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Introduction to working with Double Gauze

Introduction to working with Double Gauze

I picked out the gorgeous wine with gold spot double gauze from Northern Monkey Makes

 

After my first attempt I wasn’t sure I would sew double gauze again, determined to beat the fabric I took on the advice of the amazing facebook Community before my second attempt and oh what a difference.

The advice I received that I will always follow when working with double gauze is.

* Use lots of clips to keep the pattern pieces held together in the correct place
* New needle
* Stay stitching on curved edges
* Walking foot

I took on board The tips I received and the results were (sorry to blow my own trumpet) fantastic!

PATTERN I CHOSE

I chose the marigold pattern from peony patterns. It is a lovely summer dress. It has a lined fitted bodice with a front button placket, short puff sleeves and a gathered skirt. 

I made age 8-10 chest size and graded to a size 14 height.  This took around 1.5 metres of fabric and after making the floral headband too I’m sure I have 30cm by width of the fabric leftover.  I would rate this pattern as suitable for the confident beginner due to the button placket and buttons, which some may find a bit daunting but please don’t as the instructions in the pattern were very good. 

PREPARATIONS

First of all I washed the fabric at 30 degrees, shook out the creases and hung it up to dry naturally (not in the tumble dryer). The nature of the fabric has texture and it wasn't too creased so I left it as it was when it came to cutting out the pattern, there was no need for me to iron it at that stage.

CUTTING THE PATTERN
I used pins and scissors. The fabric was very well behaved and didn't slip or cause me any issues when cutting. The weave of the fabric is quite loose, sharp pins worked well and I was conscious of pulling threads whilst moving the fabric to cut the pattern pieces.

TIPS TO SUCEED

I will highlight some things that I’ve learnt during the sewing process which may help others when working on double gauze in future. 
Before pinning my pattern pieces together, I used stay stitching (long straight stitch along the seam line) on the curved edges of the bodice to prevent the fabric from distorting. It seems like an easy step to skip but it really does make a difference in keeping the double layer of fabric, naturally in double gauze, in place. 

I then used clips to hold my pattern pieces together (I used many many more than I usually would). As pins slip out quite easily due to the loose weave of double gauze fabric so clips really helped me here. 

I used coats moon thread, a new 70/10 universal needle and a standard straight stitch for all of the seams and the overlocker to finish the seams. If I didn’t have an overlocker, I would have opted for French seams. Double gauze fabric does have a tendency to fray and I'd be concerned that a zig zag stitch so close to the edge may get caught up in the machine due to how lightweight the fabric is.

Now the real game changer for me was using the walking foot. I've seen this gadget mentioned so often but it always looked a little daunting and I’d thought it looked a bit of a faff.

My trusty 20 year old machine gave up on me last Christmas and my new machine came with a walking foot so here was my chance to use it. As it was my first time, I set down some time to thoroughly read the instructions and set it up - to my surprise, there were three really simple instructions and it took all of 30 seconds to attach it. So quick and simple but the difference it made to sewing with the Double Gauze fabric was immeasurable.
The walking foot ensures that both layers are fed through together at the same time so there is no bunching, puckering or moving of the fabric. The bodice lining was cut from an old duvet cover and I am so glad to report that there were no issues with sewing the two different fabrics together. 

When I first started the dress, I wasn't planning on topstitching the skirt to the bodice, I thought that it would start bunching with all of the layers but as it was going so well, I thought I'd add this finish and it was definitely worth it.

IRONING
As the double gauze that I used has the pretty gold speckles, it can’t be ironed on the right side of the fabric.

I tried it at different heat settings on a scrap of the double gauze and it was ok when it was on a low heat setting. To avoid any risk of damaging the seams and hem not worth the risk. When ironing the seams and hem, I opted to use a tea towel in between the iron hot plate and fabric; it worked out perfectly.

When I wash the dress, I will hang it carefully to dry, I doubt it will actually need ironing, if it does, I will just try to iron it inside out.


I used lightweight woven interfacing on the button placket using a damp tea towel between the fabric and iron as I usually would, and this didn't cause any damage to the speckles on the right side.


Only the first three buttons are functional and were sewn on the machine without the walking foot and again I had no issues with the machine.

My very first attempt with double gauze fabric was terrible, and although my finished garment is wearable, all I can see are the many flaws and mistakes. The standard of my stitching was awful, the hems were puckered, the fabric had stretched in places, not one section of the stitching was even or neat and don't get me started on the topstitching!

The main issue with my previous attempt was the bunching and puckering of the fabric, I think this is due to the fabric being made up of two thin layers and the open weave meaning it moves more than structured woven fabrics.
 
I cannot believe the difference just a couple of changes can make! A massive factor I think that helped was my walking foot. I will no longer shy away from this gorgeous lightweight summer fabric. I can see some lovely tops, shirts and dresses in the future. Ddouble gauze flows beautifully and my daughter loved dancing in the wind wearing it.

Blog written by Jade Foster

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