"The Fabric" - Garment Construction Part 2 of 5

This Summary series is meant to be a quick informative read that will display a breakdown of various fabrics that are used or currently being created within the fashion industry.

Transparent Fabrics -

Transparent Fabrics allow seams facings hems and construction to show through to the outside of a garment. Crisper transparent fabrics such as organza are easier to cut and sew than the softer transparent such as chiffon and georgette. Also the heavier the transparent is the easier it is to construct into a garment. Difficult fabrics easily distort when cutting and sewing. To help avoid this lay the fabric on the cutting table to rest overnight roll it out flat on tissue paper with no overhang then pin the fabric to the paper and carefully cut out the pattern pieces. The tissue can be left on the pieces while they are sewn together and then carefully ripped off after construction. The seams used can affect the drape and structure of the garment so try testing different types of seams first to see what works best. Very light transparent fabrics are often french seamed. As the seams can be seen from the outside, this type of construction is very desirable. The selvedge of the fabric can be successfully used as a finish of a seam.

Darts can be very hard to achieve successfully maybe consider how seams can be placed to avoid darts. Leave garments to hang before hemming them to allow the fabric to drop the hem can then be measured from the floor up trimmed and sewn. Iron transparent fabrics at a lower temperature then heavier fabrics made from the same fibers.

Fully fashioned knit -

Knitted fabric that is not cut into pattern pieces must instead be fashioned or shaped into paternities pieces through increasing and decreasing stitches. Fully fashioned shaping can also create a decorative feature at the seams. Slight increases and decreases can be created by changing the stitch tension row by row by changing the stitch tension row by row, by changing the thickness of the yarn or by changing the type of stitch. A ribbed edge is a good example of this ribbed panels can be placed at the waist or wrist to bring the garment in to fit.

In order to work out a pattern for a knitted garment you must first knit a tension swatch. Knit a 15 cm square of knitting finish it in the way the garment would be finished, for example washed or pinned out and steamed, but be careful not to overstretch the sample while you do this. When the sample is dry and relaxed, measure the number of rows (vertically) and stitches (horizontally) in a 10 cm square section in the middle of the swatch. In certain swatches you may have hidden some of the stitches in tucks or slip-stitch structures, this should be taken into consideration.

Measurements of centre-back length cuffs and sleeve length are taken either from a person from a garment that already exists or from a jersey toile. Now work out how many stitches need to be knitted to create the required pattern pieces for the garment shape. Trims such as collars, cuffs and waistbands will all have to be knitted also.

Once fashioned pieces have been knitted they may need to be blocked before constructing together as they may have lost their shape while on the machine. Chunky fabrics and ribs do not need to be blocked. Blocking involves placing the knitted piece face down onto a padded stiff backing straightening the knit and checking the measurement . The knitted piece then requires careful steaming. Do not put the iron in direct contact with the knit as this may flatten stitches. Let the piece cool down completely before removing it from the backing. Fully fashioned knitwear can be sewn together by hand using a variety of stitches including back, blanket overlock or zigzag stitch on a sewing machine which allows for more stretch than a normal straight stitch. Make sure you use a roller foot or cover the foot with tape so it does not get caught in the knit stitches if using a sewing machine. There should be as much stretch at the seams as there is in the rest of the garment. Pin the pieces together first so they do not overstretch you can use the same yarn that the garment is made in so the stitches do not show. Use a blunt thick needle when hand sewing so that the yarn in the knit stitches is not split.

Hand or electric linkers are also used for knitwear construction where the knitted pieces are pushed onto a ring of needles and a chain stitch links the fabrics together.

All photos captured by Jason Turner of YSYM FILMS

Article reference - Textiles , The Textile reader, The Textiles


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