Plastic Free Living: Organic Bamboo Fabric

organic bamboo fabric

It is possible to live without the plastic that leaches into everything around us.  Many people, especially those with young children, are becoming increasingly concerned about the potential health effects of all the plastic we are exposed to every day. There are many ways to avoid the use of plastic in the home, especially in the kitchen, and you can exercise your creative mind in thinking up new ways.  You might begin by eliminating plastic shopping bags; simply take your own paper or fabric bags with you. Look for milk that comes in glass bottles that are returnable for reuse, use stainless steel containers for lunch boxes and find stainless steel ice cube molds for the freezer. Modern clothing is commonly made of plastic; nylon, polyester, Lycra and acrylic are some of the names of products best avoided for the … Continue reading

Crafty Burlap Ideas for Unique Home Decor

crafty burlap ideas

Burlap is a simple, unassuming fabric that has taken the home decor world by storm.  As many crafters and home decor enthusiasts are discovering, there are many things you can do with a plain swatch of burlap.  Ideas for projects with burlap are plentiful because of two things.  The first is that this fabric woven with plant fibers is cheap, anywhere from fifty cents to five dollars per yard at most fabric stores.  The second reason is that unlike many other fabrics, burlap projects can be done without sewing.  This makes it appealing to those who are otherwise intimidated by fabric projects and feel inclined to run when they hear the phrase “thread the bobbin.”  Burlap ideas are abundant if you use your imagination, but here are a few simple do it yourself projects to start you on your burlap … Continue reading

Salvage your Selvages!

salvage your selvages

Now any seamstress or hobby sewist will undoubtedly have discarded that little white strip along the fabric edge without a second thought, probably a few hundred times or more. You know that “useless” strip where the manufacturer’s branding is printed…along with a few strange coloured circles? Well, there’s more to it than just branding! That printing along the fabric edge is known as the fabric selvage marking and, together with keeping the fabric from fraying or unravelling, it actually contains more useful info than you’d previously imagined. What’s in a name? Before you learn the secrets of the strip: how about that weird name?! Well, the name selvage or selvedge originated form the term self-edge, meaning a self finished edge of fabric. You will find that the specific weave in the selvage strip stops it from fraying entirely. It is … Continue reading

A Visit to the World’s Finest Fabric Shop

finest fabric shop

I know, I know..this is a big assertion, “the world’s finest fabric shop..”  After all, the world’s a big place and there are a lot of good fabric shops, but please read on and you’ll understand.  As I’ve written about many times before, I’ve been sewing all my life.  I’ve also been fortunate enough to have lived in quite a few different countries and travelled a lot.  So as you can imagine, I’ve seen a lot of fabric shops in my day.  All that being said, nothing could have prepared me for what I discovered in Florence, Italy a few weeks ago when we were on holiday there. I was walking down one of the beautiful side streets just next to the famous Duomo and I saw this window display with some of the most lovely fabrics I’d ever seen. I found myself … Continue reading

A Brief History Of Fabric

history of fabric

Well, there’s just so much to say about the history of fabric…It’s almost as basic a human need as food or shelter, truly. Where would we be without our clothing, our blankets, our sofas, our mattresses, our curtains? The list goes on and on. Indeed, many of us might not have been drawn to the art of sewing and the love of fashion were it not for the wealth of rich and intricate fabrics, the variety of textures and colors available for us to experiment with and express ourselves through. And that doesn’t just go for sewists and fashionistas, the number of industries which benefit from the myriad fabric types made available by development is staggering. Status Symbol: Throughout the ages, clothing has been a reflection of both the resources available to a civilisation and the level of technology in … Continue reading

The History of The Crinoline Petticoat

Crinoline Petticoat

Think Mary Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth or the recently revived 1950’s Rockabilly movement, think Swan Lake and the fairy tale wedding gown.  What do they all have in common? You’ve got it, serious petticoat action, brought to you by none other than the trusty, centuries old crinoline… Let’s take a closer look at this feminine phenomenon and you’ll see that the crinoline petticoat has been the backbone of so many fashion movements throughout the ages. Crinoline Petticoat Versions: A crinoline is in essence a petticoat, structured with wire, wood or other sturdy materials (in a cage formation or a hoop skirt) or made out of a stiff fabric of horsehair (“crin”) and cotton or linen, which would be gathered, layer upon layer, to make great big voluminous underskirts. The horsehair version was the original one, but was later replaced (in the 1850’s) by … Continue reading

8 Tips for Pre-Washing Fabric

pre-washing fabrics

I believe that the success of a sewing project lies not just in purchasing the right fabric and accessories.  The way the fabric is cared for before the start of the project also has a profound influence on the result of the sewing project.  This includes pre-washing fabric and usually ironing the fabric before beginning the project. Why should the fabric be prewashed? There are various reasons why fabrics should be pre-washed Some fabrics tend to shrink once they are washed, so if you stitch the fabric first and then wash it, the final product may be two sizes smaller than what you had planned. If you combine a quality fabric with a less expensive fabric, the fabrics tend to shrink at different levels, creating an uneven finish to the final product. Some fabric fades or bleeds once washed and so, … Continue reading

An Introduction to Sewing Sweater Knits

sewing sweater knits

Ah, sweater knits! These highly textural, stretch fabrics can be cozy, lacy, casual, or sophisticated. With a good sweater knit and a little practice, you can cut and sew a sweater in a day or less, even if you can’t knit or crochet. Yes, they’re enabling. And they’re beautiful. If I sound a little biased, well… full disclosure, I’m a designer of sweater knits and I love what I do! What exactly is a sweater knit? All knits are fabrics that are made by interlooping of threads or yarn; that is, by pulling one loop of yarn through a previously made loop of yarn, row after row and column after column, depending on the type of knit. A sweater knit is made with a heavier yarn and bigger stitches than what you find in a standard t-shirt fabric. You’ll know … Continue reading

Tips for Choosing Fabric for Children’s Clothes

fabric for childrens clothes

All parents would agree that it’s a herculean task to maintain children’s clothes. All the chocolates and cookies that they snack on inevitably leave their mark on that pretty dress or handsome pair of pants, not to mention puddles of mud and dirt cakes. Moreover, the sensitive skin of the tiny tots may be affected by certain fabrics and textures. That’s why I’ve come up with a few simple tips to apply when selecting fabric for children’s clothes. Type of fabric: As a general rule, it’s a good idea to avoid synthetic fabric for children’s clothes because of it’s high level of chemical content, which could cause allergic reactions on their delicate skin. Try to use all natural fabric like cotton, wool and silk at all costs. For toddlers, organically grown natural fabric would be the best bet. We did a … Continue reading

The Amazing Denim Fabric Story – Through the Years

denim fabric

If I am allowed to look inside your wardrobe, I am almost sure that you have some garments made from denim fabric neatly folded inside. And if you had the chance to read our previous article about sewing denim, you should know that the word is actually derived from the French phrase “serge de Nimes”, which literally means serge fabric made in Nimes, France –where it was originally produced. Versatile and sturdy, denim fabric is a cotton twill textile characterized by a weft passing under two or more warp fibers, producing a diagonal ribbing on the reverse side of the fabric. Woven by using different colors for the warp and weft threads, denim fabric is characterized by having different colors on its surfaces. The best example for this is the indigo denim where the warp thread is dyed blue and the … Continue reading