Friday, 26 June 2015

How do you get a straight edge once you have washed your fabric?

Question One from Gill Thornley's Q&A Session at Dressmakers Social on Monday 22 June 2015

Question from Kerry Wallis

"How do you get a straight edge once you’ve washed a fabric? It’d be handy as I have tried a few times but end up cutting the edge over and over wasting precious cms of fabric"

Gill's Answer

Firstly you need to check whether the fabric has been cut or torn with the grain line or whether it has just been cut badly by the shop.

The only time we at Ditto Fabrics will cut off grain is when a fabric has a regular print which runs from selvedge to selvedge as it’s very rare for a print to be exactly at 90 degrees with the selvedge.

If it has been torn with the grain one thread will pull off in a continuous length.

Certain fabrics can only be torn with the grain if you want to guarantee that they are straight. Fabrics that fall into this category are most fine and sheer fabrics such as chiffons, lightweight polyesters and silks (without a slub) and viscose fabrics.

The above fabrics must have the torn edge. When cutting out the torn edge must be at an exact 90 degree angle with the selvedge because if it isn’t the garment will not hang properly, be a nightmare to sew and it is nigh impossible to get the hem straight.

Some fabrics can not be torn such as jersey fabrics and fabrics with any type of woven design.

If it has been cut with the grain let your eyes follow the weft thread at the cut edge and see if it the fabric has been cut following it.
These photographs show that the fabric on the left has not been cut on the grain, the right has.

Unless the fabrics has a definite grain line such as heavier linens it can be very difficult to see and you may need to pull a weft thread out which will create a small gap and therefore indicate how accurately the fabric has been cut.

If checks & woven design fabrics have been cut with the check or design the fabric has been cut with the grain line.
When buying fabric from a bale hopefully a shop will cut each layer singly as if both sides are cut together the underside could be totally off grain or design.

If you find the fabric has just been cut badly you can straighten the fabric yourself by either tearing it with the grain or cutting with the grain but be prepared that if this is the case you may very well loose quite a few centimetres off your length and then not have enough fabric for your garment.
Alternatively return the fabric to the shop and say it has been cut off grain and ask for a new length.
Depending on the shop they might not know what you are talking about and say it doesn’t matter.

Once you know that your fabric is cut or torn to grain and if the fabric has been folded you will need to press the fold line out and refold it accurately selvedge to selvedge.

Torn Edge
Refolded accurately
If the fabric won’t lay straight it means the grain line needs to be straighten which is done
by pulling the fabric on the bias the whole length of the fabric.

This may need to be done several times especially on heavier tightly woven cottons.
If you over straighten you can always pull the fabric on the bias the other way.

Take a look at this link for more details on straightening the grain. This youtube video is also worth watching. 

Thank you for your question Kerry and coming along to Dressmaker Social, see you at the next one!

Gill Thornley (Ditto Fabrics) Q & A Session at the Dressmakers Social Meetup on Monday 22nd June 2015

Couldn't make it along to the Dressmakers Social Meetup on Monday night, came along and forgot to take notes or didn't quite understand something Gill said? Don't worry we have a series of blog posts coming up over the next week or so that cover all of Gill's answers and more!

In the meantime here are a couple of pics from the night...

I love the quirkiness of The Marwood Coffee Shop, and the coffee, and the cake and their staff are pretty ace too!

Before the session started Gill took fabrics samples around the room to explain the difference between cotton poplin and cotton lawn, how to feel the fabric to judge the quality and to show what fabric looks like when it is cut off grain!

Little bit of socialising before the Q & A session began.

Thank you Laura for taking this picture of me and my bird folder introducing Gill :)

And Wendy Ward for this one of Gill demonstrating if the fabric as been cut on the straight grain 

Remember... if you can pull one single thread from the cut edge then the fabric has been cut in the grain, if you can pull a few threads, uh oh! you will need to straighten the grain and re-cut the fabric on the straight grain to produce a perfect garment!

Thank you to Zoe who sat in the front row for taking this fantastic shot! I can't remember what Gill is referring to though, can you Zoe? 

Paying attention and live tweeting on the night! 

 Right, I'm off to get the first Q&A blog post ready!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

A night with Fabric Expert Gill Thornley from Ditto Fabrics

Wow! What an evening! My head is still whirling with information from our incredibly knowledgable guest Gill Thornley. 

Thank you so much Gill for sharing your knowledge and experience with us! 

More notes will follow but I just wanted to share some snippets that were tweeted last night with the #askditto

Pull fabric across the bias to straighten the grain 

Weft and warp need to be at 90 degrees for a garment to be successful 

If fabric is torn with the grain you can normally pull one thread out

Want try a style or fabric choice you have previously not tried? Pop into shops and try on a ready to wear garment before making your own to see if you like it! 

What are you making and how long do you want to wear it for? Adjust your fabric accordingly

Grease on your silk? Put talc on it and dab it out before washing 

Linens are easier to sew once prewashed

Polyesters have their place, they must have a good weight and drape to them

If you are not sure of a fabric's content, try the burn test. To test a wool, take a small piece and burn it (safely!)  Pure wool will turn to dust, if is is mixed with polyester there will be a sharp edge where burnt. 

