Brocades: Day to Evening Elegance
by Kathryn Brenne
  • Introduction
  • Fabrics
  • Glossary of Terms: Clearing the Confusion
  • Choosing a Pattern
  • Layout and Cutting
  • Needles and Thread
  • Seaming
  • Welt Pocket Primer
  • Setting in a Sleeve
  • Shoulder Pads and Sleeve Heads
  • Bagging a Lining
  • Closures
  • Kathryn's Sample Garment



  • sewing tutorials
  • sewing guides 2004-2009
  • inspiration
  • fabric store
  •   
    Layout and Cutting

    Many brocade fabrics have a design that will require matching. Drape a length of fabric over a dress stand, step back and see if you notice a predominant pattern or repeat. For my jacket, the square design required matching. I also had to consider where to place the squares to avoid a bullseye effect over the bust area. Try draping the fabric across your body to determine the best design placement. To match the design, use the tips outlined here: http://www.emmaonesock.com/guides/kbfrenchjacket6.asp

    Make sure to use a nap layout, cutting all pattern pieces in the same direction. When a garment requires matching, cut the body first and wait until it is constructed before cutting the sleeves. For my sample jacket and skirt, I finished the jacket first so that I could try it on with a muslin sample of the skirt in order to mark the continuation of the fabric design onto the skirt when the jacket was worn. kbbr_dkb56798_1

    Marking

    Traditional marking techniques using chalk or tracing paper will not show up on these fabrics. Instead use tailor's tacks or thread tracing. Mark the notches with a double strand of basting thread, taking several small running stitches into the seam allowance. Darts, pocket placements and hem allowances can also be thread-traced. I like to thread trace the armsyce of a jacket, making the sleeve easier to insert.

    Interfacing

    The type of interfacing you select for your project will depend upon the fabric's heat tolerance. Always test a sample first. If your fabric will tolerate heat, try using an all bias knit fusible interfacing for light to medium support. For more stiffness a fusible weft insertion interfacing will work well. For fabrics that do not tolerate heat, a sew in light weight hair canvas is suitable.

    kbbr_dkb56801_1

    Fusible interfacings can be layered to give the desired effect. For my jacket, the lapel needed extra support in order to stand up and away from the neckline. I fused two layers of all bias knit interfacing one on top of the other to create the stiffness I needed.

    In areas where the edge of the interfacing sits into the body of the garment, pink the edge to soften it and prevent a ridge from showing through.

    Areas that need interfacing are jacket fronts, the upper back, armsyce, sleeve cap, hems, collars, waistbands or yokes. I do not usually interface side panels in jackets, which allows for a softer silhouette. The interfacing in the upper back of a jacket adds support, while in the sleeve cap it helps to prevent a difficult fabric from rippling once the sleeve is sewn in. Interfacing in the hems prevents them from stretching and gives the hem a soft roll. Used around the armsyce it prevents the fabric from stretching when inserting a sleeve.


    Applying interfacing

    Sleeve interfacing

    It's easy to create your interfacing pieces using your garment pattern pieces as a guide. Use the back pattern to create a pattern for the back interfacing, which curves over the middle of the shoulder blades. To create a pattern for the armsyce interfacing, which should be 1 1/2" wide,cut the interfacing with the same grain line as the fabric. For the hem allowances cut crosswise strips of interfacing the width of the hem allowance plus 1/2", and for sew-in interfacings cut the hem interfacings on the bias. kbbr_dkb56740_1 kbbr_dkb56745_1

      
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