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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: MyGirlFriday
Date: 09-10-2005, 11:03 PM (1 of 12)
I am wanting some new clothes....I have been shopping or at least looking around to see what I can find and an unable to find any clothes that I like.

I think that I'm just going to have to sew some clothes for myself. I have a little sewing knowledge but am not really sure about one thing.....fabric selection.

I have lots of patterns that I like however I'm not really sure about which fabric to buy for them. One lady told me to use what fabric that I this true?? Anyone have any tips on fabric selection? :nc:


Blessings & Smiles

Frogs have it easy....they just eat what's buggin' them.
User: MyGirlFriday
Member since: 12-05-2004
Total posts: 288
From: Jayde877
Date: 09-11-2005, 12:05 AM (2 of 12)
It really kinda depends on the pattern. If there are a lot of gathers and seams then you probably want to stay away from heavy materials. Things like that. If it's a skirt that you're looking for then you have to consider drapability. Different fabrics work well for different things. Let us know what actual patterns you're using and I'm sure someone can make a suggestion. Good luck!!

User: Jayde877
Member since: 07-27-2005
Total posts: 106
From: bridesmom
Date: 09-11-2005, 05:27 AM (3 of 12)
Sometimes (and not always!) you can get some good advice from fabric store salespeople. I've found that since I frequent a local store quite often I have gotten to know the different sales staff and I know which ones I can go talk to about the fabric or pattern etc. Don't be afraid to pull out a length of fabric and see how it drapes, or stretches etc. And the info on the back of the pattern that tells what type of fabric really helps too.
Tickled pink with my Innovis 4000D
User: bridesmom
Member since: 01-21-2004
Total posts: 2026
From: Magot
Date: 09-11-2005, 08:23 AM (4 of 12)
I would echo what Laura says - read the pattern directions - they will give useful advice on fabric choices and within that you can choose colour, pattern and so on that suits your complexion. For example some patterns are made for knits and need the stretch, others will need to have a more specific drape. If you can, take the fabric to a window (natural light) and hold it near your skin/face. If you can look in a mirror at this point all well and good - you need to know if it makes you look washed out or sallow or whatever. A good friend is a help at this point as well!
love and kisses, Jan
Cells a Speciality
DNA to order.
User: Magot
Member since: 12-22-2002
Total posts: 3626
From: Catalina
Date: 09-11-2005, 08:37 AM (5 of 12)
I think teaming up of fabric and the pattern is one of the hardest things, but also one of funnest. I usually do follow the recommendations on the pattern envelope. If you have a pattern that has a lot of pieces sometimes using a busy print is not the best thing, also if buying stripes you'll need to match them up. Sewing prints can be more forgiving than sewing solid colors. Just starting out I would stick with the simplier patterns and follow he recommendation on the envelope.
User: Catalina
Member since: 01-06-2005
Total posts: 119
From: DorothyL
Date: 09-11-2005, 09:18 AM (6 of 12)
I think I put more time into the planning and design process than into the actual construction of a garment. That is what makes it creative.
As you get more experience working with different types of fabric you will have a better idea of what works and doesn't.
Meanwhile try to stick to the recommended fabrics on the pattern envelope or to fabrics that have a similar hand as the recommended fabrics.
After you decide on the fabrics you have to decide on the buttons and trims. Then how will you finish seams and then, of course, there are the changes you make in the plan as you are in the process of making the garment.
And in the end it's always hit or miss. You miss more when you start out and hit more with experience. That's what makes it fun, right.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: AndreaSews
Date: 09-11-2005, 07:55 PM (7 of 12)
Once I started shopping at a fabric store that catered to serious sewers (not the national chains), I found that _all_ of their staff knew their stuff. In fact, most of them seem to know a lot more than I do. Now, that's not a knock against the Joann's and other chains. In each of them, you'll find a gem that you can come to again and again. You might even get a sense of her hours and come shopping when you know she'll be there to lend a hand! I usually start with, "Excuse me. Do you sew? Could I ask you for an opinion?" They'll be honest, b/c it makes them uncomfortable to have to guess about the answers to your sewing questions if they don't sew.

