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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A bit of a fabric crisis

I am working away on my latest dress. Sewing incrementally, the five minutes here and five minutes there system, which I always find irritating. But I have no choice this week due to the interruptions caused by a particularly busy time at my paying job, and the fact I decided to become an overnight renovation craftsperson the last two weekends.

While my hands are working away at the current project, in my mind I am planning the next one. Of course.  This pattern arrived today in my BMV order and I am itching to get to it.

There is an exposed aggressive zipper on the back of this skirt.  I went out today (and was late for a meeting as a result) to buy one. There was a moment when I did consider that heavy metal even only 8" of it at the back of a skirt, might not be suitable for someone who is going to be 57 in October. Then I remembered that  no one pays a lot of attention to what you wear when you are this age and well, if not now when? And when isn't much of an option if you are already having second thoughts at 56.

So I quite happily bought that zipper.

Now the crisis. I don't have fabric for the top. The good news is there is the one local fabric store at the bottom of my street; the bad news is that I can never find anything interesting in it. One of those chain things.

This is why I stash. I knew this day would come. In fact I should have stashed more.

We had news too this week that my husband's company is bringing him back from Tennessee. Although I am very happy I won't be living single again, I was awful happy with my little DC to Knoxville route and all fabric stores in between. Not to mention the extra trips I was getting to see my son in DC, and not to mention the convenience of having fabric sent to DH's hotel, and thus avoiding the ridiculously expensive cost of shipping to Canada.  That I will miss. 

The edges of my system are still somewhat intact however. I got the amazing folks at Michael's in Baltimore to send a few pieces of Zegna on sale fabric home with my son who is coming back for a week  ("Don't worry, we have your son's address in DC, still above the restaurant right?") and we will be down in the States again. To be truthful though I admit I am a bit put out with the husband's firm. I should have had more notice, could have bought up really big, and of course I will miss my own trips - I love the US.

All this has made me realize once again that it's getting tough to get the fabric you need when you need it.

What are the options?

I  was looking at the wonderful Erica B's blog today and noted that her last two garments, spectacular as usual, are made in polyester. I never sew polyester, despite having grown up as we all did sewing nothing but. I think the hot flash thing did me in, and some bad pressing experiences. Maybe I should take a second look. Maybe these fabrics are better now than  I remember. Certainly polyester is easy to care for.

Am I a  left-over, like those annoying women in my sewing classes who say things like they never sewed with anything by natural fiber threads, and look down at my Gutterman? Am I out of date, ignoring some perfectly good fabric I could be using?

I would like some advice here. Do you sew polyester? What do you think?

In the meantime I am doing my best. I have a piece of old light blue Fabricmart mystery silk soaking in some Mexican Red dye in the basement sink.

See how that turns out.


a little sewing on the side said...

This is just one woman's opinion, but why sew polyester when you can get good fabric? I sewed some poly from JoAnn's last year for my niece's costume. No thanks. I guess it is hard to swallow the shipping charges, though.

BeeBee said...

I recently made a very nice dress out of a piece of very nice poly. It sewed well, doesn't wrinkle, feels and drapes nicely. Not to say all poly is equal, but I never say never. I usually prefer natural, but I've had some nice experiences lately with poly and rayon.

sdBev said...

There is good polyester and there is cR@* polyester. I prefer blends. I even like an acrylic/poly blend. Also, it depends upon the project. I have caftans, huge floaty garments of knit polyester. Work great. No over heating when you're wearing a tent to start with. Point is, I vote that you reconsider and try some polyesters.

Shannon said...

I don't mind some poly mixed in with natural fibres in a fabric - it helps prevent some wrinkling. However, straight poly is yukky. Too hot, too plasticy, too ew. I try to steer clear of poly unless I know it's really high quality and it breathes. My internal furnace burns high so I'm hot all the time and sweating in poly fabric is truly unpleasant.

Jodie said...

I don't mind poly-ester, but I agree that you need to make the decision on a case-by-case basis. Some is nasty - it pills, it's itchy, it's terrible to sew/press YUCK! However, in a blend form I find it great - drapes nicely, doesn't fade/lose it's colour, can be washed and dried, doesn't wrinkle...As a teacher who never has enough time, I like all those features. However, I find that I generally need to play with my tension on my machines, and fuss around with iron temperature. And I'm always cold...so being too warm isn't the issue with me.
And I LOVE Gutermann all purpose sewing thread, and insist that my students buy it for their projects (Home Ec teacher), I find it the most successful with my school sewing machines.

RuthieK said...

I don't mind a poly mix, or poly in something loose, but I chucked out all my 100% poly trousers and don't wear my poly lycra tops much.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I have to agree with everyone above. I use to be an all natural snob too but things have improved with fabrics so I will use a poly/blend as well as a polyester fabric...however, I also agree that polyesters need to be taken on a case by case basis and I find that I'm a lot more hesitant to purchase them online because they do need to be touched.

Linda T said...

I generally don't do poly anymore either - it's just.too.hot here and I'm warm natured anyway......I do have 1 or 2 ITY knit tops and I will do poly blends if it is 50% or LESS poly.