Lesson Learned: Know Your Fabric, Test the Details Before You Sew

    failed top_1 That little peek at the neckline is all I can bear to show you of this failed top I recently made.

    Recently I was talking to a designer who buys fabric from Mood for her collections. Does every garment you make turn out just the way you had envisioned?, I asked her, wanting to know if she ever had failures like home sewers are prone to. She laughed and admitted she still did from time to time, but that she did a lot of prep work to avoid wadders.

    "I play with the fabric on my dressform first, making sure it will drape the way I want it to without having to force it," she explained. "Then I consider all the details. I'll test first how the fabric will perform when sewn as a hem or a pocket, for example, before I start on my garment."

    And as she said that I knew exactly why my most recent sewing project had failed: I didn't test the details first. If I had, I would have seen that stitching a narrow hem causes the fabric to become wavy. Instead of the chic and delicate top I'd envisioned, I was stuck with something that looked lumpy and unbalanced.

    Picture 11Watching Project Runway this week, the moment Cindy said she had never sewn shantung before but was making a dress out of it for Heidi anyway, I knew she'd be the one packing up her work area. It's funny how often we home sewers fearlessly cut into a fabric that's new to us and then just start sewing away, fingers crossed for the best.

    That's what I did with this novelty fabric of boucle threads sandwiched between poly organza. I told myself I'm just making a simple little top, what could go wrong. A lot, actually. (Sure, this top is salvageable, but I'm still putting it aside for now.)

    The next time I sew with a fabric that's new to me—and there are fabrics at Mood Fabrics I haven't sewn yet—I'm taking the time to test the details first. With God as my witness, no more skipping the getting-to-know-you phase with my fabric!

    What about you, readers? Do you test all the details, like hems, before you sew? Do you feel you spend enough time getting to know a new fabric? Tell us here!