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A Sewing Quick-start Guide: Before You Begin ... Choosing fabric

Once you’ve decided on a pattern size/range, you are ready to buy fabric. When buying your fabric, don’t forget to check the pattern envelope for any notions you need, too.

Fabric recommendations

Go back to the pattern envelope and look for “fabric recommendations.” In particular, pay attention to patterns that are “for knits only” or “for knits with two-way stretch only.” You should not use woven fabrics for these pat terns. Look for words like “unsuitable for obvious diagonals” or “for pile, shaded, or one-way design fabrics, use with—nap yardages/layouts.”

How much to buy

Whatever fabric is recommended, the pattern envelope will give instructions for buying fabric that's 45 in. wide or 60 in. wide, the common widths. When you measure the fabric at the fabric store, be careful to take the full measurement if the fabric is folded on the bolt. Fabric does come in other widths: 36 in., 42 in., 44 in., 54 in., 72 in., and even wider. If the fabric you like is wider or narrower than the standard 45 in. or 60 in., find the yardage chart in the back of the pattern catalog and use the information there to determine how much fabric to buy. Or you could buy a bit more fabric if your fabric is narrower than 45 in. or a bit less if your fabric is wider than 60 in. If you are a beginning sewer, avoid fabric that's 36 in. wide; some patterns won’t fit on 36-in, fabric unless they are cut and pieced.

Don’t forget to factor in for shrinkage: Buy more fabric than recommended if your fabric will shrink. And remember the information on the pattern envelope about finished length by buying additional fabric if you are tall or less if you are short.

TIP: I find that most fabric-store employees are knowledgeable about the fabrics they sell and about sewing in general. Ask for help or invite your most knowledgeable sewing friend along on your trip to the fabric store.

== Wiki Sewing ==

FABRICS -- Straighten the Grain

It can happen! You may get a piece of fabric where the cut end has not been cut on the straight grain. The important thing is that you'll need to fix the grain before you cut out the pattern pieces so that the pieces are truly cut on the straight grain.

1 After the fabric has been preshrunk, snip an edge of the selvedge near the raw, cut end of the fabric.

2 Rip cotton fabric across the raw edge, using the snip as a starting point. Refold the fabric as it came off the bolt, matching the selvedges and the newly ripped edge to themselves.

3 If the "fold" isn't lying straight and smooth, the fabric is off grain. Unfold the fabric and pull from opposite corners of the fabric, as you would a free-standing frame to pull the threads into alignment. Repeat until the fold does lie properly.

TIP - Look Before You Buy!

Striped fabric needs the stripes to be printed on the straight grain. Before you buy, look closely at the threads of the fabric for a continuous thread to follow a stripe.

<<== Wiki Sewing cont. ==>>

Notions

Before you go home with your pattern and fabric, take another look at the back of the pat tern envelope for the section titled “notions.” This section tells you how many buttons you need, what size zipper, and other sewing notions you will need to complete the project. You can purchase these, along with good thread, at the same time you buy the pattern and fabric.

After you purchase the fabric, prepare it for sewing by washing and drying or steaming, then pressing it.


Sewing Basics -- A Quick-start Guide

Before you begin sewing, know about ...

  1. Fabric
  2. Basic sewing tools
  3. Beyond the basic tools
  4. Choosing a pattern
  5. Choosing fabric
  6. Layout and cutting
  7. Marking the pieces
  8. Introduction to the sewing machine

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Sunday, 2012-04-22 12:55