Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Thoughts on Fabric

all material contained here is by MVZ and the Great Coat Sewalong and may not be reproduced without permission.

One word: WOOL
There is nothing that tailors easier, there is nothing that is so responsive and fabulous to work with.
Again, if this is your first coat, you want to choose a fabric that will make it a fun and pleasurable experience.
I would suggest a tightly woven wool tweed or solid wool flannel in a coating weight, (these are sometimes brushed so that the surface appears to be a bit fuzzy - and might be labeled "brushed flannel" "brushed coating".)
Other specialty fibers that are classed as wool and are wonderful for coating fabrics are:
  • camels hair
  • vicuna (let us know if you a. find vicuna, and b. what the cost is!)
  • cashmere
A consideration when choosing fabric: 100% content of any of those fibers are going to be luscious but will also require underlining for support.
One of the coats (well, a coat so short it can be classed as a jacket) that I'm going to make for this sew-along is going to be of 100% cashmere. It is soft, and the fabric is a bit more fragile than most wool. By underlining it I'm going to protect it from some of the bagging out at the elbows and seat that could happen.

Fabrics that are blends will give the best characteristics of both fibers.
-A 50/50 blend of wool/cashmere is going to be soft, warm and lovely while strong and resilient and less susceptible to abrasion. See these fabrics that Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics has right now. (NAYY, I swear, it's just that she's got such a great selection and great pricing.)
-Many wool coating fabrics have 10% nylon content. This is again to add the strength of the nylon to the wool.
You may find coating wool that is "double woven". Both sides may be used as the right side, and in the case of double woven wools where there are two colors some really fun special effects are possible. Manhattan Fabrics has a fabulous assortment of double faced coating wools right now. Like this, and this.(I personally would save the two color double woven wools for a less structured, unlined reversible coat.)
Fashion Fabrics Club also has a wide selection of coating wool at comparable prices.
A search at Mood Fabrics for "coating Wool" returns 194 fabric selections but not all of them are coating fabrics, and not all of them are wool - so be selective in reading your online fabric descriptions, even after using the search function.

oh, I've been online browsing for coat fabrics and just found a true camels hair fabric at Textile Studios.

There are many other sources, and I suspect from reading the comments many of you sent when emailing me for the invite, that many will be shopping your stash.

I would not suggest a wool gabardine for a winter coat. Nor would I suggest wool gabardine for a first jacket project. It's a fabulous fabric, but it can be unforgiving to work with. IMO it's the most challenging of all the wool weaves to work with.

Next week: a discussion of underlinings, interlinings, and support fabrics.


Digs said...

I'm curious what sorts of fabrics the other participants have, or will have, chosen for their coats. Mine has been waiting for my attention since late last fall; it's a pure cashmere from Michael's, in a warm coral colour. I have 3.1 m (3.4 yds) of it. I haven't done anything to it yet, but I suppose I'll have to steam or London shrink it?

Linda said...

Hi Marji,
Can you talk about lining fabric too? I think I want something substantive, heavier than China silk - Bemberg? Thank you for your help in this.

Nneka said...

Denver Fabrics has some 100% cashmere for $49.95/yd and tons of other wool coatings including some from the Burberry workrooms. NAYY.

Weaveron Textile said...

i love fabric....
click it...: