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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: quidscribis
Date: 03-11-2006, 08:33 PM (1 of 6)
I bought some cotton crinkle fabric - 45" wide when it's relaxed, but it stretches out to 60" wide. Lengthwise, it doesn't change. I'm sewing a shalwaar top, which is basically a long tunic with side slits to the hip.

I'm guessing that I leave it in its relaxed crinkle state when cutting the fabric out, and I'm also guessing that a zig-zag stitch will give the fabric more flexibility.

I haven't sewn with crinkle fabric before, so naturally, I have some questions... Like...

When I'm sewing, do I stretch the fabric out or leave it crinkled?

What about the neckline? Am I going to be better off making self-bias tape? Or do I use facing/interfacing? If facing/interfacing, do I iron the fabric flat onto the interfacing? That last question is what makes me think self-bias tape would be easier.

Any other tips? Considerations?
User: quidscribis
Member since: 10-26-2005
Total posts: 16
From: AndreaSews
Date: 03-11-2006, 08:55 PM (2 of 6)
Hi, Quid. Welcome :)
Let's see. I agree, cut it out in its natural crinkled state. I would use a straight stitch though. I like zig zag for a knit, but for a woven, well, I don't think I would want to lend that flexibility to the seams. Is the crinkle only going vertically, like a gauze? I made a top and pants with this stuff, and I had a little struggle, b/c it wanted to un-crinkle as I sewed. I found on a curve, or anywhere horizontal (shoulders and neckline), I had to sandwich the fabric between 2 pieces of tissue paper and sew through the paper, otherwise the feed dogs and the pressure foot flattened out the crinkles and I lost the size and shape. Vertical seams are a breeze though. As for pressing, only up and down motion--no side to side smoothing. Just pick up the iron and place it down over the seams (blotting, not smearing), and save as much pressing as you can for after the bulk of the construction is complete. This will help preserve the shape as you go along. Bias tape or a facing will be fine. Entirely a matter of preference. I would not press it flat before interfacing. This stuff really wants to spring back to its crinkled state when dampened/washed.... Now that I think about it, I think I used bias tape on mine, and it would certainly be fine for the fashion you described. It was tricky though, since it wanted to stretch, and even more so on the bias. Could consider a contrasting bias tape in a non-crinkle/gauze fabric, even muslin. Or a coordinating store-bought bias tape in a package. My shirt was such an easy little pattern, but I didn't stop swearing till I was done, and my last swear was that I'd never buy crinkled gauze again!
User: AndreaSews
Member since: 02-18-2005
Total posts: 1007
From: quidscribis
Date: 03-11-2006, 11:23 PM (3 of 6)
Yes, it stretches horizontally only, not vertically. I washed it yesterday, and it's even springier now than it was off the roll. Not too surprising, I guess - it obviously got flattened on the roll.

Yeah, I'm pretty much decided on using self-bias tape. Bias tape, while it exists here, is pretty limited in color choices - I've only ever seen at most 20 choices - one of each color with little or no shade variations, so the chances of finding the exact color to match is doubtful in the extreme. I think self-bias would probably look better anyway.

I've also decided that, due to the nature of the fabric, that I'll probably do a one-piece dolman sleeve design. No shoulder seam, no sleeve seams. Just neckline, sides, and hem. I think it needs to be kept simple and that will eliminate a lot of the hassles.

I appreciate your thoughts on a straight stitch. You make sense. :) I'll be using leftover bits to experiment with - exhaustively! - before I start sewing the actual garment so I have a better idea of behavior and looks.

It's starting to come together better in my own mind, and after washing it yesterday and seeing how it dried, I have a better feel for the personality of this fabric. It has a really good hang, so I think it'll be worth the hassle. :)
User: quidscribis
Member since: 10-26-2005
Total posts: 16
From: DorothyL
Date: 03-12-2006, 09:10 AM (4 of 6)
I have a tunic style top I made so long ago I don't remember any problems I had with it. I'd say try not to stretch it when you are sewing or your seams will be all puckered. And instead of pressing it try hitting the seams with a shot of steam. I'd finish them if I were you. A French finish is what I used and it turned out fine.
I didn't try to take the crinkles out when I ironed it on to the interfacing -- just laid the iron right down on it. I think this is one time it really paid off to have the interfacing already on the fabric before I cut it.
Just don't fight the fabric, work with it.
My fabric has a bit of metallic in it.
I still wear it all the time.
User: DorothyL
Member since: 12-09-2002
Total posts: 3883
From: quidscribis
Date: 03-12-2006, 10:03 AM (5 of 6)
Dorothy, thanks for your comments.

I don't have a serger, so I'll be using French seams. It's a light enough fabric that it won't be too bulky or stiff, so I think it'll work out nicely. :)
User: quidscribis
Member since: 10-26-2005
Total posts: 16
From: Bama
Date: 03-12-2006, 12:31 PM (6 of 6)
Hi quid, welcome. :bluesmile

I'm glad you posted this question. I bought some crinkle fabric recently and planned on making skirts with it. One for me, one for my sister. I had not given any thought about how difficult it might be to sew.

Let us know how your tunic turns out.
User: Bama
Member since: 03-21-2000
Total posts: 2116
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