Working with Textiles - Part 2 of 3

Fabrics You can have polyester, taffeta or silk taffeta, silk or polyester crepe de chine, polyester georgette, viscose (rayon) or silk georgette. The weaving pattern remains the same no matter what yarn is used. All fibres lend themselves better to a particular weave. Fine, flexible silky fibres are better suited to silky flowing fabrics. Stronger, coarser fibres are better suited to jackets and coats. Drape Not all fabrics behave in the same way. A tightly woven thick yarn creating a firm structure like wool tweed, used for jackets, cannot be made into a garment that closely follows the line of the body. A tightly woven fine wool yarn creating a more fluid fabric like cashmere or alpaca, can. This is to do with Drape. The drape is how a fabric behaves when woven and eventually cut. Most garments are cut out of the fabric along the straight grain, following the right angle of the warp and weft. Garments that require fullness in the skirt such as a full circle skirt, a peplum detail on a dress, a waterfall frill or fluted panel added onto the hem of a skirt have to be cut on the cross grain of the fabric, 45 degrees to the warp and weft. For this reason you should buy twice as much fabric or more for garments that require fullness as there is more wastage of fabric cutting on the cross grain. When selecting a fabric for a particular garment, hold up a piece of the cloth to see if it holds its shape or collapses around your arm. This will show you how it drapes. Jersey Some fabrics are knitted. This is done either by hand or on a knitting machine. This process enables the fabric to stretch in all directions. Jersey fabric is not suitable for a structured shape. Jersey is very suitable for a garment that follows or emphasises the shape of the body. If a length is cut, great care must be taken to protect all the cut edges to prevent the fabric from unraveling. Jersey can be cut on the cross or straight. You can have acrylic jersey, cotton and wool jersey, silk jersey or polyester jersey. Some woven fabrics have stretchy fibres added. Lycra is the brand name for latex rubber fibre created by Du Pont. It is stronger than the Spandex or elastane man made fibre. Sandra Walker – Nova India

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