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Switching a pattern to a diff.fabric?

muslinmad | Posted in General Discussion on

I just bought a lovely Vogue pattern that specifies the fabrics that are suitable for it are crepe back satin, crepe de chine, and satin. I wonder if I use a matte jersey, will I run into trouble? It seems to like it has plenty of drape but will it have too much stretch? Here’s the link for the pattern it you would like to take a look:


  1. kayl | | #1

    One of the ways I start looking at a substitute fabric is to take

    a couple of the recommended fabrics (esp. the first two) and the proposed fabric. Drape the proposed fabric over your hand, and

    one of the recommended fabrics over that. Does the recommended fabric

    hang away from the proposed one? Flip the pair over, so the proposed

    fabric is on top. Does it hang away from the recommended one?

    If the two fabrics drape well together, they're usually pretty interchangeable. The big gotchas may come on amount of stretch of the

    fabric, where two of the more important factors are stretch and recovery. Hang some of the jersey up and weight it with a couple

    of binder clips for a day or so. How much did it stretch. Take the

    clips off and see how well it recovers.

    1. muslinmad | | #2

      Thanks that's great advice. I'm afraid that my fabric shopping options are fairly limited around here, so I was going to order something online where I saw a matte jersey with a cute pattern on it. I was trying to make an educated guess, but no two fabrics are really the same are they? I guess that in order for my dress to work out, I should be conservative a go with something that they recommend, but I swear I can really see this dress in matte jersey!

      1. kayl | | #3

        So go for it... but realize you might need to stabilize the jersey

        more than you'd need for a woven, or you might need to change the

        ease slightly to get it to look the way you want.

        I tend to buy fabric first, think of the pattern later, so I guess

        I probably have more fabric in search of a garment than you might!

        Sometimes, once you lay hands on a fabric and play with it a bit,

        it tells you what it wants to be...


        1. muslinmad | | #4

          Your fabric talking to you makes me smile. I know what you mean. I do end of having a pile of fabrics that haven't found their pattern yet, and a pile of patterns that haven't found their fabric yet.

          1. SewTruTerry | | #5

             I would also like to add that it never hurts to try as long as you are going to accept what ever might happen.  Also if the finished garment does not behave like you would like it to there are lots of things that you can do to make it work.  Just remember there are no mistakes in sewing only design challenges if it does not work the way you want it to.  I also have a large "stash of garments to be"  but they have not enlighten me as to their purpose in this life yet.  However I have been making some amazing discoveries in my inventory lately and have almost finished my summer closet of clothes.  I recently made a dress out of a lovely challis print with dual borders on the selvages and when I finished and put it on it was too long, well I decided to run it through the wash and sure enough it shrunk enough that I can now wear it without further hemming. 

          2. muslinmad | | #6

            wow, thanks for that note of reassurance, just when I was starting to chicken out of the matte jersey idea. Though, the potential for the weight of the fabric being too heavy with all those zillions of godets in the dress is starting to nag at me a bit. I was beginning to think that maybe the lovely black polkadot cotton fabric that is languishing in my stash could turn into a nice wrap skirt and matching top with contrasting bias binding.

            I once put a ban on fabric buying until I had used up some of the stash, but the ban didn't last long. My current mantra is not to save any of the extra leftover bits of fabric from projects because they start to take over and they just stare at me and clutter my brain.

          3. SewTruTerry | | #7

            Well velmavintage I don't know if you are calling yourself that because you feel old or if that is truly your name but either way I love it.  As far as a ban on buying new fabric I think that we all feel that way at some time or another and as soon as I feel that way I lay down for 15 minutes and the feeling passes and I go to the fabric store to prove that I am cured of that bad bug.  After all some of my best creations have taken place with aged fabric that I find as I am digging through my stash. As far as the scraps taking over my solution to that is to put them all in a big bin and not the garbage bin.  Of course I do not save anything that is smaller than 6 inches square.  After I get  the bin full I go through and start cutting squares out of them.  Remember they must be at least 6 inches square.  Then sew them all together not even looking at the position of the fabric and presto you have in no time a quilt top or bottom with a lot of interesting fabrics.  These make great stadium or picnic quilts or something to keep in your car during the winter in case you break down or don't want to run the car waiting for children to finish practice.

