Conquering Sheer Fabrics

Archive for October, 2015

Pause, the Yellow Knit-Lace

‘Fraid I need a break, even though I’ve hardly started with the knit-lace vest.  I favor two, but none of my bindings make me happy.  Binding the edges is going to take a lot of time and even more testing. I’m reluctant to start when I’m not the least bit enthused about possible results.

I did want to thank all those who made suggestions and make a few replies.

I don’t believe a rolled hem, or satin stitch (tight zig-zag) edge finish would work well due to the nature of the fabric.  There is no place that I can cut without gaps appearing. It’s just the nature of the lace fabric.  Instead of finishing nicely, there would be gaps and even stitches falling apart.

Dying my own fabric for edging is out simply because in recent years I’ve decided I want nothing to do with dyeing.  It’s the whole chemical issue I disagree with.  I abhor ‘gowning up’ ie. adding personal protective layers like a mask and gloves for my creative work.  I know others do it, but I don’t want to and it’s my sewing.

I could however go all Jason Pollack for the project. I love working acrylic paints which need only a drop sheet beneath the work and apron to protect my own clothes. So while I reject dying, I find the suggestion inspiring and may do a bit of painting; and am happy to thank you for the dyeing suggestion.  It will take some time and planning. I’ll need to locate a fabric that can be used and time to paint the various layers (and allow them to dry).

But, I  think I will be heading for Sioux Falls or Rapid City in the next few months.I’m not happy about the medical necessities. I am happy about destinations which support good quality dressmaking stores.

What it boils down to, is I’ve decided to set this project aside and see if I can find a good binding fabric either pre-printed, dyed or ready to paint.

I’ll let you know when/if I make progress.


Yellow Knit-Lace

I put away my last and less-than-satisfactory projects and pulled out the knit laces I’ve been eyeing for several months now.

I purchased 3 (I think) Knit-Lace yardages which the vendor insisted were “Crochet Lace”.  These are not crotchet.  Crotchet is a one needle technique which produces distinctively different stitches and texture.  These are Knit Lace which is lovely and very holey, even to the point of suggesting crotchet patterns. But, crotch it is not. Nonetheless I purchased these last spring and have been wondering ever since what I was going to do with them.  They’re actually heavier than the sweater knits I bought at about the same time .  But their holey and thereby revealing nature prevents me from seriously considering sewing them into the pull-over shapes I love to wear in the winter. I felt they were too heavy for summer shawls and wraps which I rarely wear.  I’m considering the sweater/pullover shape, anyway, but with the understanding I would always wear a blouse beneath said sweater. Another option would be lining.  A nice knit- tricot lining that would spare my modesty and elevate the garment from pullover to knit top. For this first garment though I’ve settled upon a cardigan and then further refined it to be a sleeveless cardigan or vest shape. Because, my typical winter uniform is pants, with blouse or knit top and a vest.  Jackets and cardigans are worn much less often.  A vest suits my need for just a bit more warmth when inside.

I’ve chosen my pattern, NL 6249 View C or D

This pattern appeals to me for several reasons.  The shape is still current. If the garment lasts long enough, it’s big enough to be reshaped should I so desire.  I’ve made it before (scroll down to first post) which means I’ve solved my fitting issues. More importantly, I have a fair idea of how this looks on me and how it works in my life.  It is neither my best nor worst look i.e. I’m not suddenly 2′ taller nor a little blob. It is however wonderfully useful.  I”m likely to keep making copies even as it becomes less stylish just because I really do like the garment.  Using a known pattern eliminates some of the problems that could be encountered when using a novel or difficult fabric. Why is all this so important?  Because at this point I can consider the sewing techniques and finishes needed for:

  • Pockets — hem edges finished, turned down 1″ and top stitched. The 3 unfinished edges are caught in the side seam, hem and center front seam.
  • Center front is finished with a long, wide band which is folded in half length-wise and then stitched to the center front, around the neckline and down the other center front.This is fine for most fabrics. 
  • The side seams are finished (serged, bound, etc) then folded 5/8 to the inside and pressed. The side seams are then stitched from the bottom up to the dot which marks the underarm.  Side seams are pressed again and  the ‘armscye’ is top-stitched catching and holding the previously finished  seam edges.
  • The hem is  finished, turned up and stitched into place.

Actually, it is a well thought out sewing procedure.  As I recall, several finishing methods were suggested, but I serged everything on my first garment.  I’m not sure that is the best option for my knit-lace.  The seams will show at least a little. Plus whatever I do,  seams  will be thick.  Serging the center front will involve 3 and sometimes 5 layers of spongy, thick fabric.

