Posts Tagged: fabric



What Is Grain?

Fabric has a grain. What does this mean? Well, like many other things, such as hair, wood, fingernails, and even meat, there is a certain structure within a substance called a grain, and knowing how to use it can help you a lot. For instance, cutting meat perpendicular to the grain creates sharper blockier pieces instead of globby bits. You don’t usually brush UP your hair because there are little scales that grow DOWN your hair. And people may tell you that you should file your nails or sand a piece of wood in the same direction instead of back and forth because it’s more productive and less damaging.

Even meat has a grain!

Grain Lines In Fabric

A fabric grain is created by the fibers itself. In virtually all fabrics (and there are exceptions), fibers are woven perpendicular to each other, like a grid. There are vertical and horizontal lines. On most fabrics you can find a selvage: this is the finished edge of the fabric, where it cannot unravel, and can be identified by having a different texture, and sometimes different color. There may be words or letters printed here, and oftentimes little dots appear as well. The selvage is a very very important guide when it comes to knowing the grain of the fabric. The selvage is always vertical, or is the length of the fabric. Perpedicular to it are the horizontal fibers, and that is the width. The fabric cannot be wider than the selvage to selvage- that is the width that remains constant for that fabric. Fabrics come in many widths. However, the length is your yardage- when you order three yards of fabric, that’s three yards in fabric length, plus the however many inches in width that the fabric comes in.


The fibers that run the length of the fabric are called warp. The fibers that run the width and are perpendicular to the selvage is called the weft or filling. If you go diagonally on the fabric, that is the bias. A true or perfect bias is half way between the warp and the weft, or is at a 45 degree angle.

Why Do Grain Lines Matter? 

Now, you may be asking yourself, why does any of this matter? It’s just a bunch of mumbo jumbo, I just want to cut my fabric, it looks the same in every direction. Hold your horses, even if it looks the same, it most certainly is not the same in every direction. For some fabrics that have obvious patterns or textures, if you lay your pattern pieces and cut in any way you wish then when you put it together, the patterns may not line up. If you’re making a pinstripe jacket, for example, you wouldn’t want your sleeve to have horizontal stripes and your jacket to have vertical ones. Unless it is supposed to be that way, but usually that isn’t the case, and you’d still have to think about that before cutting the fabric.

Cutting on the Grain Lines

On your storebought pattern pieces there are straight lines with arrows called grainlines. This should nearly always be placed perpendicular to the selvage when cutting fabric unless you have a specific reason to do otherwise. Here’s the meat and potatoes folks, if you do NOT do this you are going to risk giving yourself some major headaches later on. Some fabrics that have two way stretch, such as certain denims are best used if you make sure the stretch goes horizontally on the leg to make movement and fit more comfortable. Similarly, if you mix up your stretch direction and cut jacket pieces in varying grain lines, when you sew, some pieces may stretch and not line up when the corresponding piece does not stretch, making it difficult to match pieces correctly. Most storebought patterns will give you a guide, based on the width of your fabric, in which you can arrange your pieces so as to waste as little space/fabric as possible.


Utilizing the Bias Cut

And the bias cut? Oh the bias cut. On almost all fabrics, the bias cut stretches. It has the most give, and the most stretch. Try it on a non-stretch fabric- pull it vertically, horizontally, and then diagonally. The weave should stretch only on the diagonal, either slightly or quite a bit actually. While cutting ont he bias can mess you up if you’re trying to make a simple blouse or jacket, this can be very helpful for certain garments and is used a lot in haute couture to improve the garment fit and drape. It reduces drag lines and also makes a more comfortable fit, but since you’re cutting the piece diagonally, it tends to take up more space and thus more fabric. Some full length dresses need TWICE as much fabric than they would if they were cut lengthwise, equalling several yards needed in fabric, up to 6 or even 9.

There’s also a magical thing called bias tape. You can buy this at most sewing stores, and also make your own, and as the name implies, it is cut on the bias.


While I don’t expect everyone to mind their grain lines (even I cheat sometimes if it’s urgent), it helps a lot to know, especially if you are using a fabric with a more visual grain, such as stripes, or with a certain print or texture. So if you were anything like me, back when I would cut off the ugly selvage, and totally ignore the grain lines and just try to fit as many pattern pieces together like tetris blocks that I could, now you know how to use those things to your sewing and cosplaying advantage!

(via learning-to-sew)

Source: momokurumi


Have you ever seen a fabric in a weird width and not known how much to buy?

Fabrics come in standard widths but there are times when you’ll find a lovely fabric in an odd width. Vintage fabrics, for example, are often quite narrow.

