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!
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I've just added eight beautiful fabrics to the store - all perfect for your summer sewing projects.
This little summer collection includes an ever so soft 100% cotton chambray in three classic colours, two new laundered linen solid colours, plus a laundered cotton/linen skinny stripe - again in three classic colours that will see you through many seasons to come.
The cotton/linen stripe is laundered giving it a stylish lived in look, plus it makes for easy care and comfortable summer living. A must in my books! Choose between Gotland Red, Oland Black or Finhamn Navy stripes.
The chambray is a light weight cotton, wonderfully soft and with a beautiful drape. Just perfect for shirts, summer skirts and dresses. A true light weight, classic fabric. Your colour choices for this are Soft Red, Denim Blue or Dark Blue. Each is 145cm wide and only $26.00 per metre making these great value for money!
Spring is a time of new beginnings, and here that means a new fabric collection added to the store. I'm excited to introduce Monaluna Organic Cottons - vibrant and fun prints with co-ordinating solids. The 100% GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) Certified cottons are available in three substrates. A fine lawn; a quality, high thread count poplin; and a wonderfully soft jersey interlock....a little something for everyone.
The latest collection from Named Clothing has arrived in store. I personally love this collection - it is full of timeless design details used in unique and interesting ways. Right up my alley! It is also a very versatile collection that, depending on fabric choice, can be dressed up, dressed down and can be crafted to suit most seasons.
The collection is called Evolution Theory and is a study on the evolution of fashion - how certain fashion staples became what they are today.
The collection combines details from one garment to another in unique ways with a particular focus on cut in order to create interesting, yet natural and effortless designs. . As a result, there are garments like a blouse with trench coat like details, a double-breasted jersey dress and a kimono-inspired tee.
The collection also takes its inspiration from the Finnish nature, the crude rocks, coniferous forests and cold water. The colours in the collection reflect this origin; ice blue, pine green and granite grey.
Hand block printed fabrics - graphic patterns in classic indigo colourways. All feature the charming irregularities of a thing hand made. Light weight fabrics perfect for layering or for spring and summer days.....only seven weeks left of winter, everyday is getting a little lighter and longer.
Or treat yourself to a solid pair of hand forged, brass handles scissors or shears. There is even a left-handed tailor's shear. Discover the Little India Collection here.
Colette Patterns have released a new skirt pattern. Selene - a classic pencil skirt. I have been lucky enough to get an advanced copy, so I've made one up in denim for casual autumn style. It is perfect timing as my autumn wardrobe is somewhat lacking (to say the least!).
The Royals Collection from Named Clothing is here!
The following patterns are available for shipping now:
Astrid Wrap Pants and Shorts
Beatrix Skater Dress
Eleonora Pleated Mini Skirt
Madeleine Bow Tie Blouse
Paola Turtle Neck Tee
The rest (Elizabeth Gown, Grace Corset, and Marie Gathered Dress and Blouse will be available for shipping next week)
UPDATE: ALL ROYALS PATTERNS ARE NOW AVAILABLE FOR SHIPPING!
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.