How to handle 'difficult' fabrics
Nobody likes to talk about it: but there are really fabrics which are hard to handle. The fabrics are difficult to cut, to fold, to sew. They can't help it either... But be aware: only start working with these fabrics if you have a lot of sewing experience.
Sewing pattern, sewing experience and the fabric!
What determines whether your sewing project succeeds or not? Often the combination of the sewing pattern, your sewing experience but also the fabric. Sewing patterns always mention specific fabrics that are suitable for the pattern. You can deviate from this in terms of color and print, but it is recommended to choose the recommended fabrics. (Logical!) Simply because the sewing pattern has been tested or made specifically for this.
Your sewing experience also determines whether your sewing project will create a successful garment. This is indicated in nine out of ten cases on the sewing pattern. The pattern is considered suitable for a beginner, a seamstress with moderate experience and a seamstress with a lot of experience.
However, just as important is the choice of fabric you make. There are very nice fabrics for sewing and there are fabrics which are more difficult. The difficult fabrics require a bit of extra experience from the seamstress. You don't have to avoid the fabrics, but if you read our tips, it will save you a lot of frustration or even failed sewing projects.
Tips for 'difficult' fabrics
Fabrics are always neatly arranged or type or by color in stores and online stores. Sometimes you can also search for properties. Is the fabric non-stretchable, stretchable or elastic in both length and width? Is the fabric smooth or very firm? This is all very important to know when choosing a fabric for a sewing project.
Rarely, however, is it indicated whether a fabric is 'difficult' to cut or sew. We mean that the fabric slips between your scissors, during cutting, or slips under your presser foot when you are sewing the fabric. Think of silk-look fabrics, velvet or smooth satin.
It is also difficult if the fabric 'fringes' quickly or even enormously. This is especially the case with Bouclé fabrics that are also loose-fitting. In 'how to sew Bouclé fabric' we give tips & tricks to handle it well.
Firm or thick fabrics can also be difficult. They are often difficult to fold and you will need a sewing machine that can handle really thicker fabrics. Think of jeans, canvas, goblin, jacquard or heavy wool.
Finally: elastic fabrics. Is your first sewing project making a bikini? Then ask extra help and be aware that sewing super stretch fabrics is a difficult job. It is also especially recommended to use a coverlock machine which is capable of making coverstitches. Finishing the seams in a different way (for example zig-zag) on a regular sewing machine will give a beautiful finish.
Haute couture fabrics
Haute couture often works with expensive and exclusive fabrics. These are of course very beautiful. But be aware that the expensive fabrics are often not the easiest fabrics for a sewing project.
We already mentioned the 'Very Bouclé' fabrics that often fray when you look at them. But brocade fabrics, jacquard fabrics and sequin fabrics can also be difficult. You have a chance that your needles will break on the embroidered additions / sequins on the fabric or on the golden lurex threads. Or pull the threads with you in your sewing machine, and your entire front piece is suddenly destroyed.
Take extra time for these fabrics and baste everything in advance.
In addition, with jacquard fabrics you often have to deal with patterns that are woven into the fabrics. Pay particular attention to this when cutting. Or that the front pieces fit nicely and the sleeves fit in the patterns of the fabric. This is really a job that requires experience and a lot of patience. Always buy extra fabric, then you can cut any incorrectly cut pattern parts.
Organza, Voile, Chiffon, Pleated and stretch lace are difficult fabrics because they are very thin and do not keep well in shape during cutting and sewing. Provide extra weights on the fabric while cutting and thin pins for the fabric. Buy special silk pins that are thinner and longer than regular glass head pins. In addition, make sure you choose the right thin sewing machine needles. A needle that is too thick can easily destroy the fabric.
Silk and taffeta fabrics are very pleasant to sew with, although here also applies: make sure you use the right pins and sewing machine needles. They fold fine, do not slip and ensure that you can work accurately. Silk-look fabrics, satin silk or mixes are often a lot less pleasant to work with. These are of course cheaper, but in the case of a 'Chanel-Style' jacket for example, the investment in real silk is definitely worth it. Moreover, the pleasure in your sewing project is not spoiled by a fabric that does not want to cooperate.
When making costumes for LARP, you run into problems less often. Most fabrics are based on fabrics such as canvas, jute, cotton, cotton twill, linen and sometimes leather. Leather-sewing of course a profession, but the other fabrics are nice to cut and sew. In LARP costumes less elastic fabrics are used because they were not there before. In addition, most fabrics must be strong and able to take a beating. LARP events are not just about posing for a photo, but there is often action and movement. Tough robust fabrics are key elements!
However, velvet is often used in medieval clothing. This is a difficult fabric because it is difficult to fold, you have to pay attention to the wing in the fabric while cutting and because the fabric slips during sewing. Make sure you use a special presser foot to avoid this problem and especially pin the parts very well. Better yet, baste everything before you start sewing.