Instead of purchasing too little fabric or passing it by because you can’t figure out the right amount, we suggest printing out this handy yardage conversion chart. Or, keep a copy of this image or something siilar on your phone. Keep it with you when you’re shopping for fabric. It’s not foolproof, since every pattern is laid out differently, but it’s a pretty reliable way to estimate.

Sewing with slippery or sheer fabric can be daunting if you’ve never tried it. Just like anything, though, all it takes is a bit of know-how and practice to get it just right. Here are a few pointers we’ve put together to help you out.
  • Use a spray stabilizer or starch to stiffen the fabric before cutting.
  • Heavy pattern weights spread across the fabric will keep it from slipping around.
  • Place tissue paper beneath the fabric to help keep slipping at a minimum.
  • Silk pins are the best pins for the job. They have thin shafts and very sharp points which keep them from snagging the woven threads.
  • Pin frequently along a seam.
  • Sew using the correct type of needle and thread for the job. You’ll most likely need a thin needle and an all-purpose thread.
  • French seams are the best for sheer fabrics as they encompass the raw edges and look professional.
  • Sew a simple hem with the fabric folded over twice and stitched in place, or a rolled hem, which is perfect for thin, sheer fabrics.

Linen, made from flax fibers, has been used for centuries. Because it has a looser weave, pure linens allow air to pass quickly through the natural fibers and helps keep the skin cool. Moisture also evaporates quickly from linen garments, making it an ideal material for summer clothing. Lightweight linens often have a lovely drape and are more free flowing than cotton, but it is also notorious for wrinkling easily. If this is bothersome, look for a polyester blend. The synthetic fibers will resist wrinkling better and add some stability to the natural flax fiber.

Fine linens are quite smooth in texture, while poor quality linen will have a lumpy texture and irregular bumps. Be sure to test the drape and hand-feel of the fabric to ensure you purchase the correct weight for your garment. Lightweight linen works best for blouses and dresses. Medium to heavy weight linens are better from skirts, pants, jackets and some dresses.



/This is mainly aimed for cosplayers, but you obviously don’t need to be a cosplayer to find this helpful/

When shopping for fabrics, you can get that a lot look very similar in the same color, and you don’t know which is best. When buying any fabric, it’s an amazing habit to take a picture of the fabric with flash, and without - this is because when getting your picture taken at a con, a ‘photographer’ may use flash, or not, and you want your cosplay to look good in both! 

For example, I didn’t know which black/gray I wanted to use with my white. You can see the middle fabric, didn’t look too bad with the flash:


But without, it looked jet black, and that’s not what I wanted:


My other two fabrics, they looked similar, but one was way too shiny with the flash, and the other looked just right for what I wanted: 


Trust me, after the con when you find pictures of yourself is not the time to realize you used the wrong fabric.

(via learning-to-sew)

Source: capnnugget


In my fashion text book I found a page dedicated to clothing care and I think a lot of you would be interested. There are quite a few stains that are likely pertain to lolitas. Enjoy!

Blood: Soak in cold water as soon as possible for 30 minutes or longer. Pretreat any remaining stain. Launder. For dried stains apply an enzymeor rub detergent on stain. Bleach if safe for fabric.

Candle Wax: Harden by placing in freezer or rubbing with ice cube. Scrape off with dull knife or fingernail. Place between several layers of paper towels and press with warm iron. Sponge remaining stain with prewash stain remover or cleaning fluid. Launder.

Catsup; Tomato Products: Scrape off excess with dull knife. Soak in cold water. Pretreat remaining stain. Wash, using bleach if safe for fabric.

Chocolate: Scrape off; then soak in cold water. Pretreat any remaining stain. Wash, using bleach if safe for fabric.

Coffee; Tea: Use enzyme presoak. Wash in hottest water safe for fabric.

Cosmetics: Rub detergent into area or use a prewash stain remover. If stain is stubborn, sponge with cleaning fluid. Launder.

Deodorant; Antiperspirant: Pretreat stain and wash in hottest water safe for fabric. Also see directions for perspiration stains.

Fruit; Fruit Juice: Soak in cold water. Pretreat remaining stain. Wash, using bleach if safe for fabric.

Grass: Rub detergent into area or use an enzyme presoak. Then wash using bleach and hottest water that is safe for fabric.

Gravy; Meat Juice: Scrape off excess with dull knife. Soak in cold water. Pretreat remaining stain. Wash, using bleach if safe for fabric

Grease; Oil: Scrape off or blot with paper towels. Use prewash stain remover or rub detergent into area. Launder. If stain remains, sponge with cleaning fluid and rinse.

Gum: Harden by placing in freezer or rubbing with ice cube. Scrape off with dull knife or fingernail. Pretreat remaining stain, and wash.

