Converting Patterns to Work With Cottons

Converting Patterns to Work With Cottons

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  • This topic has 2 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 8 years, 1 month ago by the_professors_assistant.
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  • #9695
    the_professors_assistant
    Keymaster

    I love sewing with cottons, but the newer patterns aren’t being made for cottons. Is there a way to adjust a pattern to accommodate the ease required for a good fit in cutting synthetic patterns from cotton fabrics?

    #9696
    the_professors_assistant
    Keymaster

    I’m with you.  If I can sew everything with fleece or cotton, I would be the happiest person in the world.  They’re just so easy to work with.  And with some of the patterns you could probably get away with substituting cotton without having to worry about ease or doing any changes to the pattern.  What I look for in the suggested fabrics is stretch factor.  If they’re suggesting fabrics that have little to no stretch, then great, you can use a cotton no problem.  If they’re suggesting silky type fabrics, then just be aware that the garment is not going to have the same draping effect with cotton, but there’s no reason you can’t use a cotton if you really want to.  Now if you’re looking at a tank top pattern that is only suggesting knits, in that case I would stay away from substituting cotton.  They’re purposely designing their pattern for stretchy fabric.  Adding extra fabric to make up for the stretchiness provided by knits is probably going to end up just not looking right.  And if it’s close fitting garment, then you’ll need to add a fastener, like a zipper or something.  I personally don’t think it’s worth all the hassle. Do check out our tutorial on working with silks and silkies though, if you ever have to desire to try working with them.

    #9697
    the_professors_assistant
    Keymaster

    This isn’t an exact science so you’ll have to experiment but here’s 1 way to try to substitute cottons for knits. On the back of pattern envelopes that are specifically for stretch and knit fabrics, you’ll see a measuring line where they say “Pick a Knit Rule”. It usually shows about 4 inches in white and part in another color. The “Pick a Knit Rule” works like this:   For knits, take a length of the knit fabric you’re interested in (a pieice that is as long as the white part) and stretch it against the measurement line. It should stretch at least to the end of the colored line. If it doesn’t stretch at least that far, then the knit is not stretchy enough for the pattern so you will need more fabric or pick something else that that meets the pattern’s needs. Different patterns will have different stretchiness requirements so make sure you use the “Pick a Knit Rule” on the pattern you’re buying fabric for. For cottons and fabrics with little or no stretch, do the same measuring noting the difference you need for the stretch.  You also need to look at your pattern to see where the fit is going to be really important (fitted waist) vs drape of the skirt.  For the fitted parts, you will need a proportionate amount of extra fabric fabric based on your measurements.  For the drape, you’ll need decide how much drape you want and add that much more.  It could be as little as a quarter more to 1/2 depending on the “stretch” the pattern is designed for (lycra vs knit). It’s not impossible but I’d suggest getting some super cheap cotton fabric or muslin to make sure you get the proportions that you want before making your finished garment.  In either case, you’ll get an extra garment you may wind up loving too.  (Dye the mulin and/or embellish it with fabric paint, trim, etc to make it more wearable). You might also consider expanding your world.  Choose a cheap knit fabric using the “Pick a Knit Rule” and go for it.

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