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tip and trick

Let’s talk about fabric! You’ve purchased your fabric you’ve bought the pattern and you’re ready to sew! But, suddenly there are all these terms and you have questions. Which way does the fabric go to cut it? What do the lines mean on the pattern? How do you fold your fabric together? Knowing these simple terms will help answer all of those questions.

Fold: Folding the fabric in half makes it easier to cut two of the same piece at once – for example, sleeves or half a bodice when there’s a centre seam. Folding also allows you to cut single symmetrical pieces – notice that some pattern pieces correspond to half of a fabric piece only, and will say “cut on fold” if they’re to be cut like this.  DON’T cut the folded edge when you open up the piece, you will have the full-size piece. Whether you fold your fabric right sides together or wrong sides together is going to depend on your fabric and your markings. If you have a sheer fabric you won’t want to make any visible markings but you will want to mark which side you use as the right side for all your pieces. If you’re using a fabric like the cotton above you will want to fold it right sides together and make your markings on the wrong side.

Selvedge:  is a “self-finished” edge of the fabric, keeping it from unravelling and fraying. The term “self-finished” means that the edge does not require additional finishing work, such as hem or bias tape, to prevent fraying. The edges of a raw fabric that run along the edge with the grain. The fabric has a selvedge edge so that it doesn’t fray before it’s sold. When you fold your fabric to be cut you will fold it selvedge edge to selvedge edge.

Fabric Grain: The orientation of fibres, woven or knit together, to create a fabric. The grain creates lines that run parallel and perpendicular to the selvedge. The basic difference between woven and knit fabrics is in the yarn or thread that composes them. A knit fabric is made up of a single yarn, looped continuously to produce a braided look. Multiple yarns comprise a woven fabric, crossing each other at right angles to form the grain. Stretching is one of the tests to know whether a fabric is knit or woven. A knit fabric will stretch easily along its width, slightly less along its length. A woven fabric will have barely any give along its width, and only slightly more give along its length.

Bias:  is any grain that falls between the straight and cross grains. When the grain is at 45 degrees to its warp and weft threads it is referred to as “true bias. The bias will run diagonally across the grain of the fabric, where the woven fabric has more stretch or give.

Warp: Warp threads are the threads that run along the length of the yardage (up-and-down, vertically) and parallel to the selvage (horizontal axis). The thread that runs the length of woven fabric (“up” and “down”).

Weft: Weft threads are the threads that run from selvage to selvage (side-to-side, horizontally). The threads that run at right angles to the length of a woven fabric, otherwise known as cross-grain. Nonwoven fabrics such as felt, vinyl, suede, and leather do not have warp and weft threads.

Fabric Weights are an alternative to using pins when cutting fabrics. There are times when you should consider using weights instead of pins.

  • Chiffon: due to the delicate weight of this material it often shifts and moves when cutting.
  • Stretch fabrics: when you pin stretch fabrics you accidentally stretch the fabric.
  • Leather or Suede: pinning these fabrics will cause pin marks to be left in the fabric.

Pattern weights are also a great option when you want to speed up cutting. It’s a lot easier to plop down some weights and trace around a pattern than it is to pin each corner of a pattern piece. What are some of your tips and tricks for cutting out fabric and patterns?

Fabric Weights
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Sewing with transparent fabrics can be hard and sometimes you will want to hide a seam. Using french seams will create a clean and professional finish to transparent fabrics. Take a shirt and give it a new look by changing the sleeve! Choose either a flutter sleeve or a bishop sleeve and follow along as we transform a classic white dress shirt into a fashion statement!

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Furoshiki is a traditional Japanese fabric wrapping technique that is used to wrap gifts, transport goods, and more. It is a great alternative to gift wrap, as it reduces waste and gives your fabric a new purpose. There are a number of different techniques and ways to wrap different goods. These are three simpler techniques that will work on square or rectangle gifts.

Furoshiki Gift Wrapping
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