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Jul 29, 2015

Things I Don't Get, Vol. 15 -- Lycra in Woven Fabrics

Readers, have you noticed how many woven fabrics today have Lycra in them?

Now, I totally understand why people would want a little stretch in their clothes, but if you really want a tight fit, isn't that what knit fabrics are for?

I've been working on a straight skirt for my client Susan and the fabric I bought -- how I wish I hadn't -- is a stretch cotton pants-weight cotton.  It's perfectly nice looking and a very attractive pale purple.  But the stretch factor is making it surprisingly challenging to work with.  So much so that I'm going to try to find a non-stretch substitute in a similar color tomorrow. 

Darts in particular don't seem to press well when there's Lycra in a fabric (see top pic).  The stretchiness makes the end of the darts more visible.  The stretch also calls attention to one's lumps and bumps (if one has any and who doesn't?).  Also, since my muslin had absolutely no stretch, it's hard for me to evaluate what difference the Lycra will make in the final fit.

Maybe I'm being too much of a perfectionist (my mother thinks so), but it seems to me that if your clothes are well-fitted, you shouldn't need Lycra in the weave.  I do get the need for Lycra in knits, mind you.  My swimsuits have Lycra, since the material needs to move with my body and not drag in the water.

Coincidentally, I popped into Chic Fabrics on 39th Street only yesterday and, in their remnant bin, found a very similar heavy cotton sateen (with a bit of Lycra) in more of an orchid -- a very wide yard for just $1.  For a buck I'll deal with Lycra.  I think for tight-fitting pants, this moderately stretchy fabric might work, and shouldn't every middle-aged man own a pair of tight-fitting pink pants?

Pants courtesy of Steven Alan

The final issue I have with Lycra is that over time it breaks down, leaving a garment feeling baggier than it would have if it hadn't had Lycra in the first place.  Has that ever happened to you?

I'm starting to wonder if Lycra in woven fabrics isn't simply to make it easier for manufacturers to fit a wider range of body types with the same size garment than they otherwise could.

What's your take, readers?   Do you seek out Lycra in the woven fabrics you sew with?   Does it really make your clothing fit better or just cling uncomfortably on hot summer days?

Jump in!

Jul 27, 2015

An Organic Cotton Striped Rugby Shirt!

Readers, I just made my very first rugby shirt!

Jul 25, 2015

Back to the 1950's!

Readers, as you know, I adore vintage magazines, especially women's fashion and home magazines of the 1950's.

Jul 23, 2015

Come See My Completed Coveralls!

Friends, my coveralls are finished.   Click here to see me model them.

Jul 21, 2015

I'm Making Coveralls (or is it a jumpsuit?)

Last year I purchased Kwik Sew 3389 with the intention of making a pair of coveralls, and I've finally decided the time is right.

Jul 18, 2015

Susan Tries on the Blouse Muslin

Friends, no doubt you're wondering why I'm leading with a photo of designer Carolyn Herrera in her signature white shirt.

Jul 16, 2015

Modeling My New Boxers!

Readers, the theme of this week (so far -- it's only Thursday) seems to be boxer shorts!

Jul 14, 2015

Jul 11, 2015

My Latest Vintage Sewing Machine + Paisley-palooza!

Readers, behold my latest vintage sewing machine, an Elna Supermatic I purchased on eBay!

Jul 8, 2015

Susan's New Wrap Skirt Muslin + Back to the Bodice!

Susan came over for a fitting this evening; the dogs were so excited!

Jul 4, 2015

Zack Tries on His Shirt Muslin!

Meet handsome Zack!

He's the man I made that size 44" shirt muslin for last weekend.  Today he came by for a fitting.  (Yes, I work holidays.)

Jul 3, 2015

Another Fitting with Susan: Wrap Skirt + Altered Bodice!

Susan had a fitting yesterday at that little French café that doesn't seem to mind us using their bathroom or seating area.  (We do usually eat there too of course!)

Jul 1, 2015

More Sewing Books? More Sewing Books!

Happy July, everybody!  Am I the only one who can't believe it's already July?

Jun 28, 2015

Back to Sewing with Vintage Sheets

When I first started sewing men's shirts, I made them out of vintage cotton/poly percale sheets I found at the thrift store.

Jun 25, 2015

Peter Models the Liberty Summer Shirt! (Pattern Mixing ALERT)

Friends, I've just completed my genuine Liberty of London summer shirt for the Mood Sewing Network.

You can see me model it this instant by clicking here.
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