The first step of any sewing project is to gather your fabric and supplies. Your project will go much more smoothly if you have everything you need right from the beginning. There's no bigger buzz kill than having to run out to the fabric store in the middle of stitching to pick up supplies. (Trust me! I've done it more times than I can count!) So, today I'm going to give you some tips on choosing fabric for the woven version of the Lou Box Top pattern and a list of essential supplies. Let's get started!
First up–fabric. The right fabric can make or break a project. I remember the moment I realized this, way back in the early years of my stitching. I kept making things where I loved the fabric and the design but didn't love my garment. On their own, the fabric and the design were great but together they just didn't work. There are a lot of reasons a fabric may not work. It could be the color, the print or most importantly the fabric type.
So why is it important to use a pattern's suggested fabrics? For one, if you use a different fabric, the garment might not hang the way it was intended to. It will change the silhouette of the design and possibly not look as good on the body.
Second, fabric can change the fit of a garment. This is especially important for garments that need to have stretch. For example, if you're making pants and the pattern calls for a stretch fabric but you use a fabric without any stretch, you might not fit in those pants and it won't be that giant burrito you had for lunch. Eek!
That said, for this pattern, drape is more important than fit. The design of this top is very loose so you don't need to worry too much about fitting. However, if you use a stiffer fabric, the top won't drape around your body as the design is intended and you could end up looking a little boxy yourself.
In the photo at the top of the post, I show four woven fabrics all with different drape. You can see that the more drape there is the more the fabric hangs down at the corners. The grey in the top left has almost no drape while the yellow print on the top right has a lot. For this pattern, I recommend choosing a fabric that has a lot of drape like the ones on the right in the photo above. When you're at the fabric store, hold up the loose end of the fabric and look at how it hangs. Consider whether it is stiff and hanging out in a wider triangle or if it hangs straighter down, with more drape.
Sometimes these fabrics can be hard to work with because they can be a little bit slippery. So when you're looking at fabric so for something that has a little bit of texture in your hand rather than something super smooth and shiny.
After you find the right fabric, go ahead and wash it in the same manner as you plan to wash your garment. I like to wash new pieces of fabric as soon as I get home so that I can use them as soon as inspiration strikes.
When you're just starting out sewing, it can be a big investment to buy all the supplies. Here's my list of essentials:
1. Sewing machine I recommend starting out with whatever you can afford. There are a lot of great functional machines out there that won't break the bank (I have this one). You can always upgrade later and give your starter machine to a friend (share the sewing love!).
2. Iron An iron is almost as essential as your sewing machine. Pressing every seam you stitch will ensure the best looking results. Again this is something where you can start with basic equipment and upgrade later.
3. Fabric scissors Get a nice pair of scissors and only use them on fabric. Cutting paper or other things can dull the scissors and make it hard to cut fabric. The scissors will last a long time if you treat them well.
4. Pins I like long ones with a ball on the end because they are easy to pick up. Just be careful not to iron the ball part.
5. Thread/Needles These are kind of a "yeah duh" item. You'll need thread to match your fabric as well as a needle to match your fabric. There's a great guide to sewing machine needles here. For this project, a basic universal needle will do. You'll also need a hand-sewing needle for attaching the button.
6. Seam Ripper Mistakes happen but they're easy to undo with one of these gadgets. A lot of the time one comes with a new sewing machine. They're small and cheap but you can upgrade later.
When you're ready to go beyond the essentials, here are a few more things to pick up:
7. Rotary Cutter The next three things are used together. All together they can be expensive but are worth it for accurate cutting.
8. Self-Healing Cutting Mat
9. Transparent Grid Rulers These are great for accurately cutting bias strips and straight pieces of fabric.
10. Chalk or Transfer paper There are a lot of ways to transfer markings from your pattern to your fabric. You can snip a little mark in the seam allowance, make a tailor's tack with thread or use a marking tool.
For this pattern, you'll also need a 3/8 inch shank style button. Tomorrow, we'll be preparing the pdf pattern so if you haven't downloaded yours yet, now is great a time because I have a special discount code for the sewalong! Head over to the shop and use the code LBTSEWALONG25 to receive 25% off. Offer lasts until Feb 22, 2015, midnight PST.
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