Greetings from the bike lanes of New York City!
So I made a somewhat impulsive fabric purchase on Saturday and I'm not sure what to do with it. It's two and a half yards of an Italian leopard print wool knit in black and gray tones. Originally I thought sweats, now -- after realizing it's not all that cuddly soft -- I'm thinking some kind of coat or jacket. It's almost felted and and not particularly stretchy.
The trick, I think, is in making sure this doesn't end up looking like cheap fleece. Goodness, I hope animal prints aren't already played out...
In other news, I spent much of today in the leafy suburbs of New Jersey, where I visited talented sewing blogger Claudine, who had invited me to experiment with waxing fabric. (I'd expressed an interest in waterproof outerwear fabrics in a post a few weeks ago.) Claudine recently made this beautiful silk coat using a pattern from the famous Japanese Men's Coat Pattern Book I just bought, and she applied wax to it herself. I tried it on and with the exception of the sleeves being a bit short, it fit perfectly, so I guess if I can go with the size Small.
Today she demonstrated her fabric-waxing process on black cotton twill.
She uses a blend of beeswax, linseed oil, and turpentine, which she mixed herself. Apparently what you don't use on your fabric you can apply to your legs.
Claudine melted her wax by pouring boiling water into a larger tin and letting it sit for a few minutes.
We then took the molten wax outside, along with Claudine's cotton twill.
Claudine smeared the wax on the fabric with a rag.
I watched and took photos.
Finally, Claudine hung the fabric on a clothesline and remelted the wax with the aid of heat gun -- an appliance I'd never even heard of but which is apparently popular in the the suburbs for tasks like melting paint off walls and killing spiders.
As the wax melts, it disappears into the twill weave. The fabric is now stiffer, though still quite supple, and there's no visible white residue. She then lets it air out for 24 hours.
You can read more about Claudine's experiments with wax on her blog.
I have to hand it to Claudine: not only does she wax fabric, dye, and embroider, she also owns a home mangle -- another appliance (this one more directly sewing-related) I had never heard of. It's actually where the verb "to mangle" comes from, as in, "I mangled my left hand in my home mangle."
Anyway, thank you for a lovely afternoon, Claudine!
In closing friends, two questions:
1) Have you ever waxed fabric and, if so, did you use a method similar to Claudine's?
2) What would you make with two and a half yards of leopard print knit?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!