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The UK’s Biggest Pattern House

Our Take On Great British Sewing Bee’s International Week

Get to know the fabrics

This week on the Great British Sewing Bee was International week, and the contestants worked with beautiful Chinese Brocade and African Ankara fabrics.

Brocade Fabrics

This is a woven fabric featuring a slightly raised or embossed floral and scroll design, which has been embellished with fine floating threads. Brocade should be matched horizontally and requires a nap layout. This sort of fabric tends to fray badly and also move around when sewing.

Sewing settings

Use a new 70 or 90 universal needle

Use tailor tacks and a chalk to transfer all pattern markings
Use a wide straight stitch between 1.75 to 3mm in length

Loose tension
Use fine weight pins at right angle to stop fabric slipping

Hand sewing needle sizes 5 to 10

Spray the cut edges with a spray like Prym Fray Check available from WeaverDee

Choose patterns like:

Simplicity 8086

Simplicity 8086

New Look 6203

New Look 6203

Simplicity 1183

Simplicity 1183

 

Wax Print Fabrics

Ankara is a really colourful medium-weight fabric that’s 100 per cent cotton. The patterns are created using a wax-resist dyeing technique. It’s extremely versatile for making dresses, skirts and jackets, and fairly easily to sew and should be treated as a cotton fabric.

Choose patterns like:

Simplicity 1417

simplicity 1417

Simplicity 1459

simplicity 1459

Simplicity 1080

Simplicity 1080

Get a pattern match

One of the worst mistakes when making garments with a patterned fabric is not to match the fabric along the seams.

Things to do to make sure that yours matches:

  • Allow for extra fabric than your pattern asks for to do all the matching.
  • Don’t cut out pieces together. Cut your first piece and use the edge of it to match with the fabric and second piece.
  • Make sure you line your pattern pieces with the grain line to make sure your garment drapes nicely. Every Simplicity pattern will have the grain line marked clearly on the pattern piece for easy placement.
  • It’s important to match up the bottom edges of cut length of fabric and always match patterns from the selvedge.