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Short of fabric

proegge | Posted in General Discussion on

I have been poking around on several sewing sites, and I saw a link to a tip, but didn’t click on it at the time, and now I can’t remember where I saw it.  I am hoping someone can help me.  It was what to do when you run short of fabric for a garment you are in the process of cutting out.

Does anybody have any ideas or tips of their own?


  1. cynthia2 | | #1

    Hi Paula.  I don't know of the article you're referring to, but I'm sure that many of our friends on this site could offer some advice.  What are you working on?  It would be helpful to know which pieces you've already cut out and which remain.  Best, Cynthia

    1. proegge | | #4

      I haven't actually cut it out yet, thank god.  The main thing is a pair of pants from a Claire Schaffer Vogue pattern.   I am making them out of a beautiful piece of cashmere I purchased in Paris.  I want to make them for the Make It Yourself With Wool contest this fall. It would be a problem, except I just found out that adults have to enter either a dress or an ensemble (at least 2 pieces), so I am trying to figure out how to get something else out of the little bit of fabric I will have left after cutting out the pants.

      It is Vogue 8156.  The cashmere was very expensive, so I bought JUST enough for the pants,  buying less than the pattern called for even because I am short and was able to take 1 1/2 inches off the length.  If I cut it like the layout on the pattern I would have two fairly decent sized pieces left between the pant pieces, and the fabric is wider than 60".  But I think if I fold it differently, I could end up with one larger piece left (Maybe-haven't tried yet).  I'm just still not sure what to do with it-it still won't be enough to make any garment out of.  I am considering Vogue 8299 or something similar and using it as a contrast collar, or I really like Vogue 8122 View C, but am not sure how to use it there as I don't think what I have left would be big enough as a contrast on the piece that flaps over. 

      The other problem I run into is trying to find a wool that will complement the cashmere-color's not the problem-feel and texture is.


      Thanks for any help you can give me!Paula

      1. user-51823 | | #5

        when you find a source for some coordinating wool, you could make a jacket (i'm picturing an easy bolero to show off the shape and details in the pants). use your scraps for either appliqued detail, or as facings. for eg, if the pants are black, a tan jacket with button-back front facings and pocket welts.edit to add: i just saw the rest of your post and looked up that first jacket: i Love that pattern! just what i was thinking of, the long or short view.
        growing old is inevitable. acting old is optional.

        Edited 7/11/2007 4:53 pm ET by msm-s

      2. cynthia2 | | #8

        Hi Paula. Great news that you haven't actually cut anything out yet. That leaves a lot more options. I love all of the patterns you've suggested. Omitting the cuffs on the pants would save a few more inches of fabric and would probably be a good idea anyway if you're under 5'6" tall.I love idea of using a coordinating fabric for the jacket and featuring the pant fabric on a turned back collar. That would be stunning. I like the shorter jacket pattern with those pants. The longer jacket will hide the beautiful yoke and back pocket.You could also switch from pants to a skirt, which would use less fabric. Something a-line with some clever pleating would be great.You might try Fishman's Fabrics in Chicago for a coordinating cashmere. If you send them a small swatch of your current cashmere, they may be able to match the feel. As you say, color won't be a problem but I know what you mean about the feel. There's nothing like the feel of a real great cashmere. Lesser cashmere may look the same, but they don't have the softness or drape of a fine cashmere.I'm so envious that the fabric came from Paris. With the current exchange rate on the US dollar, I can imagine this cost a pretty penny. Can't wait to see the finished outfit. Please post photos when it's done and good luck with the contest! Best Cynthia

        1. proegge | | #9


          THANK YOU!  I have emailed Fishman's about matching my fabric.  I can't wait to hear back from them!  I live in the middle of nowhere (Kansas), so I had no idea where to go to get a good cashmere.

          I agree that the short jacket is probably the way to go.  I really like the cape on the other pattern, but I will just have to make that some other time!  I am also considering covered buttons on the jacket as another way to showcase my fabric.

          And yes, the Paris cashmere did cost quite a bit-I will NEVER tell my husband how much!  We will be going back in 2 years, I am hoping the exchange rate will have improved by then.  Although if that is the case he may not even let me near the fabric stores.

          Thanks again


          1. B | | #13

            Another well regarded wool source is MichaelsFabrics.com (NAYY).  They are very nice and helpful and it might be worth sending them a swatch and seeing what they have to suggest.  They have lots of wool and some cashmere.  Prices are fair but high  except for their fantastic sales of Italian designer fabrics, etc., but their quality is great.   (They were  so well regarded by some Sewing World (now defunct) members  that they collected money and gave them Christmas presents!)  I hadn't purchased anything there at that time and didn't think I could afford anything. 

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    There was an article in Threads about that subject. I'll look it up tomorrow, but what I remember right now had to do with re-designing wide pieces to allow for over lapping and make it look like you wanted it that way!

    It's past my bed time so ... see ya in the morning


    PS couldn't sleep till I found it!  #122 Dec 2005 THREADS page54

    Edited 7/10/2007 9:57 pm ET by Becky-book

    1. Pattiann42 | | #6

      Don't you just hate it when your mind won't "go to sleep".  I stopped "forum reading and writing" in the evening, so I could get to sleep....there is always something staying with me after I log-off!  

      If others have the same problem and solutions, let's start a new thread and leave this one "short of fabric and long on good advice"!


      1. proegge | | #7

        DId I miss Something?  I wouldn't mind more advice if someone has some.  Is there a reason we need to start a new thread? 


        1. Pattiann42 | | #10

          My reply to Becky was about not getting to sleep (busy mind) and did not want your discussion to wander off track and become about insomnia.

  3. User avater
    matzahari | | #3

    some time back after an exhibit in mobile alabama (Picturing French Style)  i made my own interpretation of a poiret shawl. one side was black silk velvet and the top side gold and black brocade. the ends are gathered and a beaded fringe ball dangles from each end. It's a great item for a portland spring evening at the opera.

  4. Fruzzle | | #11

    If it's the same article you're thinking about, I saw a Threads piece a couple months ago about binding and backing to eliminate seam allowances to save on fabric.You basically cut your pattern pieces without seam allowances, bind the edges, then abut the pieces on a piece of backing fabric.

  5. Teaf5 | | #12

    If you haven't cut it yet, try laying out the pants on the cross grain; a cashmere will probably drape just as nicely that way, and you can save a lot of length.  If you don't have enough left over for a pieced jacket (the sleeves can have as many as three or four obvious sections, the front and back almost endless sections) you could make a pieced vest. 

    The piecing looks very nice when done along obvious fitting lines--princess seaming, a yoke at the shoulder, another panel below the waist, etc.--and you can show off details like welt pockets and bound buttonholes.  You can save fabric by omitting the overlap in front and making tab or loop buttonholes instead; you can also omit the side seams and use tabs there, too.  If the fabric has a nice weave, you can vary the grain of the pieces so that some are cross, some lengthwise, and some bias.

    If you trace your pattern pieces onto waxed paper, you can lay each one over the scraps and use a marker to show which pieces go where and allow seam allowances for piecing (1/4" works well).  It's a fun and interesting project that results in unexpectedly beautiful garments.  Let us know what you create!

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