Brocades
by Shannon Gifford
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  • Brocades

    Satiny fabric with floating designs in shiny thread….could anything be more elegant than brocade? This beautiful, dramatic fabric is timeless in its appeal. Garments made from brocade can range in formality from eveningwear to casual tops. And it is surprisingly easy to sew!

    Pretreatment:

    Dry clean only

    Needles and Thread:

    Use size 10 universal or quilting needles for construction. Cotton, cotton-covered polyester, or all polyester threads are good choices. You can also use silk thread for construction, if you prefer.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Standard straight seams, 2.0-2.5 stitch length, are best for construction of brocade garments. Use a 2 or 3 thread overlock stitch for clean-finishing brocade seams. If you do not have a serger, you might choose to bind the seam allowances with coordinating satin binding. Or, if you're up to the challenge, use a fell seam for enclosing all the raw edges of your seams.

    Interfacing:

    Sew-in interfacing is recommended. Use silk organza, batiste, or flannel, depending on the effect you seek.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Evening wear, jackets, shawls, dresses, tops, straight or straight-ish skirts, pants, loungewear, coats.

    Creative Possibilities:

    Pair brocade with beads, trim, lame, fringe, or braid for an opulent look. You might also consider re-embroidering one of the design motifs of the fabric with textured thread or sequins. For a more casual look, pair your brocade with denim or wool in a color-blocked garment. A brocade coat with a faux fur collar (such as Persian lamb fabric) will always be an eyecatcher! Try quilting your brocade for additional structure and texture.

    Additional Tips:

    Brocade fabrics must be treated carefully with the iron. Test your iron's temperature on a scrap of the fabric before progressing with your project. You will likely need to use a low temperature and gentle pressure for best results.

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