I bought the stretch denim on the far right the other day. It stretches along the selvedge. I knew if I posted that, someone would tell me their experience with it. Thank you! ClaireEmily mentioned picking up selvedge stretch denim and showed me her finished Linda pants. Sherry said warp stretch is great if you like selvedge hems- neat.
I took some time to play with the fabric before I washed it, so I could better understand how the finished garment might behave. I call it “torture tests,” and it’s great for allaying fears about working with a “new” or different fabric. It’s fun, too.
I laid out the denim on my worktable and looked closely at the weave on both sides. It seemed two-sided. I wanted a closer look at the warp threads (the ones along the selvedge) so I pulled a few of them:
Then I checked out the hand. It’s a “bouncy” fabric, not a “flat” one-
This denim bears an uncanny resemblance to shantung, though it’s cotton and lycra rather than silk. I wondered- would have a nap, too? To check, I cut a corner of the denim along the selvedge and turned it 180 degrees. In silk, the corner would look markedly darker or lighter and I would know to cut with a directional layout. This fabric has no obvious nap, which will allow for economical cutting. (Lila may get some new jeans out of this, too!)
I pulled more threads from the swatch, thinking about drawn-thread work for the jeans. Then I noticed the weft threads. I assumed the non-stretchy weft threads were just the white slubby cotton, but it seems the white threads are paired with dark blue ones. So it’s a twill:
But there’s a problem (geeking out here)- Wikipedia says the paired threads should be the warp threads, and that’s what it looks like in the diagram. That means the single threads in the diagram would be the cotton ones on my fabric. So did they turn the twill weave on its side along with the stretch? Seems likely.
Then I set the swatch on fire. I do this more often than strictly necessary, I tell myself it’s to better test unknown fabrics in the future. Burn charts are a handy resource, but I like building experience with the fabric.
I occasionally drape lengths of new fabric around me shawl-style while I potter around the house to feel its weight, elasticity and drape. Every blue moon I pin a piece of troublesome fabric over the curtains, so I see it every day and ponder what it should become.
I don’t examine every piece of fabric this closely, but do more often than not because it’s interesting and I get ideas about the final garment- how it will behave, what I can make it do. I’ll wash it next, then do a little sample sewing.
What do you do when you have a new or different fabric to play with?
If you haven’t yet, feel free to enter the Testers for Pants Blocks Giveaway. It ends on Wednesday.
I haven’t done a pattern alteration post lately, what would you like to see?