One thing that I have found helpful in learning about fabric selection is...well...making mistakes! To put a positive spin on that for you, when I started to try the same pattern with a few different fabrics, even if they were all on the list on the pattern package, that's when I started to catch on about how they change the look of the garment, and how some are easier to handle than others. A plus is that on that 2nd and 3rd time, the sewing goes more quickly for you b/c you know the process better. And you can ensure that your wardrobe doesn't seem like a batch of uniforms by trying the variations on the basic pattern. My mom always taught me to economize by buying the most versatile patterns I could find. (A pattern that includes a tank top, tank dress, shirt with cap sleeves, shirt with long sleeves, and maybe a simple pair of pants to wear with it.)
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: MyGirlFriday
Date: 09-11-2005, 10:25 PM (8 of 12)
I am pretty limited...even though I live in a good sized city (120,000 people) we only have a few places that actually sell fabric. We only have WalMart, Hobby Lobby and Handcock Fabric.
I have made friends with a lady at Hobby Lobby and another at Handcock.....actually today I went and purchased some fabric to make 2 outfits. I bought some navy linen fabric to make a nice jumper with, some black suede like material for a skirt and 2 different fabrics for 2 tops.
I will be working on these project is the upcoming week. I will be starting on the jumper. I will try to post photos as I complete a project.

Thanks for the encouragement~

Blessings & Smiles

Frogs have it easy....they just eat what's buggin' them.
User: MyGirlFriday
Member since: 12-05-2004
Total posts: 288
From: DragonLady
Date: 09-12-2005, 12:46 AM (9 of 12)
Whenever I try a new pattern, I make a cheap copy first. My son calls it a "sloppy copy" because I make it out of anything I have laying around -old sheets are great- and just put it together well enough to figure out how it hangs, what parts need more interfacing, what needs altered, etc.

That way, when I buy my fabric I have a better idea what I want to buy and whether I need to buy extra or if I want to make the pockets a different color or whatever. It's frustrating to get halfway through a project & then realize I would've been happier if I would've changed some small detail.
"No more twist! No more twist!"
User: DragonLady
Member since: 11-10-2004
Total posts: 152
From: Liza44
Date: 09-14-2005, 12:20 PM (10 of 12)
I was a manager for Jo-Ann fabrics for quite a few years. The best thing to do is read the back of the pattern for suggested fabrics, then ask for assistance for fabric meeting those guidelines. Some fabrics are not suitable for certain patterns due to weight, stretch, etc. After awhile, you can judge for yourself, but to start, try to stay with the suggested fabrics for the best results. And as suggested, do a "dummy", that way you can see how the pattern is put together before using good fabric. I use old sheets on occasion, esp. if I am working with expensive fabric, or with a pattern that has some different details. Good Luck, the toughest part is the cutting out, so when you are in the mood, cut a couple of patterns at a time. Then they will be ready to sew! And most of all, have FUN!
User: Liza44
Member since: 09-14-2005
Total posts: 2
From: Teri
Date: 09-14-2005, 07:50 PM (11 of 12)
This is a great idea, I find making a "muslin" (the term that is used in the garment business), is the single most important factor in trying out a new pattern. Not only do you fnd out if it fits you, but you get to check out how much fabric you really need, if the style looks good on you, if the pattern is a stinker or a keeper. I try to use inexpensive fabric and have a few that I actually wear, although most get tossed. As I sew for others making a muslin is a must.

"Where are we going, and why am I in this basket?"
User: Teri
Member since: 09-14-2005
Total posts: 66
From: LauraM62
Date: 09-15-2005, 09:50 AM (12 of 12)
You really should make a sample and/or what some call a muslin. When I have helped other people some things I have found 1) the understanding of pattern sizing. Because they wear a size 12 in RTW does not mean they wear a size 12 in the pattern. Check measurements to determine the size you need first. I think my one dd almost fainted when I cut a size 12 for her, she usually wears a RTW size 7. It was the sizing in the pattern, and we pin fit as we go. 2) doing a sample lets you see if you are going to need any alterations to the pattern. Remember that almost all patterns are made for a "B" cup woman, many of us are not! Some are shorter waisted, rounder in other areas, etc. You may find that some tweaking will need to be done. 3) doing a sample also lets you see if that style line actually looks good on you :whacky: There are times I have seen styles that I like only to try them on and realize they were not made to give my body the best look :shock:

So those are some reasons for samples! Use some sheets as someone mentioned, try some $1 or $2 yard fabrics. You can keep it simple, don't add cuff, collars, those sort of things if you don't want. Threads magazine this month has a excellant article on the making of a muslin. I generally try to use fabric with a similar hand and/or drape as my final would be if at all possible. In other words if the final is going to be a knit you would probably want to do the sample in a knit. Okay done now with MHO ... :coffee:
SW Indiana

If everyone cared and nobody cried; If everyone loved and nobody lied; If everyone shared and swallowed their pride; Then we'd see the day when nobody died --'If Everyone Cared' by Nickelback
User: LauraM62
Member since: 08-10-2003
Total posts: 246
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