Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Simplicity 2188 Sew-Along - part 1

It's the first day of our sew along!  Are you as excited as I am?  The steps will be broken up over several posts so that I can be as detailed as possible.   First off, we'll cover fabric selection and sizing. 

Fabric Selection
If you take a peek at the back of the pattern envelope, you'll see some suggestions for fabric.

Most of the fabrics listed, other than matte jersey, are woven fabrics.  I would strongly encourage you to use a woven rather than a knit fabric for this project.  What's the difference between a knit and a woven, you ask? *puts on fiber and textiles hat*

In woven fabrics, the threads (or, yarns, as they are called in the textile industry) are interlaced at right angles, like so:
Did you ever weave paper strips together in art class to make place mats (over, under, over, under)?  That's the basic idea behind woven fabric.  There are other types of weaves, but we don't need to get into that at the moment.  If you look very closely at your fabric, you can see how the threads are interlaced.

In knit fabrics, the threads/yarns form interlocking loops, like so:
Again, if you look closely at a piece of knit fabric, you can see all of the little loopy loops.  Most knits are stretchy and kind of slinky.  There are some knit fabrics that do not stretch, but that's another discussion for another day. *removes fiber and textiles hat*

In addition to fabric, you will also need thread and about half a yard of fusible interfacing.  Interfacing is a lightweight material used to give more body and stiffness to certain parts of a garment, in this case, the neck facings (we'll get more into what the heck neck facings are in future steps.  I know this part was giving people some trouble).  It looks a little something like this:
 It typically comes in white and black (maybe other colors as well?), fusible and non-fusible, several weights, and there's even a type of knit interfacing.  You'll want to stick with lightweight and fusible for this project.  The little white dots (you can see them if you look closely at the black interfacing) are a heat activated adhesive.  I skipped the interfacing the first time I sewed up this top, but will be using it this time around just to show how it's done. If you have any trouble finding what you need at the fabric store, just ask one of the employees.  They're there to help you!

One final suggestion.  If this is your first sewing project using a pattern, don't buy fabric with a striped or plaid design.  A solid color or an all over print are your best bet if you are a beginner.

Take another peek at the back of the pattern envelope, and you'll find a handy size chart.  Because we're making a top (view A), use your bust measurement to determine what size you need to cut out.  
My bust measures 38", which translates to a size 16, or a medium in this case.  According to the envelope, I need 1.75 yards of 45" wide fabric (check the end of the bolt when you buy, it'll say whether it's 44"/45" or 60" fabric).  I always like to buy a little extra to allow for shrinkage, wonky pattern layouts, mistakes, any number of reasons.  It's a good idea to wash and dry your fabric before we move on to the next step.  Some people skip this, but I'm old school.

That wraps up the first post!  No, we haven't actually sewn or even cut into any fabric yet.  There are several little steps that need to be considered before doing either of those things.  It may seem painstaking at first, but goes much faster once you start working on more projects.  I promise!


  1. thank you so much for starting this, i think it is going to be a tremendous help! my first question is, is interfacing necessary to purchase and add to the neck piece, or would it be okay to skip that step?

  2. You're so welcome! The interfacing on this blouse is not essential. I made the first one without it. I just wanted to include it in the sew-along to show how it's used.