I ordered a bundle of fabric today to test some new patterns I’m working on and it left me wondering about how I’ve tended to stick with what I know best. Here I am saying you need to constantly test new pattern designs and yet I’ve always stuck to the same fabrics! To be fair to myself, my own production work has usually been limited to swimwear and there really isn’t anything better than the Carvico range of products anywhere in the world. Thankfully you can buy it at most good fabric retailers across Australia or even directly from Eclipse Textiles (not sure if you need to be in the fashion industry to buy direct but they’re really easy people to work with – they do have a list of suppliers in each State on their website).
Recently I’ve been working with more ‘alternative’ stretch fabrics like neoprene, PVC, lace, faux leather, and I’ve even been considering some of the stretchier denims. Pretty much, if it can be used to create body hugging close fit garments then I need to know how to make patterns for it … and I need to stay ahead of the general industry so I can answer their questions.
Now everyone’s heard of all the common textile types I mentioned above, but how many of you know that there are literally hundreds of different products out there which might well suit your design task even better? Recently there has been a strong move toward hi-tech eco-friendly synthetic textiles designed specifically for a purpose rather than the old concept of manufacturing a general product and letting the world decide what they want to do with it. For example every knows nylon/elastane is use for swimwear but do you realise that if they change the fiber diameter, knitting method or percentage composition it may well look and feel completely different and have a different end use … meaning a different set of pattern making rules. Likewise there are new 100% polyester knits with almost identical performance characteristics to nylon/elastane blends, except because they’re 100% polyester you can print them using high temperature processes like dye sublimation (over the next 5-10 years possibly even coming to a home printer near you!).
To this end, I’ve asked Eclipse Textiles if they can send me testing sized samples of some of the newer innovative products so I can literally review them for the public and hopefully make people more aware of the choices out there. We should all be incredibly happy (and grateful) they’ve agreed to send me samples for review … I really think this will be a great learning opportunity. I’m looking at testing things like:
- my version of a stretch modulus that’s used to calculate negative ease percentages.
- needle puncture tests at varying intervals and needle sizes.
- general handling and cutting observations
- sewing observations (does it creep face to face etc)
- recommendations for use.
Some of the more obscure hi-tech products tend to be indent only (meaning you generally need to buy large meterages) but if more people expressed interest in these fabrics to local retailers we might find they become profitable for local fabric retailers to carry. It’s all a matter of interest … and how can you be interested in something if you don’t know it exists? So shortly you should start seeing a bit of textile science appearing on this blog … after all, it’s these considerations that determine the start point of the pattern making process.