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I need help choosing fabric
for a pencil skirt
JennaF
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JennaF
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Date: 8/13/13 11:34 AM

Should be simple enough. I want to make a purple pencil skirt. Like, deep purple. Anyway, I was wondering if I could get some insight on my possibilities.

There's a 100% Wool Gabardine or Crepe Suiting which is 98% Rayon 1% Lycra. I woldn't mind a little stretch.

Are there pros/cons to each? The wool would require a bit of special care, right?

I plan on lining the skirt, if it makes a difference.

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JKimes
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JKimes  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/13/13 12:01 PM

The wool gabardine will be more stable and easier to work with. I hand wash wools in a dishpan with some baby shampoo, squeeze (don't ring) when rinsing, then roll in a towel and squeeze out the excess water, lay flat to dry.
Rayon by nature is prone to grow, but will have more drape. The lycra will help with recovery somewhat. Some rayons do fine with machine washing, some don't, so it may or may not be easier to care for than the wool.
Rayon is also a 'wiggly' fabric and can be hard to get the grainline right for cutting out.
Finally, wool is far more cooperative when being pressed, especially if you need to do any shaping.

Good luck!
Juliette

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Juliette near Austin, TX
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PattyE
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In reply to JennaF <<


Date: 8/13/13 4:24 PM

I like the wool gabardine.
If you like the look of crepe you could consider a silk crepe.

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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Date: 8/14/13 12:13 PM

I bought several yards of this fabric, an easy-care wool/poly blend. It's beautiful, but maybe a little more brown than you want in the purple...?

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Nancy K
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In reply to JennaF <<
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Date: 8/14/13 12:20 PM

Wool gabardine is a good choice but it should be lined. It also requires careful pressing so that you don't get shiny patches on the right side. Either press from the wrong side or use a press cloth on the outside. I like silk organza; you can see the details. You should press all seams either with brown paper strips underneath the edges or over a seam roll so that the seam edges don't impress. I use a length of wood banister. It's longer than a seam roll and the hard wood helps press a flat seam. I don't have mine covered by you can cover it with muslin or wool felt. The curve prevents the edges of the seam allowance from being pressed into the outer fabric. Sometimes it's hard to get a good flat press, in which case use a paint brush to put water just on the seam.
Wool crepe is a wonderful fabric to sew with. It's got a lovely drape and wrinkles less than harder surfaced woolens, such as gabardine. You can find some lovely woolens with lycra at Mood and Emmaonesock. But, if you choose one with lycra you will want to use a stretch lining. The only ones readily available are either silk or polyester. Personally I hate polyester linings. They are hard to work with and hot to wear.
-- Edited on 8/14/13 12:22 PM --
-- Edited on 8/14/13 12:24 PM --

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diane s
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diane s  Friend of PR
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Date: 8/14/13 1:08 PM

Exactly what Nancy says, wool gabardine can be ruined by pressing incorrectly. When I took my first tailoring class, wool gabardine wasn't allowed because it's so unforgiving.

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gaylee1949
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Date: 8/14/13 7:01 PM

I thought rayon shrinks with washing, not gets bigger?

Gail D.

stirwatersblue
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stirwatersblue
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In reply to gaylee1949 <<


Date: 8/14/13 8:02 PM

Gail, certain types of rayon can stretch while you wear them. I think it's due to the weight of the fiber, which is pretty significant, combined with its extreme drapiness. So the concern here is that too much rayon in a pencil skirt might cause it to look baggy in certain areas, like the seat. (Or that pants might, as my mom would always say, "get knees.")

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~Gem in the prairie

moushka

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In reply to JennaF <<


Date: 8/14/13 9:14 PM

I would always choose a natural fabric over a synthetic, even though rayon is made from cellulose. Rayon doesn't behave as well as wool, although it has more drape, and there are huge variations in performance depending on the manufacturer. If you do use the rayon, test it extensively before cut out your skirt to eliminate nasty surprises later. Rayon also requires care in pressing and don't use too hot an iron.

Ditto everything said about pressing the gabardine. If you haven't sewn with gabardine before, you might consider a wool crepe, as long as you are lining it anyway. Crepe is more forgiving than gabardine, although it does require similar care in pressing. Sandra Betzina has a good book on fabrics you might find at the library. HTH.

nancy2001
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In reply to JennaF <<


Date: 8/15/13 8:17 AM

Jenna, here's another purple crepe from FFC you might want to consider. It's 80% wool, 20% rayon, and the price is right. In my opinion, it's the best alternative of the three

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