Ink: Spray with hairspray or sponge with rubbing alcohol. After a few minutes blot with paper towels. Rub detergent into stain, and wash. Alternative: use a prewash stain remover; then launder. (Some ballpoint, felt tip, and liquid inks may be impossible to remove.)

Mayonnaise; Mustard; Salad Dressing: Pretreat stain and wash in hottest water safe for fabric. Use chlorine bleach if safe for fabric. If grease stain remains, soak in warm water with a pretreat product, rinse thoroughly, and relaunder.

Mildew: Pretreat stain, and launder, using a chlorine bleach if safe for fabric. Alternative: soak in an oxygen- or all-fabric bleach and hot water; then launder. (Heavily mildewed fabrics may be permanently damaged.)

Milk; Ice Cream; Baby Formula: Soak in warm water. Launder in hottest water safe for fabric; use appropriate bleach. If stain remains, soak in pretreat product, rinse thoroughly, and relaunder.

Nail Polish: Place stain face down on paper towels. Sponge with nail polish remover (do not use acetone on acetate fabrics). Rinse thoroughly and launder in hottest water safe for fabric. (Nail polish may be impossible to remove.)

Paint: Do not let paint dry. For latex paint, rinse in cool water and launder. For oil-based paint, sponge with turpentine or mineral spirits and rinse with water. Launder. (Once paint is dry, it cannot be removed.)

Perfume: Soak in cold water. Pretreat remaining stain. Wash, using bleach if safe for fabric.

Perspiration: Use a prewash stain remover or enzyme presoak, or sponge fresh stain with ammonia. For old stain, sponge with white vinegar and rinse. Rub detergent into stain and wash in hottest water safe for fabric.

Rust: Wash with a rust remover, following manufacturer’s directions. Do not use chlorine bleach, it will intensify the stain.

Soft Drinks: Sponge or soak in cold water. Pretreat any remaining stain. Launder.

Unknown Stains: Pretreat stain and soak in cold water. Wash in cold water with detergent. If stain remains, rewash in warm water. If stain is still not removed, wash again in hot water.

(via pardonmybloomers)

Source: manda-the-stars-shine-bright


Over the past two years or so I’ve collected a fair amount of sewing references and tutorials, applicable to both cosplay and regular garment sewing. They’ve helped me out a lot, so I thought other people might benefit from them too!


Sewing vocabulary

About patterns (reading, altering, drafting)

Introduction to patterns

About thread tension

About interfacing

How to gather fabric


How to pre-shrink wool

Cutting slippery fabrics with tissue paper

Comparison of steel and spiral boning

Time-saving trick for a boned bodice muslin


About darts

How to French seam a dart

Tailoring, Altering, and Fitting

How to fit pants

About swayback alterations

About tailored jackets

How to tailor a coat front part 1

Part 2

Part 3

How to remove gaping from the neckline of a fitted dress

Finishing Seam Allowances

How to finish seam allowances (without Serging

How to do a Hong Kong seam binding

Turned and stitched finished seam allowances (my personal favorite method)

French seams


Easy lining

Lining a sleeveless dress


How to draft a simple band sleeve

How to sew a tulip sleeve

How to sew a two piece underarm gusset

How to sew kimono sleeve gussets

More on sewing kimono sleeve gussets


How to sew an invisible zipper

Invisible zipper tutorial

Another invisible zipper tutorial

How to do a hand-picked zipper


About hems

How to mitre a folded hem

How to hem an inverted pleat

How to sew a hand-rolled hem

How to sew an invisible hem

 Odds and Ends

Circle skirt calculator

Half circle skirts

How to sew a full, gathered skirt part 1

Part 2

How to make a half slip

How to bind neck and armholes with bias tape

Covered button tutorial

Bound buttonhole tutorial

Finishing bound buttonholes

How to make belts

How to do ruffles

How to do a convertible collar

Shaping a shirt collar

Lace/eyelet collar tutorial

Cutting checks and plaids, part 1

Part 2

How to sew checks/plaids to match perfectly

How to attach bias tape with mitered corners

How to use Swarovski crystals

How to sew a 50s petticoat

Horsehair braid tutorial

How to sew with velvet

How to make felt roses

How to do a foundation for a fascinator hat

More tutorials

(via learning-to-sew)

Source: galatea-cosplay


I took fashion design in high school, and we learned a METRIC FUCKTON about fabrics.

Everything you could ever want is under the cut. Enjoy!

Read More

Source: unicornjack
Photo Set


DIY Fashion Pattern Vocabulary Indographic from Enerie here. Also from Enerie: Know Your Sunglasses here, and for the popular posts Know Your Shoes go here for part 1 (Lobster Claws anyone? Hilarious) and here for part 2.

(via cosmostar)