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10 Things to Know Before You Make the Cut: How to Sew, Design, and Create with Bare Cloth Fabric

We've made it! This blog has been well over six years in the making!


Bare Cloth has been a soul project filled with serendipity, willpower, and creativity. Since I originally acquired the Hattersely Loom I have been working toward one day weaving fabric. Not only for my designs and wardrobe, but also for others to be able to design, make, and create using this unique handwoven fabric to inspire some one-of-a-kind creations. Now that Bare Cloth yardage is finally for sale and ready to go home, I wanted to share some insights for working with handwoven cloth.


Below are my recommendations for working with this fabric to have the best experience and outcomes! 


Here are 10 things to keep in mind when making with Bare Cloth


1)First off... What do you have in mind? What I find astounding about this fabric is the same yardage can translate naturally into an elegant ankle-length skirt or a durable outdoor garment. So, what do you have in mind? With this fabric, you can choose to make something that you only wear once or twice a year for special occasions, and then wear it for years and years to come as that special event look. OR you can create a piece to wear continuously every season. Before diving into your making process, start thinking about how you want to use this fabric and how you want to live in it! 


2)Pressing and prep for cutting: I have this part covered for you! All Bare Cloth fabrics are finished, fulled, pre-shrunk, and pressed when they leave the studio. When your fabric arrives at your door, it's ready when you are to cut and start working!


3) What is the fabric like to work with? Currently, all Bare Cloth fabrics are a medium-weight thickness for wool. The specifics, Bare Cloth fabric is a 15 oz weight, making it a medium thickness. Because of the weight, this fabric does better with fewer curved seams or extra seams. Straight or slightly curved seams are ideal. I've noticed that sewing with the fabric is incredibly easy and approachable as the wool fibers naturally lock up with each other when sewing, thus I rarely need to use pins when sewing to secure two pattern pieces together. The only thing to be mindful of is to not stretch or add any tension to the fabric while sewing as this can change the final piece.

4) Projects best suited for Bare Cloth fabric: Bare Cloth is a woven fabric and is best suited for projects with minimal to no stretch required. Anything from skirts and dresses (either flowy or straight) or lightly tailored pieces like button-down shirts, less tailored jackets, or oversized coats; all of these are ideal! One thing about this fabric that I haven't found in similar wool weights is that garments like a button-down shirt aren't stiff, taking years to relax, after making. But instead from the get-go, this fabric has a natural look on the body and looks luscious while still being durable. This fabric also does well with interfacing (woven interfacing is a personal preference) for more tailored garments like blazers, elegant vests, or elevated outer coats.


5) TEST THE PATTERN:  I can feel the stubborn eye roll and scrunched unapproving faces from here! Hear me out... I want you to have something that you are going to LOVE and have for years. And I'm not kidding when I say this, I want you to wear this garment more than once!! 


My friends, if you have ever made a garment that didn't turn out 100% ideal, the fit was a little off, honestly now... how many times did you wear it? For me? My answer is usually once. I’ll wear it once and then it goes to the back of the closet for years as I feel too guilty to donate it or put it in recycling. Sadly, I have a section of my closet with only these garments!


So my friends, before cutting your final fabric, we get to do a test run of your pattern!  Let’s find some scrap fabric, potentially a similar weight as your final fabric, and make a test run of the pattern to make sure it fits, make alterations until it looks amazing, and that you feel oh-so epic and ready to cut your final fabric knowing that it will all work out!


6) Cutting fabric for pattern pieces or draping: This handwoven cloth does have a small amount of stretch along the weft grain (left to right, from selvage to selvage), it is helpful to keep in mind when cutting for a final garment or piece. When cutting out flat pattern pieces have the fabric lying flat without any tension on the line you are cutting. When working with a piece on a dress form allow the fabric to hang without tension when cutting. Whether cutting out a pattern or draping, this fabric can fray after cutting, thus serging or zigzagging the edges as soon as possible once the fabric is cut to drape or sew is ideal.


7) Choosing a seam type best suited for Bare Cloth: All seams of a piece should be finished when working with Bare Cloth fabric (unless being used for a personal aesthetic, then I trust ya to run with it!). For the longevity of a piece, serging or zig-zagging the seam allowance is best and easiest, plus then you can use a regular seam or whatever seam you are used to. Then, press the seam allowance and call it good! When finishing the edges of a piece be mindful not to stretch the fabric as that will alter the final look and potentially change the fit of the piece. Wanna try something new? I personally prefer a flat-felled or French seam with this fabric. 


8) Pressing, ironing, and steaming: I recommend pressing every seam for your garment or piece. If possible, right after each seam is sewn. With the weight of this fabric, feel free to add pressure and multiple ironings to get the flatness you like in the finished piece. 


NOTE: Putting a direct iron on any wool will change the textile texture and appearance to have a permanent sheen. Because of this, put a linen or cotton cloth between the iron and the wool you are ironing. I recommend only ironing the inside of the garment or piece so that you cannot see a seam allowance iron line on the outside of the fabric (this is also pretty general for all clothing construction). If you do need to iron the exterior side of a seam, please do so sparingly and lightly so that any internal seam allowance doesn't create a crease/iron line on the outside. 


9) For any skirts, or large pattern pieces cut on bias: LET THE BIAS HANG OUT. Let's just say that again, both for fun and for the dramarama... LET THE BIAS HANG OUT!! 


All woven fabrics have a bias where the fabric has more stretch. The bias is any part of the fabric that is at a 45-degree angle from an on-grain line (weft or warp lines, or the lines of the threads). What happens when a pattern piece is cut with a bias in it, for example, a more flowy skirt or a ruffle, is that the bias naturally will stretch as the garment hangs or is worn and part of the fabric will eventually elongate with the hem becoming irregular over time. If you have ever seen a skirt that has a few parts of the hem that are a little bit longer in some areas, and it’s not on purpose/a design feature? That was a garment where the bias wasn't allowed to hang out and the piece was finished without this very important step. 


When to hang out bias? Note what pattern pieces are cut on bias or include a lot of bias, once those pieces are sewn into the piece then it’s time. For example, I may sew an entire flowy skirt and get all of it done except the hem, this is when I would leave the skirt on the dress form or on a skirt hanger for three days. Then after three days you can lay the garment flat, and re-cut the hemline so that it is equal distance from either the waistband or the floor (you can also do this while wearing it if someone else is willing to do the measuring, make sure to have them measure from the floor to get a parallel hem). So detailed right... Well my friends, you deserve a break and a good snack because you just sat through a fashion lecture, look at you go! (But actually, there is one more thing before you go!)


10) It’s time to show off your piece!!! This is not the time for humility or shying away from the limelight… You just made an amazing piece with tons of effort and work invested and we gotta celebrate this!!! I hope you find every excuse to wear and enjoy your piece! Of course, I would love to see whatever you make. Just consider me your personal cheerleader cheering you on from the studio, and believing in you from afar!! As always, I’m just a message away with any questions or brainstorming!


So, with that... I think it’s either time to start cutting some fabric or… getting some fabric of your own! 


Check HERE to see if there is any Bare Cloth fabric available and in stock to bring home!


Be bold my friends! And have fun : )

-Keila

























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