Monday, September 8, 2014

Help! I Don't Have Enough Fabric!

You have the perfect pattern and the exact fabric you want to use, but something is wrong. You don't have enough fabric. Perhaps you misread the chart on the pattern envelope. Perhaps you want to use fabric from your stash and cannot possibly find more yardage now. Whatever the reason for your shortage, there is hope! Here are five possible solutions if you don't have enough fabric.
Contrasting fabric
Let's assume nobody is going to see the wrong side of your garment but you. That means you can use any fabric of similar weight and fiber content for facings, linings, and inseam pockets. Have some fun and use a whimsical print or shocking color on the non-public side of the garment. Imagine wearing your sedate business suit with a smile; while sitting through a boring meeting, you laugh inside knowing that your pocket linings have little pink kittens on them.
Facing substitutes
Facings are often oddly shaped and cause you to waste large scraps of fabric. Consider whether you can make a facing narrower without compromising the structure of the garment. By substituting bias bindings at necklines or armholes, you may save enough fabric to save your project.
Adjust garment fullness
If you are experienced enough to redraft a pattern, you can sometimes remove some of the fullness from a garment. Can you remove a pair of pleats or adjust the amount of flare in a skirt? Can you substitute a more tailored sleeve for a gathered sleeve? Be sure you do not make a skirt so narrow you cannot walk freely.
Rotate the pattern layout
The pattern layout may work if you cut the pieces on the crosswise rather than the lengthwise grain. Do not try this with a napped fabric, one-directional print, or plaid. This is also not an option for knits, since the stretch of the fabric would not be oriented correctly. If you have a plain woven fabric, however, this adjustment may buy you the extra yardage you need.
Piece work
Finally, you may piece scraps together to create larger pieces of fabric. Even expensive wedding gowns use this method, since one loom-width of fabric may not accommodate a long train. For example, you may not be able to cut a skirt front on the fold; instead, sew two pieces of fabric together and place the seam at the center front fold.

Be persistent and you may find you do indeed have enough fabric. In fact, your initial shortage may have caused you to do something creative that actually enhanced the finished garment. Admiring friends might think you put bias-cut pockets on your plaid shirt on purpose.