chebe: (Spools of thread)
I'm new to using knits (or, at least, trying to understand knits). And I'm new to underwear. So I'm starting small. With smalls. Kwik Sew's 2100 in fact. And I'm going to go through it in great (probably painful for you) detail.

Fabric )

Notions )

How much stretch? )

Lace, Glorious Lace

2010-Dec-07, Tuesday 08:51 pm
chebe: (Spools of thread)
I ordered some lace; some stretch, some fabric, some trims, 12 days ago, and it arrived today! I ordered from Deb's Lace & Trims for the first time. Not only is the site pretty, they have an extensive range of lace fabrics and trims. And I was delighted to discover that their prices are, generally, for 5-yard lengths, making it quite good value.

They, like many online-stores in North America, calculate international postage based on cost of goods purchased. Unless you are in the business of selling large items like furniture this is normally a very bad deal for your international customers, and has more than once put me off purchasing from some sites. Seems they under-calculated the cost, and took the extra cost from my Paypal account without asking. Be warned.

When the package arrived most lengths were wrapped around cardboard, and held closed with a pin. This worked very well, except in the case of the stretch laces where minor damage was inflicted. Wrapped in plastic inside plastic, the packaging held a smell of smoke, but the fabric was fine. All-in-all I'm quite pleased.

One downside is that they don't list the fibre content. So, to Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide! Lace can be made from a variety of fibres, but considering the low cost of my lace the most likely fabrics are cotton, polyester, rayon, acetate, and nylon. As well as something stretchy for the stretch laces. To pre-shrink it is recommended to place the lace, if a small trim, in the foot of an old nylon stocking (also known as tights), and larger lace fabrics in pillow cases that are sewn shut. Machine-wash and dry following manufacturers recommendations. As I don't have any of those I'll probably wash about 30/40-degrees-Celsius on a delicate cycle. And experience tells me tumble drying anything with stretch shortens its lifespan considerably. Excellent, a plan is formed.
chebe: (gerties sew-along 2010)
The 'Gertie Sew-Along Dublin Group' (I agree, we need a better title) met up last weekend, and battled our way through the shops, emerging victorious with almost all the materials we need. [I've no idea where to get silk organza, I'll probably head back to the bridal section and ask there. And I'm still debating whether the slight need for pinking shears justifies the huge cost.]

The selection is not great in these parts, especially at the weekend, nor when specifically looking for cotton, in winter. We got the muslin for the bodice mock-up (and had to explain it wasn't for cooking turkey), we got fusible interlining (ultrasoft), shell fabric (printed cotton or poly-cotton), and some of us got lining material too (poly-cotton).

So, we're all set, right? Nope. Annoyingly the fabrics need to be prepared before we get started. This means laundering them. Most fabrics have a tendency to shrink, but cotton and polyester definitely do. No point in going to great efforts to ensure your garment fits perfectly, only to have it shrink on the first wash. Also, I found my printed poly-cotton very stiff, but once washed it softened nicely, making it easier to work with.

The rough instructions are to wash the fabric as you intend to wash the final garment. There are some restrictions, for example dry-clean only fabrics. But the fabrics we picked out are made to be washed. Unless your fabric says otherwise (on the edge, the end of the bolt, or the receipt) then a basic 30/40-degree wash should be fine. Use your usual washing detergents, and dry as you would normally. Finally, we'll need to iron the fabric, to get rid of any creases before we begin garment construction.

[I am disappointed in the quality of my fabric, the print faded slightly as expected, but it has also become damaged in several places, looking like it might rip right through. Now I'm glad I bought a bit extra. Perhaps it should have been washed at 30-degrees. The lining fabric on the other hand, is so much nicer, softer, more solid.]

The fusible interfacing is likely to shrink as well. But you can't just throw it in a washing machine, the glue will get a mind to melt and it'll end up stuck to everything. I got a new book recently, the encyclopaedic Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide. It's a fantastic book, imparting boundless knowledge on how to treat and use all kinds of different fabrics. Here's what she says about fusible interfacing:

"...fill a basin with hot water. Place the folded interfacing in the basin. Remove the interfacing when the water cools, about 20 minutes. Roll it in a towel to remove excess moisture and hang it over a shower rod to dry."

And no need to iron, yet :) Also, no need to wash the muslin, unless you intend to make a finished garment from it. Now we're ready to start thinking about the pattern.
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