Sewing with lace, leather and even slippery stuff such neoprene or rubber can be a challenge. In fact, there are various fabulous designers, like Susan Goodwin, who love working with this sort of stuff. They have even made a career designing sportswear, and home sewing patterns specifically for these fabrics.
Tricky fabrics, or as what others would call them “the fun fabrics,” are an exceptional addition to your sewing skills. You can think of lace, neoprene (or scuba), leather, anything with a big texture or even a big print. Fabrics like these are all fun, and can create great statement pieces in your wardrobe. These aren’t difficult to work with, as long as you approach the project in a way that will help give you success.
Let the Fabric Identify the Style
There is no sense trying to make a thick fabric with very little give to it, especially if you want it to become a nice draped garment. So, your best move is to choose something architectural and use the natural properties of the fabric to help create the style instead of making it bend to your will.
Go for Seams and Top Stitching
A beautiful lace can be ruined by seams, thus consider hand piecing the lace in order for it to appear seamless – it can even take your garments to new levels in sophistication and technique. Equally so, a nice waterproof fabric can be rendered useless by top stitching. Every single little stitch becomes a point through which water can penetrate.
Think about removing top stitching, eliminating or moving seams to areas that aren’t going to bear the brunt of the rain. For example a shoulder seam can be moved to a yoke seam. Now, instead of a seam that points directly towards the sky, and catches oncoming rain, you have a seam that points towards the ground and allows rain to run right off.
Determine Your Finishes
Say, you’ll go for a French seam on the lining under the lace; well, it’s actually good, as you can create a perfectly flat layer where you can place your lace. It’s pretty much the same with leaving a neoprene edge raw instead of trying to sew through the bulk of 2 layers.
If you’re not exactly sure with the right way to finish the garment, you can always go shopping. Just take a look on the high street and see how the big names finish their garments. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it will be to replicate what they do, and you might even spot some finishes that you could do better than they do.
Always Utilize the Right Tools
Swap your machine needles out for the ones that are going to work with you and not have you tearing your hair out, as you don’t want over skipped stitches and puckered tension in your head. Leather, ball point and super fine or “sharps” needles are readily available. Ensure you have the right tools to match your project and you will find it a lot easier when it comes to stitching.
Both leather and neoprene fabrics are no good for pins. Why? They leave permanent marks and can ruin the look of your finished garment. Try using quilter’s clips instead to hold your fabrics rather of pins. Even the household clothes peg can work wonders holding them together.