The fabric I chose to do is linen, and this is a linen dress from my closet.
Some other garments that feature the use of linen are:
A Cultural History of Dress and Fashion in the Medieval Age by Sarah-Grace Heller takes an in-depth look at linen and other fabrics, discussing the amount of human labor and capital that went into textile production, the societal status associated with what people wore, and the life-cycle of such fabrics.
According to Fabric Saavy, linen comes in four weights: gauge, handkerchief, medium, and heavy. It is a crisp fabric made from fibers of the flax plant and doesn’t drape, but is extremely cool to wear in hot weather. The most common mistake people make with linen is choosing the wrong weight for their project.
“Consuming Kashmir: Shawls and Empires, 1500-2000” by Michelle Maskiell
Cashmere sweaters do not need to go to the dry cleaner to get cleaned, as many people think. You can wash them using warm water on a gentle cycle in the washing machine and use the permanent-press cycle on the dryer. It is made from fine hairs of the underbellies of goats raised in extreme climates.
“Radical Decadence, Excess in contemporary feminist textiles and craft” by Julia Skelly. This chapter discusses how British artist Roxanne Hawksley uses items representing decadence, death and mortality in her works. These works often feature items made of velvet as a fabric that is considered to be luxurious and littered throughout royal portraits. Skelly describes how the artist explicitly juxtaposes decadent luxury fabrics like velvet with objects representing death and decay, creating intersections of poilital, visual, and material culture.
Fabric Savvy – Tips!
Velvet can be used from pants to dresses to even jackets. It can be a difficult fabric to work with, especially when using microfiber velvet as that does not exactly press well and may be difficult to control. When working with velvet, it is important to note that holes do not come out! That means you should pre-test your pattern and even have a sample swatch to see how the fabric reacts.
When sewing, the fabric needs to be relaxed every couple of inches. This means you should lift the foot and both layers or pieces of velvet to be able to sew evenly on it. Lastly, it is suggested to use double sided tape/adhesive to hold the fabric together when sewing, remembering to not sew on the tape but next to it.
Before the introduction of synthetic fibres in the 20th century, velvet was made from silk, which was very expensive and only accessible to those with high levels of wealth. It originate in 750 AD in Bagdad, before it made its way to the Mediterranean and the rest of Europe.
We chose cotton, in this case being used as a knit fabric. Below is Sophia’s garment that is a knit cotton pullover. The left is a zoomed-in photo of the fabric. The right has the full garment.
Below are three different uses of cotton. The image on the left is a modern Prada dress with cotton and polyester. The central image is a cotton lacework collar, and the rightmost image is an older dress with cotton.
The article we chose was “Dress, Body, and Culture in Brazil” by Rita Andrade and Regina A. Root which looks at the historical context of Brazilian fashion, including cotton and it’s use in Brazil. It’s interesting to see how cotton was used by indigenous people and how it had been used to incentive colonial policy.
Polyester should be cut on the crossgrain or bias to prevent the seams from puckering.
Bonus: Polyester was first invented in 1941, and was discovered in the W. H. Carothers’ laboratory. It was first introduced to the American public in 1951, advertised as a material that can be used in a variety of garments that would not need to be ironed.
Vests, straight skirts, tailored shirts, structured jackets, jumpers, tailored pants, and children’s clothes. Dark colors are especially flattering on adults. If you are heavy, avoid wide-wale corduroy since it adds bulk.
Should be sewn in the direction of the pile
Needle: 80/12 HJ or 80/12 H.
Foot: Walking or Roller (loosen top tension slightly)
Stitch Length: 2.5mm straight
Betzina, Sandra. All New Fabric Savvy : How to Choose & Use Fabrics. Taunton Press, 2017.
“The fabric looks as if it is made from multiple cords laid parallel to each other and then stitched together. The word corduroy is from cord and duroy, a coarse woollen cloth made in England in the 18th century. The interpretation of the word as corde du roi (from French, the cord of the King) is a false etymology.”
“Corduroy is a material traditionally used in making British country clothing, even though its origin lies among items worn by townspeople in industrial areas. Although corduroy has existed for a long time and was used in Europe since the 18th century, only in the 20th century did it become global – notably expanding in popularity during the 1970s.”