Sunday, January 16, 2005

Step 6. Preparing the Fabric

A.  Pretreating the wool:

Since I am using a wool/lycra blend tweed, I steam it with my gravity feed iron and suction each section dry before moving onto the next.  It takes a while to do all the yardage I have (3 yards, 60 inches wide), but it is a mindless thing to do while watching TV or listening to a book on tape.

I want the wool/lycra tweed to be stable in the jacket, because I don't want any stretch of the fabric to distort the ribbon embellishment.  For that reason, it is necessary to fuse the entire jacket with Texture Weft, with the exception of the facing pieces, which will be fused with Ultraweft, and type of fusible interfacing similar to Armo Weft. The jacket will therefore be underlined with Texture Weft, interfaced with Ultraweft, and lined with silk charmeuse.

B.  Pretreating the Texture Weft and Ultraweft

I pretreat the Texture Weft and the Ultraweft by soaking the fabrics, one at a time, in a deep sink filled with warm water until the water cools, or 20 minutes, whichever is less.  Then, if the fusible is cool, I toss it quickly into the wash machine and spin it for less than a minute.  That takes most of the water out of it without damaging the fusible side. (I pretreat 15 yards of Texture Weft at a time, if I am using the narrower 29 inch product).

Note: Although I am often tempted to soak my fusible interfacings and underlinings directly in the wash machine, I don't.  I'm afraid that the amount of spinning that it will take to empty the tub of water will detach the fusible's glue from its fabric. (I have a top loading washer.)

Note:  I always pre-test any fusible used with my fashion fabric. This helps me to determine how it affects the hand of the fabric, and the best method to obtain a good fuse on that particular fabric.  Although I usually use the same fusing method, I may vary the amount of time that the iron is held on the fusible depending on the nature of the fusible and the fashion fabric.  Usually this amount of time does not vary more that a few seconds either way from my standard 12-second fuse.  I also may use a different type of presscloth, depending on how the moisture is applied to the garment.  Usually, though, I use my standard silk organza presscloth.

C. Pretreating the lining fabric 

The silk charmeuse lining fabric is pre-treated with the same steam method used for the wool: 

1.  Steam heavily, holding the iron just slightly above the fabric.

2.  Pat the fabric dry, or suction it dry if using a suction ironing board, before moving to the next section of fabric to be steamed and dried. 

Note: Sometimes silk charmeuse will water spot.  I always test the silk first by flicking a few drops of water onto it.  If it waterspots, I dip the entire piece of silk into a deep sink filled with cool water, roll it in a thick turkish towel, and then hang it to dry over a clothesline or shower rod.  Usually I have to repeat this process once or twice more to eliminate the waterspotting tendency completely.


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