Boggled brain!

Each week, it becomes clearer and clearer why my past creations have never been quite right! There are so many little things to think about when making a garment that I would never have known about if someone hadn’t taught me. Guess thats the point of going back to school!

Last Monday I told you about the skirt I’m making in my Clothes Making class, and then went to the class itself. After a stifling journey to college on the Victoria line, I was awfully drowsy and not nessessarily ready for the level of concentration required!

Apologies if this gets a bit technical, but its really good for me to write out what I’ve learnt as I’m far more likely to remember it that way! Peggy is waiting to say hello at the bottom if you just want to skip the ‘science bit’.

Having altered the pattern to fit me and chosen my fabric the previous week, the next task was to place the pattern on the fabric in the correct way. Simple I thought. I was wrong.

Having washed my fabric at home to see if it was likely to shrink, it then needed pressing and laying out on the table.

Here it was important to understand the construction of the fabric in a bit more depth, so here is a little diagram that will hopefully explain better than words:

These are the main steps we then followed to getting the fabric ready for the pattern:

1) Decide on the right and wrong side. This can be done either by looking at the selvedge, or of there are pin marks along the selvedge the right side is more likely to be the smooth side of these holes. It can obviously also be done by eye if the fabric has a pattern.

2) Fold the fabric selvedge to selvedge across the width of the fabric, never the length. This is a good habit to get in to as it ensures your fabric matches up if you are using patterned fabric. The selvedges need to meet perfectly.

3) Check for marks or damage to the fabric, mark these with a pin (mine had a couple – I bought my fabric from Walthamstow Market, so it might have been a faulty roll bought by the stall holder at a discounted price!).

These marks caused me a few problems as I couldn’t follow the guide layout given in my instructions. Instead I had to get creative and work around them.

I couldn’t follow this because of the mark on the fabric

4) This mark means you put the pattern on the foldline.

5) All patterns also have a straight line with an arrow head at one or both ends. This is the grainline, and when laying out patterns the grainline must always be parallel to the selvedge. These need to be accurate, which can be done by ensuring the distance between each end of the arrow to the selvedge is the same.

5) Pin the pattern to the fabric, keeping it smooth and flat.

6) Cut it out!

With all this to consider, it is no longer a mystery as to why things have never quite worked in the past!

Peggy really getting in to her modelling


4 thoughts on “Boggled brain!

  1. all sounding good Mrs Norris, some heavy duty technical knowledge being demonstrated, we’ll make a technologist out of you yet!! So the salvage is the natural woven edge of the weave, the pin holes are the damage caused as it’s worked through the loom. Your Warp yarns run the full length of the fabric, whilst the Wefts run through the Warp creating the salvage as they return back into the loom. If you alter the pattern of the wefts entering the warp, i.e float over 2 under 1 you get a satten (satin being a silk sateen), alternate on the diagonal for a twill and so on. Damasks are just very complicated weft woven textiles.

    I always remember the weft Vs warp as the weft goes ‘Weft to right’, heard it years ago and it always stuck. So the trick here is for you to be crazy good and knit and weave, it skill rarely mastered, generally people are weavers or knitters!

    Fabric construction is really very interesting, consider yarn thickness known as ‘Denier’ or ‘DeciTex’ depending on the measure you choose to use, and yarn count which is the number of warp and weft threads in a square inch, over 180 and it gets into Percale quality. Finer higher density fabrics are better and more expensive, in the USA they won’t sleep on bed sheets under 250 thread count.. that’s why you never see yanks in the NHS!

    Dyeing and finishing hugely affects the handle (feel) of a fabric, darker colours to tend to stiffen a fabric slightly. The fibres in a fabric naturally lift on the surface, these can be singed off to make the fabric finer, you can all also ‘calenderise’ where the fabric is taken through numerous rollers, some very hot and this alters the quality, making it more stable and fine. Cotton fabrics can be chemically treated, this is called ‘mercarisation’ to add lustre.

    Blended fabrics i.e. polycottons tend to ‘pill’ worse the 100% fabrics as the polyester fibres will tend to lift to the surface and then be prone to binding in on themselfs during wear ‘piling’ into little bobbles.

    Keep going! Loving the posts

    Walthamstow Bob

    • Blimey Walthamstow Bob – that’s amazing, thank you. You are going to be having me knocking on your door asking for fabric identification! I feel a guest blog coming on……..!

  2. Walthamstow Bob, you seem like a very knowledgable man. Why do t-shirts get those tiny holes at the front near the bottom? I though it was just me, but recently I’ve discovered it’s a common problem and no-one seems to know the answer…

  3. Pingback: Can you tell what it is yet?! | Peggy's Pickles

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