Preparations for sewing fabrics with stretch

There’s always a lot of prep involved once the real fabric is in play for a wedding dress.  In most cases, you are dealing with clean white fabric and it is so important that it stays that way!  It is imperative that a dressmaker be very precise and use the least amount of steps as possible.  Anything done to the fabric should be tried and true and completely accurate.  Otherwise a dress starts to look overworked, or gets wrinkled or worse – stained!!

Once my fabric pieces are cut from the roll, I wrap them in white tissue paper.

I roll the tissue paper with all the flat pieces up, and keep the roll in a box until needed.  I am constantly washing my hands and laying out tissue paper when I need to handle any part of the real fabric.

Leah’s dress fabric is a gorgeous cotton damask that has a small amount of spandex to add a little stretch.  I’m very excited to use this fabric because I think it will wear beautifully!
Fabrics with stretch require even more prep before you can start dressmaking.  You must use a stretch stitch for your seams, or else the seam threads will break once the garments stretches!  I use a Bernina sewing machine’s stretch stitch #9 for most of my stretch seaming.

One of the challenges of using a stretch seam like this is that you must get it exactly right the first time.  It is not easily pulled out and will scar the fabric if any mistakes are made.  In order to make sure that the fabric does not stretch while I am sewing it and also to make sure my seams are 100% accurate, I am basting almost all of the dress together by hand before getting it near a machine.  (I also recommend this for any bias cut dresses.) It adds a little extra time in the beginning, but there is no question that the accuracy makes for a cleaner, more beautiful dress, and a stress-free time at the sewing machine!

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Hi there! I'm Brooks Ann.

I’m an independent designer and couture dressmaker for one-of-a-kind bridalwear located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I also teach the sew-curious both in-person and online.

My blog follows along with the couture process of how each heirloom-quality custom wedding dress is made from idea to wedding day, as well as other interesting tidbits related to sewing, weddings, and body positivity.

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