Showing posts from January, 2017

Up Close with Woven Fabrics, Part II

This week's edition of Sewing Science we are Up Close with Wovens, Part II!  I snipped a bunch of tiny samples from my swatch collection to see how some of these fabrics compare to one another.
Today we have denim, jacquard, and rayon.

Denim: This is a heavier weight, non-stretch denim from Cali Fabrics.

Stretch Denim:  This is a medium-weight stretch denim from Cali Fabrics.

There is no difference in the weave between the two, just the presence/absence of lycra.

Jacquard: This one was really cool. You can obviously see that this is going to be interesting, but I didn't realize how many different weaves were involved until I put it in the microscope.

There are at least 5 different weave patterns involved here!

Up Close With Woven Fabrics, Part I

Welcome to another edition of Sewing Science! Today I am taking a very close look at some different types of non-stretch, cotton woven fabrics: canvas, corduroy, cotton flannel, and cotton muslin.
First up, cotton canvas. This is a 12 oz. Carhartt canvas that I recently purchased from

You can see the very dense weave.
Here is a close up of the individual fibers.  This week we're looking at natural cotton fibers, but in the future we'll look at synthetics, and you will be able to see the difference in the fibers at very high magnifications.

As seen in the thread, natural fibers have a lot more texture, they are 'rougher' than synthetics.

Next up - corduroy!! I have some awesome 8-wale corduroy from Califabrics that I've made into men's pants and shorts (because nothing says shorts weather like some fat wale corduroy).

If you read Threads magazine you may have seen their recent feature on corduroy, which included an interesting cross-section di…

Up Close with Thread

The next installment of Sewing Science is Up Close with Thread! By request(s).  I tried to find a wide variety of threads in my stash to image.
First up is some Coats and Clark All Purpose Polyester Thread:

Next is some cotton quilting thread that I use for basting and tailor's tacks  (I tried to image all of the threads at a similar series of magnifications to best show the similarities and differences).

 The most obvious difference between the two is not only the thickness, which is visible to the naked eye, but the individual fibers themselves.  Natural fibers are not a smooth as synthetic fibers - the same is visible in fabrics as well (which I'll post eventually!).

Now let's take a look at polyester topstitching thread:

Nothing too dramatic, similar to the others in terms of how the fibers are joined.
Lets look at these side by side so the difference between the natural and synthetic fibers really stands out: