Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Gertie's Wrap Top Sew-along: Progress Report

Step #1:  Supplies
✄  I found some left over blue thread in my stash.  
✄  And there is no need to worry about serger thread since this is a self-lined wrap top. Sweet!

Ready to sew the ties right after I investigate this stretch issue.  

Step #2:  Ties and Stretch
✄  I didn't make any changes to the tie pattern piece only because I was limited by my fabric yardage. But I'm certainly glad that Gertie wrote this post and stated that, "[i]t happens that there's a discrepancy in the length of the warp ties on the pattern and the sample." 
✄  She also discussed the amount and directional stretch that knit fabrics offer. And that if you're fabric has a four-way (length and width-wise stretch) the ties will have wrap around the body further.  
✄  There was also a tug and pull (bad pun, forgive me it is pre-coffee writing) discussion in the comment section over the use of one vs. two way stretch or is it two vs four way stretch. I do believe it was laid to rest as a previous years vs. modern terminology. The geek in me started thinking about previous archaeological digs at the lower level of Mitchell Fabrics.  

And then I sat down with a few of my sewing books with this distraction. It might take me awhile to get this top done even though I am planning on wearing it as part of my Christmas Eve outfit. Like I was saying, I started to think about those vintage knits found in the basement of Mitchell Fabrics that have hardly any stretch. But yet it is called a knit from by-gone days. I do recall that many of these fabrics were listed with a fibre content of acrylic and came in some funky prints. They don't make fabric like that anymore. Thank goodness (although some of those prints are quite fun). So could these be those knits that were referred to as one-way stretch?

The first book I was distracted by was Sew A Fine Seam by Violet I. Wilson, circa 1955. Even though Wilson outlined in great detail the difference between circular knit and flat knitting fabric along with variations, there was no mention of directional stretch. There was one strong statement that stood out regarding stretchy jersey fabrics.
Sleazy, stretchy jersey fabrics are most unsatisfactory in every way. They are difficult to sew, cling to the body and do not keep their shape. Unless the style chosen has considerable fullness, it is best to line the skirt with a firm, light weight taffeta.  This is a good procedure for any wool fabric dress or skirt and is practiced by all good custom dressmaker, tailors and high-priced manufacturers (Wilson, 34).  

Sleazy, stretchy jersey fabrics?


Sleazy as in "thin or poor in texture, as a fabric; cheap; flimsy," I'm sure. I hope. Hmmm, wonder what Ms. Violet I. Wilson thinks about the current fabrics used to make ready-to-wear? Well, needless to say, I'm still going to make a sleazy top for Christmas. Now back to this stretch thing that has been taking me away from my sewing

Next up, I blew the dust off my Vogue Sewing book, circa 1980. Knits certainly have changed since Wilson wrote her book. Jerseys are paired with the adjective "soft" rather than "sleazy." Amazing what a couple decades and new technologies can do to change the perception of knit fabrics. Vogue Sewing contains information about stable, stretchable, and two-way stretchable knits. No mention of four-way stretch fabrics.

Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, circa 1978, didn't have any mention of two or four-way knits. Instead, it categorized knits as slight, moderate, or super stretch and outlined the importance of testing a knit on a gauge typically found on pattern envelopes to determine if a knit is suitable for a particular style.

I did however find a definition that uses the terms two and four-way stretch. Any surprise that it is a recently published sewing book? The Sewtionary:  An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions by Tasia St. Germaine of Sewaholic, circa 2014.
Knit fabrics may stretch in one direction, across the width (two-way stretch) or stretch both across the width and length of the fabric (four-way stretch).

Back darts, why?  

So there you have it. Definitions and language change just like knit fabrics have over time. Now, if most current knit fabrics allow for closer-fit garments without taffeta and elaborate design details, why would Gertie put back darts into this pattern?

Happy Sewing!

1 comment:

  1. Darts: I cut out (but never sewed) Burda 7107. Also a fitted wrap top with front and back darts. Maybe there's something to it with getting a better fit, even in a sleazy jersey??

    Secondly, that was hilarious!! That jersey is not to be trusted!!! :) I usually just say "lengthwise and crosswise stretch" vs 1/2 or 2/4 stretch


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