Fabric Fabric Everywhere and Nary a Stitch to Sew!

Greetings fellow sewing enthusiasts

The lovely Miss Marsha has kindly agreed to let me stretch my creative wings by publishing my first ever blog post. First EVER? Right? Wish me luck!

Let’s see, where to start? Ah yes, the introduction: My name is Rochelle Freeman and I live in Sunny, Windy, Hot, Cold, Dry, Don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes Desert of Southern California in the good old U S of A.

Beautiful mountain scene. Yup we have Joshua Trees and snow.

The Love of My Life and I met when I was in High School, and we’ve been happily married 33 years. (Shhhh don’t try to guess my age, that’s not polite!) Together we have only one child (That sounds awkward. We both have, no, that sounds like one each. The sum of our product? Naw. Okay, together wins) who so far has one child, our “Grandlovebug” who is the apple of her Opa’s eye. (Oma’s eye too, but Opa won’t share!)

This is my Daughter and Granddaughter. The Leggings are also part of this fabric test, but that’s for another blogpost.

During the weekday morning hours, I work for a paycheck, gotta pay for that fabric somehow!  During the afternoon hours I tend to the farm critters and the house. Somewhere in there I manage to squeeze in a minute or two of sewing. (Well after a few hours on facebook. Sigh.)

The reason I started sewing?

Well, when my daughter was an infant, baby clothes were very expensive and well, just ugly.  Sweat suits were all the rage, and other than color, were basically unisex. I wanted my little princess in princess dresses and all that jazz!  At a yard sale, I found a vintage sewing machine in a cabinet, and paid $50 for it, which was in fact too much, but I didn’t know any better. The Reader’s Digest had a comprehensive book on sewing, which I purchased on their payment plan, yeah that was too expensive as well.  A trip down the sewing center for full priced fabric and full priced patterns and off I went!

Self-taught is empowering.

The awesome thing about being self-taught is nobody ever told me “you can’t” until after I did, and obviously, I can, so there’s no validity to their statement.  PFFFFFFT   Thus, starting with baby clothes I’ve pretty much run the gauntlet of apparel. About the only thing I haven’t made is zipper fly jeans, and that’s mostly because I haven’t found a denim yardage that equals what I can buy in the ready to wear jeans. Right?  Just can’t seem to find that nice and heavy but not too stiff denim!

No stuff is too tough!

Other than apparel, undoubtedly purses are just fun to make, and I find upholstery to be a  challenge but rewarding. Once I even made a quilt,  entered it in a local competition, won first place in my division and best of show.  Meh, I don’t really like making quilts, there is just no joy. Probably because there is no real way to “hack” a quilt. As Marsha can attest, I give her a run for her money when it comes to hacking patterns. Speaking of Marsha, I met her on Facebook, in one or more of the sewing groups.  Cohesively, we do a pretty darn good job of bantering on facebook, keeping the groups lively and eventually became official sewing besties.

Blah blah blah, enough about me, let’s talk sewing!

Recently I had the opportunity to receive free fabric in exchange for an honest review.  The company https://www.lafinchfabrics.com/ sent me two yards of two different fabrics.

The one I will review today is a Rayon Spandex knit. From the website:

Image from their website.

Also available in Red.

SKU: S105

Content: 95% Rayon, 5% Spandex

Width: 60″

Description: This on trend bohemian inspired look is perfect for a flowy dress, top, scarf, skirt, pants, cardigan, and more! Neutral colors of black and white, this fun print will be a staple look as this print is gorgeous year round transitional look for every season! Rayon is 160 GSM, lightweight, gorgeous drape, and soft.

Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Recommend to hang dry.

 

Ohhh so flowy, and billowy that a scarf neck cardigan would be perfect for this fabric!

The fabric arrived packaged beautifully with fun tape, a thank you card enclosed and best of all samples of other fabrics they sell.

The name of this fabric print is  “Tie Dye” but to me, it kinda looks like a cool funky dental x-ray, bite down please and hold. ZOT!

The fabric arrived packaged beautifully with fun tape

This tape makes me smile.

Inside the padded shipping envelope it was the fabric was in a plastic bag.

Thank you card. How cool is that?

Inside the envelope the fabric was neatly packaged in plastic.

The package,  as shown above, contained a thank you card inside. What a nice touch.

Did you know Rayon was the first manufactured fiber?

The term “rayon” was not only officially adopted by the textile industry, but also the consumer as well. Unlike most man-made fibers, rayon is not synthetic. It is currently made from wood pulp, a naturally-occurring, cellulose-based raw material, and therefore can shrink in the wash, so it’s always best to prewash. The fabric had just a smidgen over 2 yards, I measured, because there was no way was this fabric going to hang to dry, not in my house! As a matter of fact, in this is the modern world of handy dandy appliances generally speaking no one hangs clothing to dry! Into the washer just like any other garment in my wardrobe, machine wash warm, tumble dry low. The good news is there was no discernible loss in length or width. The bad news is the selvage shrank and twisted and became an evil villain’s sharp fingernails!

The evil twisted fingernails.

Off to the cutting table to shear the selvage ever so carefully to keep the edge proper for use as a guide to the straight of grain. Sure! In what world?  You do know villains fight every step of the way until fully defeated right?   Once the villainous selvage was fully overpowered and disposed of properly, the fabric was, in addition, gently laid out and smoothed on the cutting table.

The Selvages cut off.

However, just like in most graphic novels, the villain came back to life!

As a matter of fact the fabric itself was greatly twisted! An evil twisted villain! With selvages together, the fold was quite wrinkled meaning the fabric was equally stretched off grain during the printing process.  The proper action in the matter of a knit (we’ll talk woven at another time) is to slide the selvages in opposite directions until the wrinkles disappear then the grain-lines actually match (no membership to a singles dating site required). Righto got that lined up, back on the table but lo and behold, the teeth on this evil villains dental records didn’t line up. Braces much evil one? This actually means, not only was the fabric stretched off grain whilst printing, it was also printed crooked or being a natural fiber, could it actually be tie dyed? Humm Crooked evil teeth.

First run trying to line up print and cut pattern pieces. See

See how the print is off?

 

Painstakingly, I lined up the teeth better than any overpaid orthodontist ever could, pinning every few inches. Luckily the good angel in this fabric is pin friendly Phew!

Print Finally lined up.

Now with everything lined up just so, I was, as shown below, ready to place my pattern.

YIKES! Being this is a fabric test, I really should have used a tried and true pattern, one that I’m familiar with and have used many times, but alas, I just love to make things difficult on myself (sound familiar Marsha?) and I really really wanted a scarf neck cardigan out of this fabric!

Come closer, let me whisper, with the fabric lined up, I started with the largest pattern piece then the second largest and so on. KAPOW! Sorry didn’t mean to startle you. Believe it or not, with all that alignment I had just one pattern piece to go and there was not enough fabric. Seriously.

Cutting out the pattern after lining up the print

Just to be fair, since this was a new to me indy pattern, it’s possible that the pattern fabric suggestions were a bit off.

Not Enough fabric, but I won’t be waylaid! They don’t call me the “Queen of all resources” for nothing! Thrift stores, Charity Shops, second hand stores, yard sales garage sales, craigslist, grandma’s closet, you name it, if I can get pre-loved yardage on the cheap, I’m there.  People will actually give me boxes and bags full of yardage and notions knowing it will go to a good home, but I digress.

Over the river and through the woods to the fabric stash I went.

Luckily finding right on top a beautiful solid black stretch knit with similar hand or body, or whatever you want to call it. Good enough! Back to the cutting table. That horrible horrible villain’s sidekick of a table! Upon completion of cutting the wonderful silky, billowy, drapey, gonna be a cardigan soon fabric, I ascertained the cutting mat had just enough “roughness” kinda like Velcro if you know what I mean, that when I meticulously smoothed this knit, the mat held the piece that was on the bottom of the fold tightly and slightly stretched until after the piece was altogether cut! That looks just slightly right?

Pattern piece under fabric where fabric was, in fact, stretched slightly and held by the roughness of the cutting mat.

So one sleeve is larger than the other, and one side of the front is larger than the other and ½ of the back is larger than the other.  Let’s just hope my body is the same! Tee hee hee.  Good thing this is a knit and not a woven!  Knits are much more forgiving! Time to throw all caution to the wind and get this puppy constructed! Since the fabric is both black and white, I tried each color in the serger and decided that using a few cones of each looked the best.

Zoom Zoom goes the serger

Under arm seam

The fabric threw off its evil nature and repented.

The knit was a breeze to serge.  The entire construction took about 10 minutes, then the hem, which by the way wraps all the way around the neck like a noose, but I’m not afraid!  For that hem, I choose to change the serger to a narrow rolled hem, like you would find on a scarf, duh. That adjustment took longer than actually hemming the garment!

Finished. See how the “teeth” line up?

finished with clothing under to give a better view of the scarf.

All problems aside, I actually love this fabric. I love the look, I love the feel, and I love how comfortable it is to wear. I love how it drapes. Best of all, I get a ton of compliments on it!

Would I buy this fabric again?

Possibly.  Finch Fabrics sells it at a great price, even for a frugal fabric fanatic like myself. If I wanted another garment made out of drapey billowy knit, I definitely would consider a rayon spandex knit. If it has a directional print or any kind of vertical or horizontal strippage, I would surely order an overabundance of yardage, just to make sure everything lines up.

 

A great big thank you to Marsha for letting me hijack her blog today!

God Bless and keep that machine oiled!

Rochelle

Comments

  1. I’m already terrified of knit fabrics. If I had to go through all that, I’d be curled up in a weeping ball.

  2. Judith Gilmore says:

    Excellent blog post Rochelle. I was afraid of knits long before reading this. Still very afraid. I’ll just stand over here an watch you…..

  3. Thank you Judy!

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