Thanks everyone who came along... Pop back in the next few days for more! 


Saturday, 13 June 2015

Dressmakers Social Meetup - Monday 22nd June 6-8pm


How is your month going? What have you been sewing?
My most recent makes are a pair of linen/viscose culottes, a liberty blouse/top for a wedding tonight and a gorgeous orange linen dress for my Mum. I am also getting excited about the next meetup.

June is whizzing by and it's just over a week until the second Dressmakers Social Meetup!

Our guest is Gill Thornley, owner of Ditto Fabrics and a fount of all knowledge for fabric and dressmaking. She will be answering your fabric and dressmaking questions. So if you have a question for Gill, send it in via the Facebook page here or ask her on the night!

Gill has asked that we collect money on the evening for The Martlets in exchange for her time and knowledge. 

"The Martlets Hospice cares for people affected by life limiting illness living in and around Brighton and Hove"

Any donations will be greatly appreciated by Gill and The Martlets. 

Looking forward to seeing you...

On Monday 22nd June
Upstairs at the Marwood Coffee Shop
52 Ship Street, Brighton


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Me Made May 2015

Is it too late for a review of my Me Made May challenge? It's only the 9th June.

Here it is anyway...

I decided to join in with So, Zo... What Do You Know?'s Me Made May this year after I read about it mid way through May last year. You start the chainege by making a pledge that will challenge you on her blog and then post your progress on your own blog/twitter/instagram etc. 

I posted my pledge in her comment section and on my personal blog here at the end of April.

I already wear Me Made everyday so I needed to add in an extra challenge. I decided that I would try and make some me made undergarments as I have had patterns and classes booked for a while but hadn't got around to making/doing them. 

So I made this pledge...

I, Emma of and, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '15. I endeavour to continue to wear at least one me made item of clothing each day for the duration of May 2015. In addition I will stop putting off making and wearing the knickers pattern I have had for too long and may even attempt to start the craftsy bra making course I bought six months ago!

And posted my photo's daily on my @craftyandcake instagram 

This is what my May 2015 looked like...

Patterns have been drafted by me unless otherwise stated. The fabric shops used are in brackets and links are below. 

The first week of May was cold! I wore (clockwise)
1. My chambray (Merchant and Mills) dress and Sindy doll inspired Jacket (Ditto Fabrics) 2. Swallow print jersey dress (Fabricland) 3. Stripe jersey dress (Fabricland) 4. Stripe dress and a MIY Collection shrug (Ditto Fabrics) 5. Ready to wear jeans and jumper with my Sindy jacket (Ditto Fabrics) 6. Cotton shirt dress (M is for Make) 7. Liberty print shorts (V&A). 

In week two I wore (clockwise)... 1. Jersey t-shirt with contrasting sleeves (Ditto Fabrics) 2. MIY Collection shrug (Ditto Fabrics) 3 & 4. Kimono style top (Ditto Fabrics) 5. Vintage pattern shirt dress (Fabricland) 6 & 7. AnnCanCan Panties Kit (Ditto Fabrics) 8. Shorts (Ikea)  

By week three I no longer needed to wear my jacket - it was warming up, I wore (clockwise)...
1. Beach hut and light house print cotton dress (Quilty Pleasures) 2. Ruffle front dress (Fabricland) 3. Me in chambray culottes (Merchant and Mills) Mini me in her mermaid dress (Fabricland) 4. Stripe jersey dress again (Fabricland). 5. Jersey twin set - t shirt and MIY Collection shrug (Ditto Fabrics) 6. My chambray dress and MIY Collection shrug (Merchant and Mills & Ditto Fabrics)

In week four I wore lots of repeats and an early make dress from the bottom of the drawer (clockwise)... 1. Parasol dress (Ditto Fabrics) 2. Chambray dress and Jersey shrug (Merchant and Mills & Ditto Fabrics) 3. Ruffle dress (Fabricland) 4. Stripe dress and customised rtw cardigan. 5. Jersey shrug (Ditto Fabrics) 6. Cotton top (Brighton Sewing Centre) 7. Stretch cotton dress (Ditto Fabrics)

Nearly there! 1. Anncancan panties (Ditto Fabrics) 2. Wearing my kimono (Ditto Fabrics) whilst working on vintage floral cotton culottes) 3. Shorts (Ikea)

So that was it, my Me Made May 2015 #mmmay15!

It was a great challenge, I wore me made everyday and made two pairs of knickers. I didn't get round to making a bra using the Craftsy course although I did buy my materials and a Kwik Sew pattern from Vena Cava Design. 

I realised that my three favourite items are my chambray dress made with light weight Merchant and Mills denim, a striped jersey dress and my various versions of my MIY Collection Shrug. I also discovered that if I wear my shorts with leggings I get more wear out of them. 

Did you take part in Me Made May? Pop a link in the comments so we can see your experience. 

I'm off to add to my me made collection...

Links to fabric shops

Pattern links