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Texturability!

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Ruth shares her love of wool textures and techniques for working with these wonderful fabrics.

Moderator: Ruth

Texturability!

Postby Barb » Thu Sep 08, 2011 3:11 pm

Ruth is ready to sew and share again! This time she'll be using wool and wool blend textures.
Tweeds, boucles and other highly textured wools are super easy to work with. Pick a super simple pattern with minimal seams. Let the fabric be the focal point. The use of sheer under linings like silk organza provide gentle support while improving drape and durability.


Join us for a great time creating fall/winter jackets.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:46 pm

I love wool. If I had to pick a favorite fiber to sew with I would pick wool as my first choice. Wool is so cooperative and flexible. Wool is so forgiving..... the stitches just sink into the fibers so softly. I love all natural fibers because they stitch and press so nicely. I'm always amazed at the beautiful designs created in simple weaves.
Wool is comfortable. Wool is not scratchy and itchy if you are working with a nice quality fabric. Sawyer Brook has always carried beautiful investment quality wool. I still have a few yards of Baby Alpaca and cashmere tucked away. There's nothing like summer weight wool. It is so smooth and lustrous. High quality wool can be as soft as mink. Time to peruse through my collection . It's going to be a difficult decision.
P.S. I'll try to get some photos of several wool textures in my collection so you can visualize the open-weave, loft and design features. The texture will dictate buttonholes and seam finishes and pattern choices.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:23 pm

One fabric is more gorgeous than the next ! I'm showing several fabrics so you can see that some have more bulk than others and some have a looser weave. These fabrics generally make up nicer if you stick with less structure.
Think Coco Chanel ! If you subscribe to Threads Magazine you will find several articles over the years by Claire Schaffer describing Coco Chanel's jacket construction.
I promise you working with textures like these are much easier than you think!!!!!
I'm leaning towards the Rag Basket 2701. The Autumnal colors are great !
I have plans for the Bayberry Herringbone and Bristol texture. Surprise!
OK everyone ..... Get to work..... Go get your fabric ready ! I want to start sewing before it snows!
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Sat Sep 10, 2011 11:26 am

Now that I don't have to get dressed everyday with stockings, heels and tailored garments I am constructing a few more semi-casual clothes. While it may be tempting to wear pajamas until noon I still enjoy wearing nice clothes. My jackets are a little more casual. I plan on making Beene 1741 again. It's like wearing a cardigan sweater. This style jacket works beautifully with jeans or dress pants. The front neckline being slightly dropped looks fabulous with a turtleneck sweater or a strand of pearls. (P.S- there are no darts.)
The photo on the pattern envelope doesn't do this pattern justice ! I have sewn Vogue's Geoffrey Beene 1741 in #9807 'Eve' cotton velvet with glass relief buttons, raw silk with natural shell buttons, heavy tweeds and wool boucle. There's absolutely nothing wrong with making a pattern several times. After all, every time my husband wears a suit to work it's not a new style; just different fabric, different shirts and ties.
I have made the buttonholes with keyholes, bound button holes and with 'windows'. The texture and weave will dictate the button hole opening. 'Window buttonholes' are incredibly easy and will accomodate large irregular buttons. The contrasting background can really showcase a great button ! I also enjoy using bias bindings on heavy textures. The thought of seam allowances being turned inside out doubles the bulk at the seams. ( I have this pattern in a few sizes if anyone needs to borrow a copy.)
Hopefully some of these construction ideas will give you the confidence to approach the highly textured fabrics with confidence. ( And now it's time to get out of my pajamas. It's 11:24 a.m.)

(P.S. The buttons on Glitter Tweed are M04 Geode in Brown. The grey wool windowpane plaid is #5613 Shadowpane.)
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Sun Sep 11, 2011 11:30 am

Finally, I found the picture of the raw silk jacket using Beene 1741. The reason I was looking for this last photo was because of the comparison of weave. Raw silk has weft filler yarns with fine warp threads holding the weave together. This is just like the weave fabrication of the autumnal Rag basket 2701. Many highly textured loosely woven fabrics will need more structure in the buttonhole area which must be created with silk organza, china silk or interfacing. You do NOT want those structural fabrics showing through the open weave. If you sew a traditional button hole in raw silk it will probably tear away from the cross wise yarns. You would have to use silk organza sandwiched inbetween the layers to create a stabile intra-structure. Fusibles may not work well on all silk fibers because of the sericin. For this reason, I choose window buttons. I don't have to worry about the button holes coming apart the very first time I attempt to put the button in the hole. Also, natural shell buttons come in assorted shapes and sizes. I don't think it would look very attractive to stitch different size button holes to accomodate different size buttons. So, if your fabric is very loosely woven I'm sure you will enjoy 'window' buttonholes as much as I do !
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Dixie » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:45 pm

All of us at Sawyer Brook are excited in anticipation of the beautiful garments Ruth will create for this sew-along. Why not join her? Here are some of the textured fabrics we have in stock now!

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Olympia

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Atlantis

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Truffle

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Uffizi

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Browning

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Cords - Double Fun

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Cords

There's more in the store, so go on over to Sawyer Brook and take a look!

