Fabric, ironing and direction


Bundle of fabric

The fabric arrived

My fabric arrived yesterday afternoon.  Yay!  I had a great time looking through all the textures and colours, the stripy fabric is particularly colourful and the bamboo silk is luxuriously soft.  The bundle also included the green gingham I’ve been waiting for for my shirt project so today that’s what I got started on.

The fabric is 100% organic cotton so there could be problems with shrinkage and in order to minimize these I decided to pre-wash the fabric.  I also wanted to get started on the project as soon as possible so I sketched out the pattern on the fabric to see how much of the fabric I needed.  Having cut the fabric into two pieces I put the amount of fabric I needed for the shirt onto wash and as the fabric’s organic I did the wash without washing powder.  After it was washed I then had to iron the fabric, but to let you into a secret I’m very bad at ironing so I was not looking forward to this.   To my surprise ironing it was easy and I actually enjoyed it!

Then came the fun, and slightly scary, part drawing the sections and cutting the pattern.  This went well for the largest section, the main back piece, and I left plenty of room for adjustment during the fitting.  When I started thinking about the two front panels I realised I’d made a mistake when I’d blocked out the pieces to check how much cloth I’d need.  Pattern, yes pattern tripped me up.   The checked fabric has a directional pattern.  I’d carefully positioned the fabric in the most efficient way to maximise the use of the fabric but not remembered the direction of the two front panels needs to be the same as the back panel.  I put the rest of the fabric onto wash and cut the rest of the pieces, sleeves, neck collar from the original piece.  Now I have more ironing to do before I can finish the cutting but at least I didn’t cut the front pieces and work out later the pattern was the wrong way!

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Waiting for deliveries


cotton reels buttons and fabric samples

Cotton reels, buttons and fabric samples

I’m waiting to start my next project, a men’s short sleeved shirt.  The planning has been a lot of fun, especially deciding the design details.  Looking through samples of fair trade and organic cotton gave me a much better feel for the different fabrics available.  For this shirt, after talking to the person the shirt’s for, I ordered the green gingham with large checks.  The colour is the fabric at the front of the photo above but with the design of the blue fabric behind it.

While I’ve been waiting for the fabric to arrive I’ve been working out the details I can add to make the shirt pop.  I always think of check shirts as informal and rugged in style, like lumberjack shirts, so I decided to play on this in an understated way by making the stitching more visible.  Normally the stitching would be in white thread so that it blends in but to enhance the green of the shirts I’m going to highlight some of the stitching in a coppery/brass/goldy brown colour.  I’ve bought two shades of thread for this and I’ll see which one works best.  To go with this I also chose metal brassy buttons, I thought these would look good with a design on them as well.  I’m lucky that York has a great haberdashery with thousands of buttons to choose from so I took a walk to browse their collection.  The ones I picked are shown in the picture and have either a Chinese style dragon or fish which is cool.  Unfortunately I’ve completed all the preparation I can so now all I can do is wait with excitement for the fabric to arrive.