The whiff of the fabric means that when you stroke the fabric, one side rubs flat on the hair and the other way the hair will stand on end. This changes the structure / color of the fabric. When you smooth the fabric, you go with the whiff, when the hairs stand up, you go against the whiff.
Take extra time while cutting and pay attention to the whiff. If the fabric is on the table, this seems less important. But once you put the fabric on as a garment, and the whiff isn't right, it can ruin the entire costume. Pay close attention to the WIRE DIRECTION indicated on the cartridge parts. So always buy extra fabric, you will need it to cut all the pattern parts correctly with regard to the fabric whiff. 'Fabric-saving' or cost-saving cutting is not applicable here.
Velvet is so beautiful that it is definitely worth it. However, if you choose stretch velvet or velor de panne, you have a lighter type of velvet and it is also elastic. These are not beginner fabrics. Ask for extra help and practice on test patches first.
Brocade fabrics can be very pleasant to sew, especially if it is not too thick. Goblin also sews nice and stable. These substances are often expensive. And make sure you order some extra fabric. The cutting will require extra fabric because there is often a drawing or pattern / drawing in the fabric.
Brocade fabrics can be thick or thin. Goblin is thicker; jeans sewing machine needles are a must.
Cosplay uses more lace, silk and stretch fabrics. This is easily done with mediocre sewing experience. If the costumes are more Fantasy and Steampunk-esque, make sure not to choose too thick fabrics or leather, if you do not have a special leather sewing machine. A lighter leather look is a better alternative and also less expensive.
Stretch lace is not an easy job, but the same applies here: baste everything in advance and then sew everything together. This extra action ensures that it succeeds in flat that your sewing project ends in the trash. Where possible: work by hand instead of the sewing machine.
Satin is not pleasant to sew with. A finer alternative is taffeta silk or real silk. These last two fold better and sew very pleasantly.
If you need a lot of fabric for a costume, such as with our Star Wars Kylo Ren costume, you can choose Garbadine or a cheaper alternative: Texture or Terlenka. These fabrics work fine, do not shrink and can take a beating.
Texture fabrics are often categorized under 'party fabrics' at online fabric stores. Do not let this be confusing. Texture of Terlenka are fine fabrics and are a great base for costumes.
Sample patches and alternatives
There is often an alternative for every fabric. Of course you cannot replace a recommended stretch fabric with a non-stretch fabric, but solutions can be found. Ask for advice in the store, ask the customer service of the online store or an experienced seamstress. Anything better than getting frustrated and quitting your sewing project. That would be a real pity and is often not necessary.
It is often possible to request a sample of the fabric. It can save you a lot of trouble.
Always buy a little extra fabric. Here you can practice in advance and test sewingmachineneedles or find the right stitch. It can also be reassuring that you have some extra fabric, in case something goes wrong while sewing or cutting the fabric.
Fabrics are often chosen or based on color and print. But the property of a fabric is even more important. Some fabrics are a lot more difficult to cut and sew than others. Be aware of this when choosing a fabric. When in doubt, request a sample or sew a sample first. A good sewing pattern, your experience as a seamstress and the right fabric determines whether a sewing project delivers a good result.
Good luck !
Vogue V9095: super cute!
Vogue V9095, like Vogue V7975, seems a bit outdated because of the frontpage of the sewing pattern. The drawings are drawn in a style that no longer fits today. Nevertheless, we would like to point out this fine pattern that is very suitable for making a Chanel-Style jacket. The pattern is an excellent base to make a Chanel-Style jacket that is super cute.
The vogue pattern is a lined jacket pattern in three different variations. The jacket is enclosed by bands and has princess lines. The sewing pattern is available in two different sizes. Make sure you order the right one!
The pattern is labeled "Vogue EASY". However, we believe that it takes experience to get the bands right. (and the welt-pockets!) The instructions are clear, but it remains a challenge. Just ask an experienced seamstress for help, then it is certainly fun to work with this sewing pattern.
The fabrics that are recommended to use are: Garbadine, Crepe, Shantung. And for the contrasting bands: Lace, Eyelets, Novelty sheers.
We have made the jacket in two variations. As above with a wool fabric. This was pleasant work and easy to do. Note, however, that diagonal lines or checkered patterns are rarely advised. This is mainly because it is a huge job to get the 'pattern' exactly so that the lines of the front pieces merge. However, by placing the contrasting bands in a different angle, it is not noticeable that it does not fit 100% in terms of lines.
Either way, choosing a plain fabric is a lot easier.
We made the second jacket in black fabric and decorated it with a golden trims. The Garbadine fabric works very pleasant and is highly recommended. Splendissima shows the black jacket and has styled it with a belt around them. This looks even more stylish because the shape is a bit straightforward. A tighter dress or shirt underneath is recommended.
