Up until fifty years ago, the vast majority of women knew how to sew. All the women that I knew as a child sewed and knitted and manufactured some of the clothes for me and my four brothers. When I was eight or nine, I and every other child in my class was taught the fundamentals of knitting and before I went off to college, my mother taught me how to take up my jeans, sew on patches and repair my clothes.
Unfortunately, sewing, knitting and repairing clothes has largely died out in the United Kingdom. I now live in Thailand and I do not see much evidence of sewing or knitting here, so I assume that these arts are dying out all over the world among the masses, although I am sure that there are individuals everywhere who still knit and sew.
It is a crying shame. If you are going to make your own clothes or furnishings like cushions, pillows or soft toys, it is quite essential that you select the correct cloth for the job. Using the wrong cloth will make your task more difficult and might even render your work pointless. So here are a few suggestions on choosing the correct fabric for the job in hand.
The first and most obvious thing to do is look at the suggestions on the pattern you are using and if you are a novice take that advice until you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not read the instructions anymore. I can not count the number of times I have seen someone struggling to assemble something and discovered the directions in the bin with the packaging.
Get to know fabrics by examining the textiles in the shop. Ask questions about textiles and look at the cloth on the bolt or roll. If the cloth does not look right on the bolt it probably will not look correct anywhere else either. When you unroll a few feet of the bolt, does it lie flat or does it roll up or crumple? Grab a handful and squeeze it. Does it crumple easily? Does it feel right?
Is the cloth fraying on the bolt? If so it will fray while you use it as well. Look on the bolt for special cleaning or handling instructions. Do they suit your requirements?
It is quite difficult to work with satin because it slips easily. T-shirt knit is also difficult because it rolls up on itself. It is probably best to avoid these materials until you acquire some experience
Cotton is the best cloth for novices because it is easy to work with and everyone is very familiar with cotton goods. We know how they must feel and we can tell decent, thick weighty cotton from cheap, thin cotton. We also all know that cotton shrinks. Therefore before you cut you fabric. wash it and cut the shrunken cotton fabric. In effect, you have pre-shrunk it.
Owen Jones, the author of this piece, writes on a number of subjects, but is now involved with decorative sofa pillows. If you want to know more, please visit our website at Modern Throw Pillows For Sale.