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Fabric Addiction: - don't judge me, it's a thing!

Updated: Dec 6, 2020

Who does not like running their hands over luscious fabric?! If you're shopping for a sofa, a new dress, curtains or anything made of fabric, the feel, print and weave is going to influence your decision to buy. I think it's safe to say that every person I have worked with in fashion has had an (even slight) addiction to fabric! But hear me out... I may stash fabric like a magpie, however, you never know when it will come in handy. There was a (very small) piece of fabric which I have had for more years than I care to remember, but when my daughter wanted a new teddy made, that happened to be the perfect fabric for the job!

A close friend recently visited a fabric warehouse in South Africa, one which I used to frequent myself, and the vibrancy of prints and selection they had...! Well, I spent at least two days figuring out how I could get my hands on some of it! She was looking for fabric to decorate a room in her house. She does not work in fashion or dressmaking, but she was so excited at the wide selection that she was sending me voice notes telling me what she saw, and walked out of the shop with a few more meters of fabric than planned, which she will now have to find a purpose for (...I can probably help her with that!)

Ah, so you feel the same way then?

You must admit that there are items of clothing that you prefer over others. Yes of course it is the cut and fit, but in order to get there, the right fabric had to be selected. Fabric technology is advancing as fast as mobile phones. Remember when reversible sequins hit the market? What a clever idea, however, we've had sequins around for centuries. Some were found in Tutankhamun's tomb although his were made from gold not plastic. Small flat disks of gold with holes through the centre were found scattered around the burial site and some were sewn into shapes of flowers on his ceremonial robe. I love the rich history of how fabrics were developed in different parts of the world, created by what fibres were available to weave or knit together. There is always a purpose to the fabric; was it to be functional, decorative or show hierarchy?

Warp and Weft:

Fabric is either woven or knitted. In woven or non-stretch fabric, there are threads of yarn woven across and along the length. The weft is the yarn running across the width and the warp is the yarn running down the length. More modern woven fabric is often woven with spandex to give a bit of ease and added comfort. There could also be "mechanical stretch" added to woven cloths where the yarns are twisted so they have eased when stretched out.

Knitted or jersey fabrics are usually stretchy due to the yarn forming a loop when knitted. These fabrics are often used for things like leggings, t-shirts, tube dresses. These are commonly used for lounge wear, sports wear, casual wear and more often fast fashion, where clothing can be tight but comfortable.

Knit Ideas Together:

It was almost five years ago when I had in mind to open a fabric shop. I looked into it at the time, but all the information and advice I found was negative. Fabric shops, like many others, have all but become obsolete. It is not financially viable to buy and store rolls upon rolls of fabrics but only sell one meter of it a day. I could see how this would be futile and abandoned the thought. However the idea did not leave me but in fact developed into more than a fabric shop. It has become a way of inspiring others, giving them advice and the ability to make, mend and customise their wardrobe. One of the positive things that covid has lead many of us to do, is to be more creative, so sewing machines have seen the light of day again and online fabrics and sewing kits have been selling well. One day I will get there. One day I will have those rolls and rolls of fabrics that customers can actually run their hands over and dream up uses for. But it will be a complete package, the fabric, the skills, patterns and machines, and off course the mandatory online shop. Let's do it, fingers crossed..!

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