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Is your fabric worth it?

2011 October 19
by elizabeth_admin


First off, thank you so much for all the commiseration and comments on my cashmere curse.  I really appreciate you taking the time to console me.  You guys (gals) are the best!  Truly!  I have been duly talked out of throwing the skirt away.  So please don’t worry about that happening. 

In fact, after talking with Carolyn about it yesterday, she convinced me to fix the skirt the “right” way instead of a cheater way (I was just going to redo the side seams of both the lining and fashion fabric in one go without taking them apart).  Carolyn said that I needed to “respect the fabric”.  I have a really nice fabric for this skirt.  It’s cashmere.  I think I might have mentioned that fact a time or two or thirty. 

I think my emotional fatigue with this skirt came from the length of time it took me to finish it and the multitude of obstacles I had to overcome to finish it.  But I have to admit that Carolyn’s comment on respecting the fabric has really energized me.  She’s so right.  This fabric is worth it.  It is worth:

  • unpicking all my hand stitches
  • removing the fusible interfacing from the slit and hem to make a more fluid drape to the skirt overall (I don’t want it to look like I added horsehair braid to the hem*)
  • de-constructing and re-constructing it to fit me better
  • reworking the lining so that the lining doesn’t show through the slit.

So this “make it work & respect the fabric” project is what is going to occupy my next few evenings.

Do you have fabric that’s worth it?

* I just don’t “get” the technique of adding horsehair braid to a hem.  I know it’s to make a hem stiffer and more swingy, but is it supposed to be obvious it’s there other than to the maker/wearer?  If so, I don’t like it.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. Karen Mulkey permalink
    October 19, 2011

    You are doing the right thing respecting the fabric. I know you’ll truly love and cherish the skirt once it is perfect.

  2. October 19, 2011

    Going along with fabric being worth it is fabric that feels too dear to cut into. I think your way of thinking of a fabric as being worthy of extra attention is better than saving the perfect fabric to the point where it’s never used.

  3. October 19, 2011

    I still think the skirt as is looks fine. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it.

  4. October 19, 2011

    I think sometimes we are more critical when the fabric is better. I think all home sewists want to do justice to their fabric. For some reason when I am sewing with synthetic fibers I am less picky over construction details. I mean, yes, I want it to be good, but sometimes it is “good enough.” I find that when I work with real quality materials (wool, silk, cotton, lace, etc.) I simply won’t tolerate any errors or mistakes. Those projects are always more frustrating, but more worth it in the end.

    I got some fabulous wools this summer (ironic, I know). Usually I only make one muslin and make minor fit alterations for each project. For these fabrics I am going to have a perfectly fitted muslin before I even think about cutting into them. They are so fabulous, they are totally worth sacrificing yards of muslin to reach perfection. They are also worth hours of hand stitching hair canvas interfacing, silk organza underlining, and all the other bells and whistles of high quality tailoring.

    Your fabric totally deserves the star treatment, so if it means doing it over, it is worth doing it over. Of course, I don’t know if I could convince myself to fix it right away like you are doing. Then again, I fear the UFOs, so, well, maybe I would.

    Also, about the hair braid – I don’t know how visible it should be. I used some in a coat to help give it more shape at the hem, but my fabric was much thicker than yours and it had multiple layers of underlining (it was thick but loosely woven, hence multiple layers for opacity). I didn’t have problems with it being noticeable. I have also seen it used to great affect in circle skirts – they have fabulous swingyness without the use of a petticoat. Looking at the skirt, it seems the fabric might not need an interfaced hem. Although if you do want one it might be better to use some other sort of interfacing – perhaps bias strips of muslin? Or silk organza? They wouldn’t hinder the drapiness as much, but would also help stiffen the hem a bit. In any case, I am sure you will be able to fix it up so that you are happy with it.

  5. October 19, 2011

    “Respect the fabric” – like it! I’ve had a similar tale when I made a dress recently. It wasn’t out of a very expensive fabric like cashmere but it was in an amazing cotton print. It’s the print that I fell in love with when I bought the fabric and it was the print that saved the dress! If you are interested here is my link: I love the dress now, even through I unpicked miles of stitching and almost gave up. It’s a sewing triumph and reminds me the effort as worth it and that if I stick with a project I can fix (almost) anything 😉 (and keep the ufo pile in check, hehe)

  6. October 20, 2011

    Horsehair braid when attached correctly should not show on the front and that is the main reason it is used on formal wear for a perfect clean edge. Using the sew and flip method it requires no further stitching to keep it’s shape and stay tucked up inside the hem all by itself with no hand or machine stitching.

    Used in bridal (David’s Bridal type) it can be placed between the fashion fabric and the lining as a “glue” and not show at all or as a stand alone (Lazaro) with just the satin overskirt being the crisp edge and the lining hanging free. since it comes in only black or white in various widths and made of nylon I have often thought when using it in my business that it could be dyed if one had the time to try it out.
    So glad you are not giving up on the skirt!

  7. October 20, 2011

    I totally get the emotional fatigue from a project that is not everything you dreamed it would be! And Carolyn’s comment about respecting the fabric is right. I have many pieces of fabric that are worth respecting, and even though it’s a pain to pick out and re-do until it’s perfect, it it *always* worth it in the end. You will be very pleased with this skirt, even if you need to put it aside and do something else for a couple of days to make you happy to see it again!

  8. sewer permalink
    October 20, 2011

    I try to use only fabric that I really like. Because garment fitting and construction is so much work I try to start out with cheaper fabric and work up to the good stuff.

    Everything starts with the fabric. I sometimes see home sewers who are working with junk fabric that looks like junk and I don’t see the point. It doesn’t matter how well it’s sewn if the fabric’s no good.

  9. October 20, 2011

    I just read your comment and thought I’d come over to tell you that you are the cutest and dear, I do wish too you came over and I could sit and chat with you 🙂 But before I could do this I saw the first picture and thought something else: I Love the skirt! It is classy, sexy, elegant and edgy and suits you so well. Than I found out that you don’t love it – now, that cannot be true. It could be the perfect piece for a fashion mix between 40ies and colour blocking. So would you please love this skirt now?!!!

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