            As far as the fabric choice I say go for it as long as it is not really expensive as you make very well find that the choice is wonderful.

          4. muslinmad | | #10

            Hi Terry,

            I am neither aged, and my name is not Velma. I do love vintage things and I thought the same sounded cool. My name is Misa, I'm 37 and the the mother of two small children who are 9 mos. and 4 yrs. old. I consequently spend a lot more time fantasizing about things that I would like to sew than actually sewing things. Although I did manage to whip off a skirt and pair of beach pants recently.

            I had forgotten that I was saving 5 inch square pieces of fabric from all my projects for a quilt too. Why 5 inches, I don't know. I just forgot to save from my recent skirt and pants. Things had gotten very disorganized after our recent move from NYC to Portsmouth, NH and I've only just managed to get my sewing area under way again.

          5. SewTruTerry | | #17

            Hello Misa!  Always nice to know who I am directing my thoughts to.  You sound a bit like myself.  Although I am 44 with a 17 yo dsd and 11 yo dss.  When my dss was a babe in arms I used to carry the stroller and him to the basement where my sewing room was located and with one foot pushed the stroller back and forth and drove the sewing machine with the other and after 10 minutes of that he would fall asleep and then I could really rip through those projects, like diaper covers for him and shorts for his sister that would only take 30 minutes or so to complete.  I was working outside the home at that time and he came down with a cold the day after my serger arrived by UPS so of course I "volunteered" to stay home with him and I played on the serger all day.  What Fun!  I also was a dancer and only danced for my self and sewed costumes for a dance studio.

          6. muslinmad | | #18

            I do yoga once a week and will never be tremendous at it because of my naturally low flexibility, but I am getting better and much stronger to boot.

            I love that all these former dancers are on here. I don't consider myself a true dancer since I didn't grow up doing it, and discovered as an adult, but I sure do love to move to the music.

            dss stands for dear son or step son? I used to get in some great sewing time when I had one kid and he was napping, but now he no longer naps and two is whole different ball game. Sadly, I have very little sewing time.

          7. SewTruTerry | | #19

            Actually dss stands for dear sweet son or at least that is what I meant it to stand for.  Not that he is in my good graces right now he has unfinished homework that needs to be done.  But still I love him.

            Well I now have a sewing business so still not much time to sew for myself but at least it keeps me off of the street.  LOL.  :)  Of course I don't think my dsh thinks like that.  I wonder if we could ever have step husbands?  Ok now you know that I am a bit crazy.  Wouldn't that be fun have them only every other weekend?

            Did you finally make the plunge and make the dress with the fabric that you wanted to use?

          8. muslinmad | | #20

            Nope, I've shelved the pattern for the moment. I'm working on my son's Peter Pan costume. I did order the matte jersey fabric that I liked but may end up making a different dress with it. I haven't had a single second to do any sewing because my husband has been building a playset and I have had non-stop kiddie duty. gah. I'm exhausted and cranky and deeply angry at the dh for not just buying a premade playset.

          9. SewTruTerry | | #21

            Don't get mad at the dh because he wants to customize the playset after all you do the same thing when you sew.  I know that my dh always ask me if I am going to make or buy something for those special occasions and if I say make he always ask if I have the time. 

            By the way good that you at least bought the material and now it can age in the stash for a while. Let me also suggest that you get another matte jersey and make up the pattern with it and see what you think.  That way you will know if the material will work and what changes may need to be made.

          10. muslinmad | | #22

            You're right, bless my stash, it will be aging there for awhile. I just can't pass up a nice polkadot fabric when I see it. You're also right about the dh and customizing, I read your note as I'm busy altering the McCall's costume pattern which isn't to my liking. Thinking outside the mold is one of the reasons why we're together, I'm sure.

