“It’s the Little Things…”

I have been sewing for a very long time.  Because of that fact, I often take for granted the amount of “little things” I have learned from all of my fabulous teachers:  family, friends, sewing programs, other sewers, etc.  Sometimes knowing some little things can make all the difference between a successful project and one for which you may not be extremely proud.  One of those little things that may be helpful to know is how fabric is displayed in stores.  Quilting fabric is almost always displayed on the bolt with the right side of the fabric showing.  The fabric is folded wrong sides together and then wound on the bolt so the customer can see clearly how the material looks and how it may coordinate with other fabrics for the project.  Pre-cut fabrics follow the same rule, being folded with the right side out to clearly show how the fabric looks.  This is a very appealing way to display fabric and gives the customer colorful eye candy to browse in each aisle.  While quilters are most focused on colors and prints, garment sewers have the added interest of how the fabric will drape when worn on the body.  For this reason, most fabrics used for garment construction are folded with right sides together, having the wrong side showing when wound on the bolt.  There is an added step to their display with the fabric being turned to the right side and then draped over the end of the bolt.  As a customer goes down each aisle, the right side of the fabric can be seen as well as the drape of the fabric. In the case of knit and fleece fabrics, both right and wrong sides usually look exactly the same.   To tell the difference, take a small piece of fabric along one cut edge and slightly stretch the fabric in the crosswise direction.  The fabric will roll towards the wrong side of the goods.   Another category of little things involves cutting out a garment pattern.  Grain is very important to the drape of a garment once it’s finished.   This step cannot be overlooked if you would like your garment to be pleasing to look at and comfortable to wear.  The best way I have found to insure the accuracy of grain placement is to measure from the grain line on the pattern to a reliable spot off the fold of the fabric.  In this example, two measurements have been taken from the grain line to the fold in two different places along the line:  both measuring 8 inches from the printed line on the pattern.

   If this measurement is the same in at least two places, you can be sure the fabric will be cut accurately on the grain line.  Lastly, you will notice my pins are running parallel to the edge of the paper pattern pieces.    When cutting around fabric pieces, pins are always running parallel to the scissors.  When sewing, on the other hand, pins are placed perpendicular to the edge of the fabric.    Pinning perpendicular to the cut edge allows easy removal of those pins as they go through the sewing machine.

I hope these “little things” prove helpful and I hope you have fun creating something special this week.