Style Series- Knowing Your Fabrics Part 3: Chiffon

Whether you make your own clothes or want to be a shopping expert, it’s helpful to know about different fabrics and how they “work.” Aside from color and pattern, different types of fabric can have totally different looks because of the way they drape or hang on the body, especially in doll scale. This series will help you learn more about some fabrics that are often used for doll clothes, so you can know more about how to use them or what to look for when you are shopping!

Part 3: Chiffon
Chiffon Fabric

Chiffon is a lightweight sheer fabric that is often used for items such as blouses, dresses, skirts, and scarves. It is a woven fabric (as opposed to a knit fabric), woven loosely to allow for a small amount of space between threads, giving it its sheerness. Most chiffon is either silk, polyester, or nylon. It gathers nicely and drapes beautifully with a flowy, airy quality, but it can be difficult to work with because it is so delicate. Making sure you have a very sharp needle and the right tension is critical in creating smooth seams without getting pulls in the fabric. It also is notorious for fraying a lot, so care must be taken in handling the pieces once they are cut to ensure they don’t fray past the seam allowance (it is often helpful to leave a bit of extra length for a hem so if the fabric frays, you can trim off the “hairs” without loosing too much length. French seams are often used with chiffon, as they completely enclose the seams to prevent any fraying. With a little patience and a gentle hand, chiffon can be used to create beautiful garments and accessories!

 “Clarisse Original” blouses made of chiffon:
Chiffon Blouses

Style Series- Knowing Your Fabrics Part 2: Jersey Knit

Whether you make your own clothes or want to be a shopping expert, it’s helpful to know about different fabrics and how they “work.” Aside from color and pattern, different types of fabric can have totally different looks because of the way they drape or hang on the body, especially in doll scale. This series will help you learn more about some fabrics that are often used for doll clothes, so you can know more about how to use them or what to look for when you are shopping!

Part 2: Jersey Knit

Jersey Fabric

Jersey knit is a very versatile fabric. It is generally lightweight, and can be made of many different materials such as cotton, rayon, polyester, or even silk. If you look closely, it looks similar to knitting done by hand, with “v” shaped stitches on one side and horizontal stitches on the wrong side, but the stitches are very tiny! Jersey knit can be used for anything from tee-shirts and sweaters, to skirts and dresses, and is very soft with a nice drape. It also doesn’t “fray” because the thread is knit instead of woven, though it can get pulls if not handled carefully. Also, because it stretches, it can be difficult to stitch without stretching the fabric as you sew. A helpful thing to keep in mind with knits, is that your iron is your best friend (as long as it is on an appropriate heat setting for the material- otherwise, not your friend!). If your seam comes out a little stretched, use the steam from your iron to “ease” it back into shape. It makes the world of difference!
*A tip from Clarisse: For seams that need to retain as much stretch as possible, try using a very tiny zig-zag (the smallest one possible, so it is barely noticeable), to allow the seam to have a little extra give. If the seam is too tight, then when the fabric stretches, it may cause the seam to rip.

A close-up of jersey knit- right side (top) and wrong side (bottom)
(click to enlarge)
Jersey Close-up

 “Clarisse’s Closet” sweaters made of jersey knit:
Jersey Sweaters

Style Series- Knowing Your Fabrics Part 1: Quilting Cotton

Whether you make your own clothes or want to be a shopping expert, it’s helpful to know about different fabrics and how they “work.” Aside from color and pattern, different types of fabric can have totally different looks because of the way they drape or hang on the body, especially in doll scale. This series will help you learn more about some fabrics that are often used for doll clothes, so you can know more about how to use them or what to look for when you are shopping!

Part 1: Quilting CottonQuilting Cottons

Quilting cotton is probably the most commonly used fabric, because it comes in tons of amazing colors and patterns! It is one of the easiest fabrics to work with because it doesn’t stretch or get out of shape, and it also presses nicely so that the finished seams are clean and crisp. Always watch out for folds that are in the fabric when you purchase it though- sometimes they can be very difficult to steam out, so always press your fabric before cutting your pieces out to avoid having permanent creases in your finished item. Cotton is great for design elements such as pleats, because it keeps that clean fold, or styles that are fitted and crisp. Although it is tempting to use quilting cotton for everything because of the availability of patterns, your standard quilting cotton may not be a good choice for a skirt or dress that you’d like to have a “flowy” look, because the fabric doesn’t drape that way, especially in a small scale. It also may not work well for something like a pair of pants, which are typically done with a heavier weight fabric.

 “Clarisse Originals” made of cotton: Cotton BlouseCotton works well for a collared blouse, because it is fitted and the collar will stay neat and tidy.
Cotton Dress

This simple wrap dress would work in many different fabrics, but the cotton gives it a classic clean look.