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I am a mother, a 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 book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

More thoughts on fabric and fitting

Hi folks.

I had these amazing Supplex fabrics arrive from Halo Fabric Addicts yesterday and I have cut out four more pair of leggings - one for me, one for my daughter and two maternity versions for my daughter-in-law.

Supplex is not cheap but if you have confidence in your pattern it really lasts and yes it breathes. The days when I didn't care about breathability in fabric are long gone. I will be working both with the Supplex, some nylon/spandex from Joann's, and some cotton/lycra.

There doesn't seem to be much point in posting solid black and navy fabric, which is why my daughter and I will be getting, but here is the print I have ready to go for my DIL:

Some athletic mesh also came in the order - it's the stuff you see in legging inserts, and I am going to use it to line my waistbands in the black and navy pair. This is a bit of an experiment for me but a detail I have seen in RTW and I want to try it. Athletic mesh is lighter than Powermesh but seems really strong and has great horizontal stretch, but not much vertically.

On the subject of stretch and stretch direction Brit at Halo who has made many leggings as a business and I had an interesting email exchange on choosing the maximum stretch. This can be confusing in 4 way fabric.

Brit feels that the fabric she sells is so stretchy and has good recovery both directions so she makes some of her layout decisions based on which direction the colour changes (to avoid Lululemon show through) which I found interesting.

For instance here are her thoughts on laying out the mottled black/blue fabric above:

For the Marbled Blue/Black I believe the best orientation for the pattern is from selvage to selvage. If you give it a good stretch length-wise and another width-wise you'll notice that one directiongets slightly lighter in colour. (I believe it was cut edge to cutedge for that) so I run my pattern lengthwise perpendicular to that length.

This of course puts the pattern traditionally placed with the crosswise stretch running across the body (the advice I have talked about in previous posts) despite the fact the vertical stretch is near the same in this print, but I thought the advice about colour was really interesting.

Brit also shared a method for determining maximum stretch that I have not heard of before. Myself I just pull it each way and see which direction is slower to snap back, like chewed out bubble gum.

Brit calls this the "punch test":

Take the corner of the fabric and wrap it around one fist (like stuffing a wonton or punching bread dough) and really push into the fabric to see how the fabric recovers."

We both agree that whatever method you use it is important that the direction of greatest stretch is needed to accommodate   "butt/hips/thighs movement."

When cutting out last night I also had a few other thoughts to share. The Peg Legs includes calf measurement in the sizing charts. This is really important. I for example have an XL calf and a M thigh and a L everything else. To have my leggings fit I need to remember to grade out a bit below the knee.

So next will be cutting and stitching and then before you know it we will have leggings.


Nicki said...

Thanks to you and Brit for this guidance on fabrics, it's very helpful!

Cindy said...

Is Halo Fabrics an online store? Maybe I haven't had enough coffee but I can't find it; I've searched Halo Fabrics and Halo Fabric Addicts.


Barbara said...

Cindy they are on Etsy and Facebook