With something like this, you'll be able to make some amazing and unconventional shapes!Other great options for draping include chiffon, gauze, batiste, and crepe. All are very light, making them great for full, billowing skirts that won't fall flat when fighting with gravity on a dress form.
gazar or organza, like this basket weave silk organza from Carolina Herrera.
Ok, readers, I've said it here before but this bears repeating: Test-drive your fabric before you sew your garment. You need to know—ideally prior to cutting out your pattern—how the fabric will handle all the details. We're talking about facings, hems, darts, zippers, pockets, plackets... all those things that make a garment special.
I'm in the process of making a jacket out of black leather and black rayon jersey. Sewing the leather is easy, but I swear this rayon jersey will be the death of me yet. Because it's so thick and joining two layers could be too bulky, I test-drove several finishes before I sewed the first seam. You can see my efforts in the photo above. I even tested fusible interfacing and invisible hand stitching.
Trying out neckline and hem options first on scraps showed me that I wouldn't be happy with my original design ideas. I saved fabric and sewing man-hours, and I gave myself a big pat on the back for being so smart for once.
Tell us: Do you test the details first when you sew, or do you just dive right in and hope for the best?
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.
Watching 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!
So you can see why a poncho like this one I saw at MyTheresa.com jumped out at me for a sewing project. I already had an old poncho pattern at home, and seriously, how hard is it to make something like this? Two shoulder seams, stitch the edges under and that's it.
For my poncho I chose a beautiful wool plaid that I found in Mood's wool department at the NYC store (also available online as well at MoodFabrics.com). I pair it with a cream cashmere turtleneck and tan wool pants, creating a look very similar to the Missoni above, and I get a ton of compliments on my outfit when I wear it to work and out. This poncho has become one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe, and it had to be one of the easiest to make as well.
So here's my recommended strategy for home sewers with no time to sew: 1) Look to established designers first for inspiration, because they know best how to make beautiful clothes with simple, clean lines. 2) Dig through your pattern collection to find an adaptable pattern. Even if you own just a few patterns you're likely to have one that's readily adaptable to your needs. 3) Let the fabric be the main focus of your garment, rather than relying on a lot of seams and darts and gathers and other structural details.
Tell me here about your sewing strategy!
Webster's online dictionary because it's pretty good):
"When sewing clothing, a test or fitting garment may be made of inexpensive muslin fabric before cutting the intended expensive fabric, thereby avoiding a costly mistake. The muslin garment is often called a muslin and the process is called making a muslin. With the availability of inexpensive synthetic fabrics, which closely resemble the hand (drape and feel) of expensive natural fabrics, a test or fitting garment made of synthetics may still be referred to as a muslin, because the word has become the generic term for a test or fitting garment."While muslin cotton is the preferred fabric choice for creating test garments, as you can clearly see stitching lines and it's easy to write on, you can substitute any inexpensive fabric as long as it mimics the properties of your fashion fabric. I like to pick up fabric at rummage sales to use for many of my muslins.
Do you sew muslins regularly? Fashion students are taught to make muslins, and designers always use them, but most beginning home sewers aren't initially aware of this important step. Personally, once I started sewing muslins as a routine part of my process, the quality of my finished garments really improved and my sewing success rate went up.
When should you sew a muslin?
- Any time you're trying a new design or pattern that is not similar to previous designs or patterns you've sewn
- Any time you're making a garment and the fit needs to be spot-on
- Any time you're sewing with fabric that you'd cry over if you cut, sewed and then discovered you hated your pattern or cut it too small, etc.
Hopefully you're convinced muslins are the way to go. Now here are some muslin-worthy fabrics ready for you to sew!
You know we have lots more where those came from. Visit Mood Fabrics online.
Are you a muslin maker? Or do you prefer to take your chances and forge ahead with your fashion fabric? There's always healthy online discussion among sewers about this very topic.
Thanks for stopping by. Check back here again on Favorite Fabric Friday, featuring the effervescent Sueann of the cotton department in the NYC store. She'll share her favorite fabrics of the moment, and she has great taste.