What are your tips for #SewThePrecious?

A piece of medium-blue fabric drapes in the background, forming a backdrop to the following words: "#SewThePrecious I pledge to use a special fabric for a special project." The Sewcialists logo appears at the bottom of the image.

In 2020 we have a year long challenge to #SewThePrecious – in other words, to sew that special fabric you’ve been afraid to use! It’s great to follow along with the hashtag on Instagram, where there is everything from refashioning to some serious pattern matching going on. It’s clear that many of us needed a bit of a push to use that special fabric.

Gillian stands outside; it is winter, and there is snow on the ground. She faces the camera and is posing with her left hand in her front jeans pocket. Her top is a loose-fitting scoop-neck design, and features large-scale, multi-ethic faces and pops of bright pink, blue, and yellow on a white background.

I sewed my own #SewThePrecious project a while back, using this bold faces print rayon. The fabric is special to me because it cost more than I usually spend on fabric, and because as an ESL teacher, I love the multi-ethnic faces. Here are the strategies I used to make sure it turned out well:

  • I used a pattern I’ve used before, the Cashmerette Montrose. I’ve been a pattern tester for Cashmerette for years, so I know the patterns always fit me well in terms of cup size, length and proportion. It’s also quite a simple pattern, so I thought it would balance well with the bold print.
  • I chose a style with ease. As I’ll write about soon in another post, I tend to gain about an inch of circumference each year. If I sewed a fitted garment, it wouldn’t fit me in two years; this blouse has gathers in the back under a yoke, which gives me some wiggle room in sizing.
  • Now, this will make some of you shriek in horror but… I cut into it without too much thought! Once I knew what I wanted to make, I put on a podcast to distract myself and cut the damn fabric. It is only fabric, and you can always seam together bits and pieces to make it work, or sew a sleeveless top instead, or use a contrast fabric if something goes wrong. Just go for it!

Cutting into special, sentimental, or pricey fabric can be intimidating, so today we are asking you for your tips to make sure it goes well! What are your strategies for getting the best result out of precious fabrics? Have you taken the plunge to #SewThePrecious yet?