Du Barry 5172 – a.k.a. The Shredded Shirt

Oy! Where to begin. I am having some major issues with my shirt. I have used a fabric I am not completely comfortable with to start. It will be great when it’s done, if I don’t wash a car with it first. Does anyone have any pointers on sewing with a very loosely woven, floppy, fabric?  The fabric content is a total mystery too. I initially thought it was cotton however when looked at under a light it has a slight sheen to it. It may have been curtain fabric in a past life but I reassigned it to shirting against its own better judgement.


• Meet the Author • Always Alice

I'm a self taught seamstress with only a couple of years under my belt. I love to sew from 1940s and 1950s patterns and try to work a little vintage into my modern life. Each garment helps me get closer to creating and designing well constructed and original garments.

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8 comments… add one

  • It’s hard to tell based on ‘shininess’ because of different finishing techniques/chemicals.
    Have you done a burn test? If you haven’t tried it before, this might be helpful for you:
    As far as sewing with loosely woven fabrics the only advice i have is to be careful in the finishing of your seams. French seams or flat-felled seams both work great.

  • If it’s shifting around too much, maybe you could try some spray starch. It might help a little.

  • *Head-slap!* oh man, why did i not think of spray starch!?

    I’ll try the burn test too, and if it goes up in a rush of flames i’ll be sure to take a pic! hehehehe

  • Another idea might be to iron it on to a lightweight washaway fusing, the sort they use in quilting or machine embroidering.

  • I agree with A.J.A. above, as long as you are careful to keep the grain straight when you starch it up, that will make the shiftiness quite a bit easier to deal with – means you’ll have to wash it (or at least ‘break’ the starch) before you wear it the first time but this is a great idea.

  • wait, wait, wait, washaway fusing? Sounds like a Jetson’s miracle product. I must find this and try it out. Thanks so much guys!! This just makes me realize how much I still have left to learn and it seems daunting.

  • Also put a little slice of lightweight fusible interfacing in the seamlines right where the stitching lines are. That will reinforce the seams and prevent them from pulling out when you wear it.

  • Aha Ladies, if you are having this much trouble sewing, just think of what the beautiful fabric will do when you wear it……My thoughts from my costuming days…underlining. Yes, the trick of the ages letting the fashion fabric stand on solid ground. I would suggest trying a nice cotton voile for comfort, a silk chiffon, or in a pinch some of that great super fine netting so common around holloween (but watch the seams, this is best used when you can do a small french seam.


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