Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Polyester challenge and a Ric-Rac-Ric-Rac update

Good morning! It is a beautiful tuesday, the sun is shining, there is a nice cool breeze and the temperature looks like it is not going to get any where near where it was on Sunday! (Sewing day) Sew, I did NOT! The comments have trickled in and I still have a tie. I have two comments on the blog, one for the green and one for the yellow. I did receive two votes from Facebook friends as well, one for green and one for yellow.  ( I did have one friend vote for hot pink on Facebook as well, although, that was not one of the options) Unfortunately, the perfect pink is not available..I can however, reprint the fabric in the future and correct the pink if I want to remake more. Maybe design my own pattern and have kits available. What do you think?

Why not just go find hot pink? I prefer to use 100% cotton ric-rac. It is softer and easier to work with than a polyester blend.

I am not a big fan of polyester anything. While there are some beautiful fabrics out there (sometimes I can't resist a beautiful fabric) However, I don't especially like sewing on it or wearing it. It is slippery, doesn't breathe well and because it is synthetic it carries its own charge. So it clings to things you don't want it to, like your legs (skirts or pants) or a wall (draperies).

I recall several occasions working in drapery workrooms where designers had specified wall to wall draperies. Many times the yardage required was substantial, 70 yards and upwards! An inexpensive fabric was often times used to minimize an already expensive endeavor. (Designers are actually a cost conscious bunch!) What was often specified? -A polyester!  I could see the scenario coming at the measure, so I learned to ask fiber content for my estimates as well.

The draperies were made, they were beautiful, until they were installed and the bottoms of them all wanted to flare out, lay flat and hug the wall due to the resistance to itself. It would NOT ever hold a crease all the way to the bottom.

In an effort for the designer to save money on large quantities of yardage,  more expense was incurred, as a more suitable, more expensive fabric had to be ordered in addition to the vast amounts of yardage that were originally used, plus twice the labor!

Knowledge of fiber will save a great deal of frustration when sewing on challenging fabrics. If it is a beautiful fabric, you can meditate and prepare yourself with all the patience you can muster to have a pleasant journey and a beautifully finished product.

Potential options for sewing draperies with a polyester fabric happens in the design stage,  compensate for the fabric behavior, use a bead weight hem rather than the double 4" which is typically standard practice.
A bead weight hem in cotton
No crinoline or buckram header, polyester sheer- sparkly! :)
 A less structured header, maybe with no crinoline or buckram can be an interesting look. Because the hems will be unstructured, design the tops unstructured as well.  The finished drapery isn't as structured as those vintage custom sheers from the '50's through the '70's.  And not all polyesters are created equal! You will typically pay a great deal more for one that holds its pleats. The textures and colors are also more limited. (whites and creams) Cotton sheers will hold a pleat beautifully and silk sheers, while they will be absolutely gorgeous, expect them to rot off your windows before 2 years is up! Not worth the expense. Silk and sunlight are never a good combo... 

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