A bit negatives:
Vogue V9095 is an ideal sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket. The pattern is based on the 'boxy-like' original Chanel jacket with bands. The lining also offers the opportunity to really make it into a Haute Couture jacket that is perfectly finished both on the inside and on the outside.
The Chanel-Style jacket is very cute. And in terms of styling you can go in all directions: from super modern to timeless or vintage.
Stay healthy, wear gloves...
Don forget your gloves !
By Elena Tran, Baudekin Studio
Once upon a time fashion gloves were stylish, unspoken symbol of luxury and class, a powerful combination of modesty and glamour. Would recent events make us revisit this obsolete fashion accessory and make gloves come back to our lives?
In these anxious times, gloves may help psychologically by forming a thin barrier between us and the outside world. Although cloth gloves do not provide the same level of protection as plastic gloves, but as with cloth masks, any protection, in my opinion, is better than no protection. They stop us from touching the face and transferring germs from surfaces for once.
A little bit of History
Gloves were first worn by cardinals and kings as ornamental accessories to signify social status, wealth and elegance. (BARGER) In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, gloves were often given as gifts and tokens of love and respect. Looking at the vintage painting and photos, it’s interesting to see how gloves evolved. Gloves are often associated with women and strict social rules, but actually up until twentieth century both men and women made considerable investments in their clothing, including gloves. The gloves were adorned with jewelry and elaborate embroideries and, if not worn, they were always carried around as a status symbol. (Smithsonian)
From daily wear to pure luxury
Gloves gradually disappeared from every day wear after the 1970s along with hats, but they continued to be associated with luxury. Looking through the books about Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, I see how these designers thought about the total ensemble, matching the outfit with the hat, bag and gloves Balenciaga’s simple black wool suit transforms when accompanied by black gloves. The famous ‘Caracas’ Dior silk dress had matching long black gloves, which added the air of unmistakable glamour to the dress. Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy and other designers used gloves as a powerful accessory on runways and in catalogues to make their couture garments stand out.
There are many glove patterns available online, and they are actually very similar. The prices vary widely, however. PDF patterns are the cheapest, but keep in mind that they require a certain level of computer skills to make sure your print scale is 100% and you will need A4 paper supply. If you don’t have a printer, call your local office supply store before ordering a PDF pattern to see if they can print it for you and for how much because it will add to the cost of the PDF pattern. For your free options, online Threads magazine offers a free pattern which is great for those who have solid sewing skills.
Start making handgloves!
If you are new to making gloves, however, I suggest getting a pattern with full sewing instructions. Original vintage patterns are the most expensive. Although I was tempted to get a 50s pattern, I opted for the brand new Vogue gloves pattern from mccall.com which also happened to be on sale. (Buyers beware: when shopping for patterns, check official sites like McCalls or Burda first before shopping at other places like Etsy or online vintage pattern shops. Butterick, Vogue and McCall’s reprint some of their vintage patterns and you can get their selection when you go to mccall.com and type “vintage” in the search box. )
Sewingpattern Vogue V8311
This Vogue pattern has large, medium and small glove sizes and varieties of designs. To determine your size, you need to measure the circumference of your palm at the widest part (small is 7”, medium 8” and large 9”). To get a perfect fit, cut the pattern on a bias and use a stretchy material. Perfect fabric for making reusable gloves is cotton, especially stretch cotton, but you can make the gloves from leather, rayon, silk, linen, wool and, of course, jersey. Once you perfect the basic pattern, you can play with the design; include buttons, buckles, elastic panels, lace, embroidery or beads. Be bold and express yourself.
Choose your color
What colour gloves to make is really a matter of your unique taste. If you want to stay traditional, look at your bag or shoes and get the gloves to match. Make a mask in the same fabric and the colour coordination will be perfect. Although white gloves are probably impractical, little black gloves would be the most elegant choice for any outfit. To remember your gloves, keep one pair in your purse and another in your car. Wash the gloves as soon as you come home, just as you do with your cloth face mask.
This is a new reality for most of us, no matter where we are in the world. Cloth gloves, like masks, are another way to adapt and move on. But for all the artists and creators out there, gloves don’t need to be unsightly nuisance contributing to landfills. They can be a way to express our unique style and they need not disappear again.
About the Author:
Elena Tran is a Canadian dressmaker and an entrepreneur passionate about haute couture sewing using
beautiful fabrics and notions. After her career as a college administrator and mathematics professor, she
pursued her interest in sewing and opened an online luxury fabric store baudekinstudio.ca. She is
constantly learning and improving her craft. Her training includes lessons with the legendary couture
instructor Angelina di Bello (Montreal, Canada), dressmaking program at Mohawk College (Hamilton,
Canada) and online needlework courses at the Royal School of Needlework (London, UK).
