Posted in fabrics, sewing, sewing patterns

When choosing the right fabric makes all the difference

I wonder if you’re ever like me. Do you ever find a piece of fabric that you really, truly love but after you buy it, you can’t seem to find the perfect project for it? Or maybe you have leftover material (from that sale where you buy one metre and get two metres free. Who needs three metres as a general rule?). These are dangerous situations for me to find myself in. The reason is that I then look for a pattern or design that I could use just because I like the fabric. However, not all fabrics work well for all projects.

There was a time in my life when I always started with the pattern and/or design idea then sought out fabric that would work afterwards. Although I realize that fabrics can be the inspiration – the starting point – that doesn’t always work out for me – which is, of course, one of the reasons that I refuse to have a *shudder* stash of fabrics. In fact, I’m beginning to think that I ought to go back to my original approach – design first, fabric later.

Case in point.

I thought it would work really well. The pattern suggested that the T-shirt needed to be made with a moderately stretchy fabric – you know the ones. They have that little ruler on the back of the pattern that says you have to be able to stretch a double crosswise fold of the material from here to there.

Vogue 8536 – published in 2004. Not sure why I still own it!

All I can say is, ignore this direction at your peril! In my defence, I thought it was close enough. And, by the way, while we’re on the subject, if it stretches much further than the “suggestion” put it down and find another pattern. Anyway, I’d made the pattern before from fabric with only a hint more stretch and it worked better at that time.

I didn’t topstitch it the first time. Shouldn’t have done it this time. (PS This top is jet black. Too much light in the photo!)

So, why did I even try? This was leftover fabric from a recent dress project that I did for Fabricville’s blog. I have not, however, been able to access that blog yet to post it so I haven’t been able to write about it here. I will in due course.

The dress in question.

Anyway, I had a whole lot of leftover fabric and since it’s a very stable knit I’d already worked with, I thought I was safe. To say the project is hideous would be an understatement. Just look at how awful the topstitching is around the neck.

It has nothing to do with tension and everything to do with the weave of the fabric. Since I had yet more left over, I tried again.

This time I used a pattern dated 2012 that I found in a discard bin when we were on a road trip last year.

Vogue 9004. This is the one I decided to make since I didn’t have enough fabric for the one with sleeves.

It’s actually designed for woven fabric, not stretch, but before you begin to think I’m truly daft and never learn from experience, I did mention I’d worked with it before and to tell you the truth, it’s so stable that it might as well be a woven.

I liked the way the design lines permit so much tweaking. And did it ever need tweaking although I cut the same size as I usually do.

After much fine-tuning, I have a summer top that, because the fabric content includes some natural fibre (why is that so hard to get sometimes?), I have a new summer top.

Although I could certainly get along this year without any new summer clothes, isn’t it nice to have something new to wear for a new season? With all this COVID-related isolation, I haven’t been able to enjoy a shopping experience thus it’s back to shopping my closet as they say– with a few pieces from my own sewing machine added in for good measure.  


...a Toronto woman of a ‘certain’ age who writes women’s fiction and business books...deeply interested in fashion, but mostly style, which as anyone knows is not the same thing...designs patterns, sews, reads style books...Gloria Glamont is my pseudonym.

7 thoughts on “When choosing the right fabric makes all the difference

  1. All the time! That’s why I have a **shudder** fabric stash!
    I didn’t know you sewed up garments for Fabricville’s blog. The dress is cute. And I’ve never made a garment from knits where I ever used the zipper, so I generally leave them off after carefully looking at the design to see if I can wiggle into it easily or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a new addition to the Fabricville blogging world. My first piece (on this dress) should be up any day now then I can also talk about it here. The fabric is a stable knit as I mentioned here so a zipper is easy and required. I could never wiggle into this one! I always use stretch seam tape fused to the wrong side of the zipper edges before beginning. Then it’s stabilized and easy to work with. (PS I actually have nowhere to wear the dress at this point in our lives!)


  2. Oh yes, I have had to learn my lessons in “the right fabric”. I’m glad you could save your top.
    At the moment I have a sewing project on the go. Simple pants in a linen/cotton blend. Vogue 8821. shortly I will have to decide what style of top I’d like to make to go with it. The legs are rather wide, which will have an effect on my choice.
    I’m setting myself up with some sewing goals and challenges, for the month of June. I’m hoping to level up, with each item, in some way or other. You always have such high standards. I enjoy your blog and find it inspiring. Thanks for sharing your projects. I will be thinking, “what would G.G do?” as I move forward in my efforts.
    Looking forward to your next post.
    Joyce, from Sudbury

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So happy you find some of my musings helpful! I think that setting a few goals can really enhance our enjoyment of the whole process. Even without a deadline, it’s nice to have a direction. I looked at Vogue 8821 and I would do a short, smallish top with these ones. The idea of a big tunic over wide pants like they are showing n the pattern just seems like the wrong proportion to me. I’d love to know what you decide!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi! I’m going for a tank top pattern that I like the fit of and adding some sleeves with the lines going vertical ,for social wear. For back yard wear. I made a matching chief apron, with pockets for cell phone etc…the pockets are sort of my home purse 😂. I have made mock up of the top on the parents before, and I really didn’t like it…plus, the weight of the longer back pulls the neck up around my throat…not a good look, and definitely not comfortable. Thanks for asking. Looking forward to your next project. Joyce, from Sudbury

        Liked by 1 person

  3. A recent experience has brought me back to this post. I usually don’t order material on line, but with the shut down happening, I ordered a “denim” from our local small fabric business, who I would like to support. . There was not much information on the site with the “denim” but it did say cotton and 3% spandex. It was listed with many samples of “twill”, and as I was about to make light to medium weight jeans, I ordered. I picked up the fabric curb side. It is far too light for jeans. I then went to Fabricland where they are allowing a few people in at a time, and re-bought my “denim” material in the proper weight. Lesson learned. Not too much of a loss as I can make a top out of the first purchase ( and like you I don’t like to have a stash) but disappointing and time consuming annoyances when I’m eager to get on with my project! Thanks for listening to my rant. Keep your posts coming. I enjoy them all. Joyce from Sudbury.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Joyce. I have had the exact same issue with online ordering. Last year I ordered fabric that turned out to be heavy scuba. I made up the piece (my first venture into pdf patterns which if I ever recover from I will write about) and it was so stiff and the seams so irritating to the skin that I’ve never been able to wear it. They hand’ mentioned online that it was scuba. I did respond to them to let them know and they did seem grateful. Lessons learned about online fabric ordering. Buyer beware!


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