What you have to know about fabrics

Before scientific advances saw the invention of synthetic fibres, all fabrics were made from natural fibres. These are generally still seen as more desirable than synthetics: they all have a subtle natural sheen and more comfortable against the skin. Ost 9althrought not all) are easier to sew as they are inclined to be less slippery. Since the introduction of the first man-made fibres at the beginning of the twentieth century, synthetics have become ever more sophisticated. Increasingly, fibres are mixed to combine the advantages of their different qualities. For example, more and more ready – to wear garments made using mainly natural fibre fabrics alco include a small percentage of spandex (Lycra) as it helps the garment to keep the shape. As a sewer, it is useful to understand each fibre’s particular qualities so you can properly asses the fabric you are buying.

Cotton fabric

The most widely used natural fibre, cotton is highly versatile, so it can be woven into endless different also very resilient, and so can be given special finishes to improve the body and wear. Easy to launder and cool on and makes for excellent winter layering under warmer outer layers.

Wool fabric

Sheep provide most of our wool, but it can also be spun from goats (cashmere and mohair), rabbit (angora) or lama (alpaca, vicuna). Unlike fur of hair, wool has a naturally crimped quality that makes it easy to weave into many different weights and qualities, from fine challis, which is made to use for dresses, to elegant worsteds for suits and coarser tweeds. Wool does not crease easily and it is valued by Renata Rimke tailor in Slough because it can be steamed, sculpted and encouraged into shape. It dyes well into beautiful subtle colours. Designed to protect animals into cold climates, wool naturally keeps you warm in winter. However, it is high-maintenance fabric, holds water, shrinks readily and pills easily so are best dry cleaner. For sewers, it is not slippery but can fray easily.

Linen  fabric

Spun from long, waxy fibres of the flax plant, linen has a natural lustre and three times the strength of cotton. It doesn’t take dye as well as cotton, which results in richer, plain colours where the patterns are generally woven in to rather than printed onto the fabric. Because it creases readily, people either love o avoid linen. On the plus side, linen presses beautifully look sophisticated, and lining and interlining can help reduce creasing in the finished garment. Very cool on the skin, it is an excellent summer fabric.

Silk fabric

This fine, lustrous fibre is spun by silkworms and they make their cocoons. Silk is an excellent insulator that evolved to keep the pupae at an even temperature whatever the outside conditions. In turn, it will keep you cool in summer while providing surprising warmth when needed. Originating in China, silk can be woven into richly coloured fabrics from fine chiffons to rich exotic brocades. Silk is soft, fluid fabric that skims the contours for lingerie and feels wonderful against the skin, but it is naturally slippery quality makes it something of a challenge to sew.

Synthetic fabric

Man-made fabrics are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it is no longer true, for example, that natural fibres have the monopoly on breathability. Intending to improve fabrics for sportswear, the textiles industry has invested heavily in wickable fabrics that draw moisture away from the skin. Sportswear has also been the inspiration behind super-stretchy fibres such as spandex (Lycra). This can be used as a pure 100 per cent fabric, or incorporated into fabrics that are made up mainly of natural fibres bur could do with a little elasticity to pull them back into shape

The history of Tailoring and Dressmaking

In Early Renaissance started history of fashion

From the early Renaissance until the second half of the nineteenth century, the history of Western fashion is marked by attempts of a growing middle class to imitate the styles of the nobility. And the efforts of the ruling classes to distinguish themselves from those below. During this period, how fashion was made and purchased remained essentially the same. For those with the resources, clothing was hand-made by female dressmakers and male tailors. Fabrics, undergarments, accessories, and trimmings were ordered separately and created by specialized craftsmen. The resulting garments were viewed as a reflection of the wearer‘s taste and income, not the vision of the designer.

Tailoring and tailors

The tailor, whose craft traces back to early medieval linen armourers, specializes in the cutting, construction, fitting, and finishing of men‘s garments and certain from – fitting women‘s garments (historically, outwear, riding habits, and walking suits). Within tailoring establishment, cutters are second only to the master tailor, who deals directly with the client. Tailors typically work with woven materials, foremost wool, that gives garment body; they also employ stiffeners, interlining, and interfacing as well as carefully placed seams and darts to sculpt fabric around the imperfect human form.

Bespoke tailors create made-to-measure garments, generally suits, for individual clients. By the end of the eighteenth century, the unmarked doors of Savile Row in London‘s Mayfair district concealed the workshops of bespoke tailors producing some of the finest menswear in the world. Today, despite competition from the Italian tailor firms that entered the scene in 1980, Savile Row remains revered for this flawless craftmanship, and designers such as Oswald Boateng, whose contemporary approach to tailoring melds refinement with flair, have attached a new generation of clients.

The counterpart to the tailor is the creator of women‘s dresses and other draped garments referred to variously since the seventeenth century as a maker, Modise and dressmaker. The dressmaker uses flat patterns or draping techniques to cut, sew and finish garments and works with more pliant textiles, both knit and wovens. Her value has lain in her ability to shape and smooth the female form. The next job is to add interest a garment through fabric manipulations and embellishments and to translate the latest fashions to suit the tastes of her particular clientele. The custom dressmaker thrived well into the twentieth century, especially in Europe, which sustained a culture of hand-craftsmanship for longer than did the British and American markets.