Vogue V7975: perfect fitted jacket!
Vogue V7975 appears to be a very old-fashioned pattern because of the front-drawing of the sewing pattern. Nevertheless, we would like to point out this fine pattern that is very suitable for making a Chanel-Style jacket. And there is a big surprise to report: the pattern has a perfect fit!
The vogue pattern is a pattern for a lined jacket in two different length variations. The fronts can also be made in two different ways: closing or hanging open. The pattern is available in two different sizes. Make sure you order the right one!
The pattern indicates that the seamstress may be 'beginner' in terms of level. In other words: EASY. However, we believe that this is not correct. The pattern is simple, but because of the Bouclé fabrics (make buttonholes in it is a real challenge!) It always requires more skill and knowledge from the seamstress. Moreover, 'Mock welt pockets' are really very difficult and difficult to make! This is a sewing technique that belongs to the advanced seamstress.
The fabrics that are recommended are: wool and wool blends, bouclé, tweeds, garbadine and lightweight linen. We have made the jacket in several variations. As above with Boucle fabric which is very loose thread. This was a huge job and we have described it in this blog. We also have advice for you to work with Bouclé fabrics. Check this page.
We also made the jacket in Bouclé fabric which is woven more solid. This went perfectly and we were happy with the result.
Finally, we made the jacket in a tweed fabric with a silk lining. We sewed this jacket according to the techniques of Claire Schaeffer described in her book: The Couture Cardigan Jacket. This is a sewing technique for advanced seamstress: you first sew the lining to the pattern parts and then assemble the jacket, largely by hand. Vogue V7975 does just fine for this advanced purpose.
Vogue V7975 is an ideal sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket. The fit is very good and not only dresses off but also makes it longer and elegant. The sewing pattern offers many options in terms of variations and you can 'quilt' the lining yourself as the couture sewing techniques of Coco Chanel once were and are explained in the book by Claire Schaeffer.
Forget the old fashioned frontpage of this sewingpattern and turn it into a beautiful modern or timeless classic Chanel-Style jacket!
Simplicity 8604; review
Simplicity 8604 is a modern jacket in Chanel style. We have made model C and are enthusiastically divided. The sewingpattern needs adjustments, especially on the sleeves and front closure. We only recommend this pattern if you have extensive experience in adjusting patterns.
Modern and young
The jacket on the front page looks young, fresh and very modern. The peplums make the jacket nice in shape, the emphasis is on the waist of the wearer and this is very beautiful. The sleeves are also flared. This makes the jacket slightly different than usual. We preferred model c, but model D is also very nice in 'Chanel style' and models A. and B. are casual and handy.
Simplicity 8604 is published by Threads and is linked to an article in Threads with detailed instructions. But also without these instructions; no panike. The sewingpattern contains an instruction description as usual. The instructions are short, visually clear but a beginner is unlikely to get out. We recommend asking for help if you are a beginner or only starting this pattern if you have extensive sewing experience.
Sizing and cutting
The pattern comes in many variations in size and cups. This makes cutting the pattern a lot of work very. Make sure you cut out the right sizes. A tip: first indicate on the pattern sheets with a highlight pen what part you need. Then cut everything out and cross off the list on the first instruction sheet. Or cut everything out and make stacks in size / cups.
The fabrics that are recommended are: Bouclé, Brocade, Corduroy, Damask, Demin, Linen, Ponte, seersucker and Tweeds. We recommend indeed only taking these fabrics, although we doubt linen and seersucker. The fabrics need a bit of firmness and should not fall smoothly. This mainly because otherwise the peplumns would not be flattering. A firm fabric is also a must for the other models.
Adjusting the sewingpattern
The pattern was very disappointing in terms of comfort and portability and is also noticed in the images of the sewingpattern. The sleeves are too narrow from above for normal arms and the cups are too small in size to make the front pleasantly portable. There is not much movement-comfort if you are wearing this jacket. In models C and D the front pieces should be closed over each other, unfortunately this does not work. Make sure that you make the fronts more spacious and the sleeves much more spacious. This does require experience in adjusting patterns.
The sewingpattern is a nice model if you want to make a Chanel-Style jacket. Model D in particular is the most likely in that direction. Model C has playful peplums and is a good choice for young people or someone who wants a jacket with a young, playful look. However, the pattern needs adjustments: for models C and D, the front pieces do not fit and over properly. The sleeves are too narrow from above and very wide.
We wish you the best of luck with this sewing pattern.
We would like to point out this interesting interview with a great woman, Sophia Coppola, and intro video. The documentary will be just as interesting. After reading, are you coming back to our website?
Thanks and have a wonderful weekend.
Sophia Coppola goes behind the scenes in