Denim is denim, right? Well, no, not really..... here's a run down of some of the things you should consider before selecting denim for your next sewing project. Hopefully this will help shed some light ...and if you still can't quite make up your mind, don't forget you can always order samples before committing to a project.
Denims range in weight from about 6oz through to about 15oz.
Rigid vs Stretch Denim
The denim you choose will either be rigid denim or stretch denim - you will need to refer to your pattern for what type you will need. As the names suggest, rigid denim is just that - normally 100% cotton. While stretch denim will have a lycra/elastane/spandex content. The percentage content of the spandex and the percentage stretch are the two main things to look out for when selecting stretch denim. Don't get confused between the two! Your pattern will have been designed with either a stretch content or stretch percentage - so pay attention!
loomstate / raw denim vs sanforized denim
When denim is manufactured at the mill it is first woven on looms, then often undergoes a treatment process called sanforizing. This process is essentially moistening, steaming and stretching the fabric repeatedly to remove most (if not all potential shrinkage). The result is often a smoother looking denim.
Loomstate, or raw denim, on the other hand, doesn't go through the shrinking process. We end up with denim fabric that is straight off the loom. This gives a slightly rougher, more textured denim. If you are using this denim be sure to take into account that the fabric will shrink when washed - normally 5-10%. Some people prefer the slightly more rugged look of this denim and choose to wear the denim without washing it first. If you choose this option - consider sizing up and your garment will shrink to fit after its first wash.
Selvedge Denim vs non-selvedge denim
Selvedge denim is denim fabric that has tightly woven edges (that don't fray) on either side of the fabric. The selvedge is normally a contrasting colour(s) and often used as a design detail in the finished garment. Selvedge denim is woven on narrow looms, where a continuous weft yarn snakes left to right and back again across the fabric. This continuous weft is what creates the finished edge. Non-selvedge denim by comparison has the weft yarn cut each time it reaches the edge of the loom, creating a frayed edge.
The important consideration when choosing between the two is to note the width of the fabric. You are likely to need more of a narrow selvedge denim which is often 70-80cm wide. If you are using selvedge denim to make jeans, you'd lay the pattern pieces out so that the outer leg seam sits on the selvedge, giving a great design detail when you turn up your cuffs.
pre-washing - shrinkage
You can choose to either prewash your denim or not before sewing. Except for the raw denims you are not likely to experience any shrinkage. BUT - I do recommend you check shrinkage first, and take this into account when sizing you garment. A quick way to check how much your chosen denim fabric might shrink is to cut a swatch (approximately the size of a post card), record its size, soak it thoroughly then dry with a hot iron. Compare the swatch size before and after. From here you can decide if you want to pre-wash or not.
If you do choose to pre-wash your denim fabric, consider the following:
The nature of denim is that the indigo dye will leach and rub off. And it will do so in a completely unique way to each wearer - one of the joys of wearing in a new pair of jeans or jacket! Do be wary though, that while sewing with new denim you may get some dye rub off - so watch out for that crisp white pile of linen sitting on the corner of your sewing table!
save it for later...
If you've found this blog helpful, you might like to use the image below to pin to your Pinterest account for reading later.
A short while ago I approached Gabrielle (better know as Bibbity Bobbity Buttons on social media) to see if she'd like to jump on board as a contributing blogger and I'm so pleased she said yes! Gabrielle is a thoughtful stitcher who is in the process of creating a beautiful and versatile handmade wardrobe.
Today I'm really excited to share the first of what will hopefully be many guest blogger contributions. Gabrielle's first review is of the Beryl Bomber Dress by Named Clothing . For transparency, I have provided the fabrics, pattern and paid for her precious time - but I have explicitly asked for an honest and open review. So without further adieu....
Stardust Double Gauze - 7 Colours!
Many of you have been asking if I'd be getting in the stunning Stardust Cotton Double Gauze from Atelier Brunette. And the answer is yes - it's now here in time for warmer weather sewing plans. Available in seven stunning colours.
It has been hugely popular over the northern hemisphere spring and summer, filling Instagram feeds for the past few months. And I'm so excited to have it in the store, that I'll be giving some away.... (keep reading for details!)
Double Gauze is created with two layers of fine gauze fabric woven together every centimetre or so, creating a soft yet textured fabric. It is perfect for summer sewing - tops, dresses, pants, skirts and even quilts. Pretty much anything you could want in your spring and summer wardrobe. If you are looking for a little inspiration, I've put together a Pinterest Board, and of course there are so many lovely makes shared over on Instagram.
I've also taken the opportunity to re-stock some old favourites - stunning printed viscoses, pure cotton batistes, and lush viscose crepes (including four new colours!).
And if that wasn't enough...
Atelier Brunette has also just released a range of bias binding and piping to match all these gorgeous fabrics! The perfect opportunity to add a little pop of colour and contrast to your next make - either inside or out.
I'm giving away $250 worth of sewing goodness!
