Creature of Habit
Apparently, I am a creature of habit. The topic I had in mind for today is not a new one on this blog. I have written on this topic a number of times, but most notably two times in June the last two years running (here and here). Either my wadder life is on an annual cycle or the month of June just makes me think of wadders. 😉
One of the aspects of learning to sew that I have the most difficulty with is fabric knowledge. There are so many different kinds of fabric out there, not to mention blends and percentages of lycra. And let’s not forget about types of weave and knits. Whoo boy. There is just so much to learn about fabric and how it will behave before, during and after being sewn. Actually, Myrna recently mentioned how even sewing muslins didn’t automatically guarantee a good result with your finished garment. She says:
“ANYWAY… what I was hoping to illustrate with these (not so fabulous) images was how the same pattern looks in different fabrics, even fabrics that are all a rayon blend. The results show why when you are working out a particular fitting problem, you need to use the same fabric over and over and why when you test with muslin and then sew the final garment with “real” fabric, results vary. Each garment needs its own fine tuning.”
I have often found this the case, but often I forget this bit of wisdom. *long sigh*
Sometimes it saddens me that I came to sewing so late in life. I love it so much. One could even say I am obsessed about it. The more I work with fabric, the more I know that I don’t know much about it. Patience is not one of my strong suits. I want to become an expert right here and right now.
Why do I bring this up now? Well, I have a wadder on my hands. I didn’t know it was a wadder when I originally showed it to you, but I know so now. Enter KS 3408 (my review here):
Looks great there, right? Well, not so much any more. Here is a case of a marriage between fabric and pattern failing. A divorce is ensuing as we speak. I used one of my beloved rayon knits from FabricMart for this dress. These knits feel wonderful. They are soft and very stretchy. And while they worked amazingly with McCalls 6069 dress (see below), they don’t work at all with this wrap dress pattern.
This dress, M6069, and the other 2 versions I made, are in constant rotation in my work wardrobe. I love them. I think the rayon fabric works here because the entire weight of the dress doesn’t hang from the shoulders like it does in the Kwik Sew dress. In the M6069 dress, half the weight hangs from the elasticized waist. So there is no major stretch or weight on the fabric dragging it down.
The Kwik Sew dress is much longer now than on the day I took the picture above. The waist is almost to my hips, the neckline is way stretched out and the hem of the dress now reaches my mid-calves. I think the ties could wrap themselves around the globe. There is no saving this dress. I have laundered it and it remains stretched out. This fabric has little to no recovery. You stretch it, it stays stretched. It’s beautiful to look at and so soft to touch, but don’t make a heavy garment out of it or you’ll be sorry. I would say that this fabric is great for the M6069 dress or tops only because it just does not have any recovery at all.
But how would I have known this? I had used this fabric twice already before I attempted the Kwik Sew pattern. Both of those experiences were positive. I thought I “knew” the fabric. Obviously, I did not. Was there any way for me to know this without having to make a wadder first? I don’t know. I think some things are only learnable (is that a word?) or knowable through the good, old-fashioned method of trial-and-error.
So I consider this a humbling experience — not the embarrassing kind. Just humbling to realize, yet again, that I have much to learn about fabric. That I will keep learning as I go.
I have learned a lot in the last two years of my sewing education. I used to think of wadders as failures. Yes, they are disappointing, but, really, all they are is a badge of honor. A medal of sorts, evidence of knowledge gained or lessons learned. I won’t wear them, but I won’t bemoan their existence either.
What about you? How is your fabric knowledge journey going? Are you good at matchmaking fabric to pattern? Do you have any divorces of your own hanging in the closet?