Buying Fabric and Things
You’ve got your pattern, and have some kind of idea on colours, you’re all set to go fabric shopping now!
Different fabrics launder and wear differently, so depending on how much you enjoy doing laundry will depend on what you buy. If I can’t machine wash and dry it, I’m not interested. I prefer to save my hand washing for hand knits and luxrious lingerie.
As far as colours and patterning goes, I tend to leave skirts and pants plain, and put the interest in the blouses for the most part. I do like the occasional statement skirt with a plain sweater or blouse, however. If you’re consciously working in items from your current wardrobe, think about what will work best. For me, most of my stuff is plain coloured, so I have a bit of room to play.
This statement blouse is purely a night out top, so I think sticking with a black skirt (pencil or a-line), or black pants will work best.
I really like my purple tops, but the 3/4 sleeves just don’t work. I think I’ll need to make them short sleeve, with maybe a little cuff. These will work with a either a plain skirt or pants, and the lighter top would also work with something floral.
Having a list like this will help you decide what direction to go when looking for fabric.
I tend to buy cotton, or poly/cotton blends for shirts, and microcrepe or a gaberdine for pants/skirts. Materials that have a small percentage of elastine or lycra are good if the clothes are for ‘action’, like dancing or chasing around kids as you can make them fitted, and the seams won’t stress or wear as quickly.
Something I always do, is buy at least 20% more fabric than the pattern calls for, especially if it has cotton content. Why? Because the first thing you should do when you bring fabric home is wash it, and some materials (especially natural content materials) will shrink. Buying a little extra ensures that you don’t end up short (which is especially bad when trying to make pants). Also, if you know that you need to make adjustments (such as increasing the bust, or lengthening the legs), make sure you take that into account when the sales assistant asks you how much she can cut off for you.
Remember that the little things like buttons can make your garment pop, and don’t be scared to get a little daring. With buttons, buy what you need +2. If they’re flat or ‘plain’ shirt buttons, stitch them on the lower side seam as you find with commercial shirts. If your buttons are a little fancier, pop them in a little bag, and attatch them to the coathanger for that shirt, or have a ‘button box’ for your bedside drawer or the like so that you know exactly where they are.
Now you’re all set!
If you’ve been following this series, I’d love to see what you make!
I will be following up this series with the details of my own wardrobe makeover.