So the next step in my mind is considering possible finishes.

I can still serge everything and ignore the seams peaking through.

I don’t think french seams are an option.  I would have to find another finish for the neckline and hem and the armscyes would present some difficulties.

Over lap seams?  I’m not sure lapped seams are a good idea.  Wherever I cut there will be little pieces sticking up.  Trying to catch those may not be easy and catching all may not be possible.

Same thing with felled seams. All those little pieces sticking out are going to be hard to control plus I’ll need another finishing method for neckline, armscyes and hems.

I could bind with bias tape. I don’t like making bias tape so I hunted through my stash of commercial bias tape.My application, not shared, was rather mangled. But I would have worked at it more except  I didn’t like the look  of the commercial tape up against the knit lace. It looked “home-made”.

I considered ribbon to edge and cover the edges but I have no matching ribbon.

At this point I’m thinking either serge and top stitch or bind edges.  Either way, I need to do a little testing.


First Samples

I’m leaning towards binding the edges because  I can still follow all the easy and neat finishing instructions in the pattern.  I looked for binding fabric in my stash.

I have nothing that matches exactly.  So I made a bunch of samples.

My samples are all 2″,  crosswise cut strips that are folded double (WST, lengthwise) and then stitched to the raw edge of a swatch. I varied between 1/8, 1/4, and 3/8 seams.  The binding was then wrapped around the edge and either top stitched or stitched-in-the-ditch.  #1, is a quilting cotton I wanted to use in a camp shirt.  #2 is self fabric and it was not doubled i.e. folded in half as all the other swatches. I felt it would be too heavy.  So I aligned raw edges, stitched, wrapped and trimmed close.  It does make a nice finish and is not as heavy as I expected.  Still I’m hesitant to use #2 because of what will be the combined weight when the garment is finished.

3 is a fine twill blouse fabric.  I wanted to try a contrasting binding even though I hesitate to use brown.  I don’t want the garment limited to brown and yellow combinations. Yellow works well with black and blue (my other basics) but I won’t mix brown with black or blue. I just don’t like the combination.  Interestingly this twill was not flexible enough to completely wrap the edge.  So I folded the entire seam up once and top stitched. Raw edges are still completely enclosed. The dual finished sides do create an interesting look.

4 is a crinkle voile cotton.  Very light weight. Almost an organza.  I made a self-lined blouse from this some time ago because it is nearly transparent.

5 is a cotton calico I’d intended for craft projects. 6 is a poly lining, 7 acetate and 8 is a home dec fabric.

I’m surprised at the range of yellow ochre fabrics in my stash. I prefer this muted yellow to lemon yellow and seem to buy it often but wear it sparingly. I had thought the knit-lace to be a very light yellow. In fact I expected it to match the cotton voile.Instead the the cotton voile emphasises the ‘ochre’ part of the yellow.

None of my bindings are a clear winner. Some were difficult to apply but I would use if I really liked the finished appearance.  Not shown was a tulle which was difficult for me to see while cutting folding and sewing. I knocked it out of the running almost immediately because I couldn’t imagine working with the yards of it I will need to bind all the edges of my garment. (Discussion of the chosen garment yet to come).  I like the acetate #7, but my previous experience is that acetate wears and tears quickly.   #8 takes on a greenish cast next to the knit but handled beautifully.

Once I select a binding, I still have more testing to do.  I recently bought a binding foot that I’d like to learn how to use. This project would be a perfect showcase for a newly mastered technique. I’m planning to set aside a day just to work with that foot.  By planning to do nothing else, I remove a lot of self-inflicted stress and will probably do well immediately.

For the actual project and final testing, I’ll cut my binding on the bias.  I need bias to smoothly go around the neckline.  From experience, albeit limited, I’ll need to starch my chosen fabric. Starching will add another day to my process while it dries. Even though I’m not wild about any of these binding, I prefer to work from my stash.  It’s 1.5 hours to any store. 3 hours to a store with good dressmaking fabric. So while I’d also like to try a faux suede, I know that’s not going to happen.  I could order online but I have the same problem that put me in the spot I’m in:  color.  Do I want to order and wait for samples?  Which could be out of stock by the time I receive them and make my decision. Do I want to extend this project by adding the few weeks ordering on-line  would take? No I think I’ll just sew from the stash as originally planned. So now, I just need to decide which of these bindings I want to use.

Which is your favorite?

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