            Thanks for the suggestion about the trial fabric. Maybe there will be something I can use at the Joanne's (ick).

  2. ElonaM | | #8

    Boy, I think it depends hugely on how stretchy or stable your matte jersey is. If it's pretty stable, you might be able to get away with it. But look at all those seams and the intricacy of construction, kiddo. If it doesn't work--and only because of the choice of fabric--that's a lot of effort to have expended!

    Myself, I'd try the pattern first in a fabric of the recommended type, check out the construction, see how it looks on the bod, and then make the jersey decision.

    Edited 4/22/2004 9:26 pm ET by Elona

    1. FitnessNut | | #9

      After looking at the pattern in the store, I'm with Elona on this one. This is going to be a time-consuming project and your success will largely depend on the choice of fabric. A stable jersey would probably work, but I'd stay away from anything with much stretch. Count me as another vote for making it up in the recommended fabric first before making the call on a jersey version. You can think of it as a "test run" ;-)


    2. muslinmad | | #11

      Sandy and Elona,

      that's pretty much where I am right now (that is going with a recommended fabric), the passion has cooled and ration has prevailed. Thanks so much for weighing in. I'm going to have to shelve the project for a little while anyway, because my son is begging for a new Peter Pan costume since he outgrew the one that he wore almost everyday last year.

  3. Elisabeth | | #12

    Love that style! I like the thought of that dress in jersey. I agree with what others are saying about the amount of stretch and weight, though. An airy and slightly frim type of jersey could be fabulous. I made a long dress with many seams that flared to a very full skirt to the lower calf out of a kind of heavy metalic knit that was very drapey but had little stretch. It was for a ballroom dancing show and that skirt had an awful lot of "spin" to it, when I turned it lagged for a moment then went way out and had its own momentum. That was great for the ballroom purpose but even there almost too much as in gee I'm glad I am wearing dance pants under this. So I am thinking all those godets in your dress in a heavy or very drapey knit might not be so fun. The short skirt ought to be like a flounce, not a animal with heavy momentum.

    Maybe just making up the top half in a test fabric? Then you can see what seams support what and where the fabric needs to not stretch. The dress looks like it has shoulder pads and that might be something to adjust with a jersey too.

    Happy sewing with this project!


    1. muslinmad | | #13

      Thanks Elisabeth!! That's funny that you mention ballroom dancing and your flouncy skirt. I used to do a lot of lindyhop and one of my favorite dance skirts was made out of matte jersey. It was so easy to wear and twirled so nicely and was machine washable to boot. But it was just a flared skirt with six or eight panels, it didn't have the zillions of godets. Even though I don't dance anymore (though I do miss it desperately sometimes and recently started taking a tap class to compensate), I was probably thinking that this would make a nice dance dress. Plus, with two kids washability is a pretty key factor.

      1. Elisabeth | | #14

        A dance dress, that's a whole different story. It would make a killer lindy hop dress matte jersey godets and all! I think you would need to calm down the shoulders some though so you could lift your arms if you were to wear it dancing one day. Or with kids, arms don't seem to stay calmly at your sides when you have kids. I don't dance anymore either and I sometimes miss it horribly too. My thing was the smooth/standard that fit my waybackground of ballet. You're inspiring me to go find a good yoga class again which has been my occasional compensation. One day we will dance again, in great dresses too.


        1. muslinmad | | #15

          Think butterfly sleeves!

        2. SewTruTerry | | #16

          All the talk on this thread about dancing and yoga I think we are all made out of the same clothe.  I was also a dancer and really loved what I was doing but it was just for fun never for an audience.  I even worked for a dance studio making costumes and everything for the dancers. It was so much fun. I have found a wonderful yoga instructor that I think I would follow anywhere. Since starting her classes I have gained back the flexibility that I had lost oh so many years ago.  Also I have a wonderfully easy and fun sewing project for yoga tops out of big T-shirts that only take 30 minutes to complete and get rave reviews.

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