Friday, April 6, 2012

Sew Colette: Let's Talk Taffy Fabrics

The Taffy Blouse is an essentially simple garment with only 3 pattern pieces; however, it is cut on the bias and uses both French seams and bias binding as finishes, which can seem a little intimidating.  For this project, choosing the correct fabric is essential for a successful outcome.  Sarai has designed this beautiful blouse to accentuate our curves and femininity and she recommends 'chiffon, georgette, lawn, or silk charmeuse' as good choices for this project.  I would also recommend rayon challis as another option.

While making the Truffle dress, we learned how different fabric types can change the outcome of a garment.  We examined soft and flowing fabrics  versus crisp and tailored and we could easily see on all the lovely finished Truffles how individual fabric choice made each dress very different. For my Taffy, I will be using a beautiful floral poly-chiffon.  It is semi-sheer and has a lovely drape and I plan on accenting it with cream bias tape.

My Taffy blouse fabric.

"Chiffon is made from cotton, silk or synthetic fibres.  Under a magnifying glass it resembles a fine net or mesh which gives chiffon some see-through properties.  Chiffon is most commonly used in evening wear, especially as an overlay, for giving an elegant and floating appearance to the gown. It is also a popular fabric used in blouses, ribbons, scarves and lingerie. Like other crêpe fabrics, chiffon can be difficult to work with because of its light and slippery texture. Due to this delicate nature, chiffon must be hand washed very gently."  (source


"Georgette is a sheer, lightweight, dull-finished crêpe fabric named after the early 20th century French modiste, Georgette de la Plante. Originally made of silk and later of rayon or blends, modern georgette is often made of synthetic filament yarns. Georgette is plain or tabby woven, and like other crêpes is made with highly twisted yarns. Georgette is made in solid colors or prints, and is used for blouses, dresses, evening gowns, and trimmings.  It is springier and less lustrous than the closely related chiffon." (source 

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

"Lawn cloth or lawn is a plain weave textile, originally of linen but now chiefly cotton. Lawn is designed using fine, high count yarns, which results in a silky, untextured feel. The fabric is made using either combed or carded yarns. Lawn is a lightweight, sheer cloth, crisper than voile but not as crisp as organdy. Lawn is known for its semi-transparency, which can range from gauzy or sheer to an almost opaque effect, known as lining or utility lawn" (source)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

"Charmeuse is a lightweight fabric [where the] front side of the fabric has a satin finish - lustrous and reflective - whereas the back has a dull finish. It can be made of silk or a synthetic lookalike such as polyester. Silk charmeuse is more expensive and delicate but is softer and a better insulator. Polyester charmeuse is cheaper and can often withstand machine washing, but it does not breathe as well as silk. The luster and delicate hand make charmeuse suited to lingerie, flowing evening gowns, and drapey blouses. It is best suited to a more fluid, slinky bias cut." (source)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Rayon Challis
"Rayon is produced from cellulose, and while it is neither entirely natural nor entirely synthetic, it does behave very much like a natural fiber. It often appears as a lustrous fabric similar to silk.  It is wonderful for keeping cool in hot weather." - Sarai Mitnick, The Colette Sewing Handbook. 

Sarai recently wrote a terrific post on avoiding common fabric problems, which I highly recommend.  I'll be reviewing Chapter 5, A Beautiful Fabric, in the handbook as a refresher prior to diving in to making my muslin. 

Tomorrow we'll be chatting about preparation and sewing techniques for these fabrics.  See you then!

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Have questions? Please feel free to post here, in Erin's blog, or in the sew-along Flickr group.
We're here to help!


Miss Crayola Creepy said...

Your top is going to be so cute in that fabric. And this is such an informative post!

Rochelle New said...

Great post! I really want to find a lighter swiss dot fabric for mine. We'll see I suppose!