Yes, you read correctly - I'm so excited to have all these fabulous Atelier Brunette fabrics in the store, I'm going to be giving some away. In fact I'll add in some extra goodies to get your spring sewing off to a flying start! (and yes, my husband thinks I'm mad giving these things away...!) The prize pack will include:
How to Enter: All you need to do is purchase any Atelier Brunette fabric from the store - each 50cm of qualifying fabric (excluding piping and bias) purchased will give you one entry into the draw. For example if you order 1.5m of any Atelier Brunette fabric, you will receive three entries.
You can also increase your chances by earning extra entries. If youshare a picture of your newly purchased Atelier Brunette fabric on Facebook or Instagram you will get an additional three entries.
You have until midnight 31 August 2018 to purchase qualifying fabric, and until midnight 10 September 2018 to make any social media posts for bonus entries.
*prize choices only include in stock fabrics and patterns
Just added to the store is a fabric that is beautiful, soft, luxurious and with a wonderful drape. Cupro, in classic black or navy is perfect when you want to add a little bit of luxe to your wardrobe and sewing repertoire. Cupro is derived from the humble cotton plant, but the resulting fabric is more akin to sand washed silk than cotton. What I love about this fibre is not only is the end product stunning, but the process to get there has a wonderful story as well....
After the cotton lint (the white fluffy fibre that surrounds each cotton seed) is removed for processing into cotton yarn, left behind is the cotton seed surrounded by very fine short fibres called cotton linter. This linter would normally be discarded, however with modern processing technologies, these fibres are now being used to make a fibre that is arguably more than the sum of it's parts. Cupro has the feel and handle of silk, and is breathable helping regulate body temperature.
image credit: Asahi Kasei
If you haven't sewn or worn cupro yet - I really encourage you to do so. I am in the middle of stitching up a Kochi Kimono from the Papercut Patterns stable and I can't wait to finish it - I am anticipating an elegant extra layer for evenings out. This is my first time sewing with cupro - and here are a few things I discovered:
If you are looking for a little other inspiration on how to use this fabulous fibre - take a look at the Pinterest Board I've put together.
For those of you following me on Instagram or Facebook, you will more than likely know that I am taking part in a month long challenge called Me Made May. The challenge started eight years ago by UK sewist, Zoe Edwards of the blog So, Zo..What do You Know? - and it "is all about improving your relationship with your handmade wardrobe, and perhaps also learning about yourself and your creativity." I personally think it's a great opportunity to really appreciate what you've spent time making for yourself - which may be just one simple tee, or a whole wardrobe packed with me made garments - as well as to help you plan what you really need to make next...not just something with the next pretty pattern or fabric that pops up in front of you. This challenge is very good at identifying the 'gaps' in your wardrobe. And to help with that aspect, I'm really pleased to be able to sponsor the first prize for the month. To help fill a gap (an actual need!!) in your wardrob, I'm going to be giving away:
To enter, you need to head over to Jennifer Lauren Handmade (a very talented Kiwi pattern maker, sewist and blogger). Jen helps out with Me Made May, and is hosting this giveaway. The competition is open world wide and closes 8pm Sunday 14th May NZDT.
I'm leaving on a jet plane...FOLLOW ALONG TO WIN AND SAVE!
(orders will not be shipped while I'm away - please see below for details)
I've got my passport in hand and I'm getting ready to explore a little piece of Europe to try and find some inspiration and new finds for the store. I will be sharing my travels to Europe on Instagram and Facebook - and I'd love you to follow my travels - I can promise you there will be some great deals and giveaways along the way.
That means I will be away from the store and not processing any orders for three weeks. You will still be able to order - however this one-woman-band won't be shipping until I get back. But you will probably want to place an order or two to take advantage of the discounts and special deals I will be sharing while I travel.
In the meantime, if you have some projects that you want to get started soon and to avoid disappointment, please place an order before midnight Wednesday 15 March* to ensure it ships before I leave. The shop will resume as normal Monday 10 April.
*all orders placed between midnight Wednesday 15 March and Monday 10 April 2017 will be processed and ship Monday 10 April 2017.
That's it for the year....I'm getting ready for Christmas. You can still place orders, but I won't be shipping until 9 January (2017!!). Thanks for all the support this year, it's been great getting to know so many of you... Merry Christmas and safe and happy holidays! Oh, and I had fun creating my own wrapping paper via Spoonflower this year... highly recommend :-)
CHRISTMAS SHIPPING DATES:
For New Zealand urban deliveries, I recommend that you place an order prior to the 18th December for pre-Christmas delivery. For New Zealand rural deliveries, I recommend that you place an order prior to the 15th December for pre-Christmas delivery.
The cut off for orders to be processed before Christmas is midday Tuesday 20th December.
Please note, it is unlikely that deliveries outside of New Zealand will be delivered prior to Christmas.
Shipping will resume again on 9 January 2017.
She has a thing for stacks of beautiful fabrics, delights in holding something made to last, and respects good craftsmanship. These are the driving forces behind the Miss Maude shop. And here are her musings.