Thursday, June 28, 2012

Upholstery Fabric as Fashion Fabric

So after about 6 months of on-and-off working on this fall jacket I finally found fabric I wanted for it! 

I had a chance to stop by Textile Discount Outlet again on Tuesday in Pilsen (dummy me had gotten zippers that were just slightly too short for the mix 'n' match dress measurements, but I was feeling absolutely awful the day I picked up zippers.) If you're in the Chicago area and looking for cheap fabric, it's highly recommended you check this place out.

Wandering around almost-aimlessly, and not expecting to find my fabric there for that jacket at all, I wandered into the upholstery fabric section. I did find a bunch of beautiful, ornate brocades but none that would really work with these knitted pieces that I made, according to the jacket design from a 70s craft book.

Thinking back, I perhaps should have used a solid color for these since it would have made my fabric decision a lot easier but then... ta da! I found it!

Perhaps yes, the fabric is a bit couch-ish looking, but in my mind the fabric looks like a European version of the Native American Pendleton wool coats I've been seeing around all last winter. This fabric has quite a large design as contrasted to the knitted pieces I've placed over the edge. I will say that you do have to be careful with upholstery fabrics as they can be quite stiff, but this one felt like fashion fabric for a jacket. The mustard-y brown fabric is the inside lining which I have to make patterns for.

Oddly, this craft book doesn't say to create a self-lining with pieces you have, but I suppose that would be too complicated for an intermediate crafter, seeing as how you would need to account for the knitted piece in lining pattern, but it isn't too difficult.

Some simple tips to keep in mind for upholstery fabric as fashion fabric:
  • Pattern size vs Human form: How large is the pattern? How will it look on somoene? This is important because you really don't want to be walking around looking like a couch. (Although, I am taking a risk with this fabric. But that's what fashion is about!) I suggest walking over to a mirror and observing how it moves.
  • Fabric thickness: How thick is the fabric? Does it hang well or is it tough to fold over? Is it TOO thick? Think about wool jackets you actually own. Use the thickness of fabric in those jackets to determine if the upholstery fabric is close to the way that fabric feels. 
  • Design considerations: What is the design of your jacket? Does it have lots of seams, gathers, pleats, or is it relatively simple? Simpler jackets can use slightly stiffer fabrics, but think of how it will be to sew and work with this fabric vs your design. 
As always, using upholstery fabric is a risk but if you don't take risks, discover new, potentially amazing things. 

For a better visualization of the outcome of this jacket, observe a photo I found:

Apparently the photos I scanned for the actual 70s jacket pattern I'm using are not working anymore on the blog, so I can't link to the photos in the book. I have no idea what happened. I think blogger may have eaten the photos somehow.

I have some more Holga photos to post soon as well as fun photos of my first go-through of the simple, but super-fun mix 'n' match dress!

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