P.S. On a personal note, I'm finally working on my crinkle project, making a jacket from Cascade. Crinkle is a texture, right? So maybe I'm not so late for the party after all!
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:29 am

All of those fabrics look great for this project. The Manhattan collection has quite a few great tweeds which will look fabulous in a simple jacket. Get your fabrics ready !
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:10 am

Just recently the Manhattan collection was available in limited yardage. They do sell quickly. Check for availability. (pictured below) All of these boucles, tweeds, mohairs, and blends are perfect choices for unstructured jackets like I will be making. If you were lucky enough to get one of these fabrics please join the project! They only require gentle support from silk organza, china silk, fusible texture-weft interfacing or batiste. (Polyester organza will not perform appropriately...very disappointing. Don't even consider it. That's like inserting plastic . It will not bend with the garment fabric.) I know Sawyer Brook has all of the above interlinings and interfacings.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Sat Sep 17, 2011 9:48 am

SELF-DISCIPLINE ! I think of myself as being self-disciplined on many levels. I exercise 5 days a week. I can walk past a bakery and not get the least bit tempted. I never eat desserts; they just don't interest me. Chocolate is tempting but under control. I clean and cook regularly with no complaints or excuses. I went to the post office yesterday to find NOT JUST ONE but TWO fat white envelopes filled with temptation ! (I wonder who sent them?) I have so many fabrics in my collection waiting to be sewn. I know many of my fellow sewing buddies have the same fabrics at home waiting for ideas. Did you see 11-0808 S&P boiled wool ? And the Surat ? That texture is absolutely fabulous for a cardigan style casual jacket! The Cardinal Melton just called my name for a future project. My husband sees the fabric swatches on the kitchen table and doesn't say a word. Now that's a smart man! Well, if fabric is my only weakness I think life is in perfect balance ! I'm doing my part to keeping the economy going. The UPS man has a regular job because of my fabric deliveries.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Tue Sep 20, 2011 1:42 pm

I plan on doing my pattern layout and review of interlining choices by the end of this week. Hope my sewing friends join in !
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Carole » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:23 pm

Hi Ruth, I'm thinking about joining in on the sew along. I worked at SB for three great years and have lovely fabrics in my stash. But those new ones are tempting too. I'll be deciding in a couple of days. I can always use a new jacket for fall. Thank you for organizing this!
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:12 am

Yes, I remember you Carole. I'm so jealous. Can you imagine me working in a fabric store if we had fabric stores like that on Long Island? I bet your fabric collection has tons of great things to pick from! So happy to have you join in.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Janee » Thu Sep 22, 2011 8:45 am

Ruth and Carole,

I was cutting orders yesterday and spent some time admiring Andiron http://store.sawyerbrook.com/Andiron/productinfo/11-0810/. This is in Subscriber Exclusives, so it's not yet generally available. But the texture is absolutely delicious and would make a fabulous coat or jacket. I only wish I could wear black!
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:05 am

Everyone can wear black in my opinion. All you need to do is add color near your face. If you wear a black jacket then wear a bright blouse that works well with your skin tone and eyes. If you are wearing a black dress then add colorful accessories . I think black is so rich and classic. A few years ago I read something in the NY Times fashion section about items featured in the color black; black always outsold other colors and could command a higher price.
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Re: Texturability!

Postby Ruth » Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:11 pm

Before I get started on cutting out my fabric I need to make a few preliminary decisions about interfacing, interlining etc. Now is the time to test a few samples before the garment is cut out.

To Fuse or Not to Fuse- that is the Question! Well, that depends. No, I can't give you a straight answer. I do use fusibles once in a while. They have a place. They work well on some fabrics and not so well on other fabrics. Each and every fabric is different. This particular fabric is not going to be washed , ironed and cared for on a regular basis like cotton or linen. Fusible products are made with glue resins and will dry out from repeated dryer heat and iron heat. The resins get dried out. This causes the interfacing to bubble and separate. Refusing them works temporarily. On a wool blend garment the dry cleaner isn't going to apply heat and press this fabric like a smooth wool. Once again, the exposure to continuous heat will not be a problem. This particular fabric is loosely woven with chunky weft yarns and delicate warp yarns. The fabric will not respond well to stress. Fusible interfacing like the soft textured weft will help to maintain the grain, add a little strength to button holes and button areas and provide additonal body. I tested the fusible textured weft on a swatch of fabric. The fabric maintains a nice soft hand while being squeezed. Some fusible interfacings may give added support but impart a cardboard like drape. This fabric has a sweater-like body.
The fusible interfacings today are designed to melt and fuse at lower temperatures than those of years ago. For this reason, it is important to use them on fabrics that are normally cared for at lower temperatures. The high heat used with linen fabrics are not really compatible with low temp fusibles. The repeated high heat from an iron shortens the life span of the interfacing. (If the garment has a lot of topstitching this can be modified.)
Anyhow, in my next posting I will discuss a few pros and cons of fusible web application. Meanwhile, if you are thinking of using fusible textured weft interfacing for your wool blend texture now is the time to preshrink it. Soak it in warm water. Don't agitate. Gently squeeze out water. Allow to drip dry in bathtub overnight. Maybe even a few days. While it may not shrink much and amount of shrinkage can ruin the garment.
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