Throw out your fears with these tips for sewing tricky fabrics like latex, wet look and other rubber coated knits.
I found the purrrrrfect fabric in NYC’s garment district, a wet look knit. The outside is shiny rubber and the inside is a poly knit. The problem is that this fabric can make any kitty hiss and claw. I have a good amount of experience working with this sticky, stubborn stuff.
The biggest tips before you begin are to do your research, practice on scraps, know you’re committed, and be determined to put in the time. I also find the not giving a damn attitude found so often in cats helpful.
Problems include skipping stitches randomly. It sews great at first and then for no reason, boom, it stops stitching or sticks to your machine or sticks to itself. And once those stitches are in they are forever marked!
Tips for sewing. A Teflon sewing foot glides right over this stuff. If the sticky side faces your needle plate, use tissue paper or news paper inbetween your machine and the sticky side. You can sew right through the paper and rip it off after. Some suggested baby powder although I wouldn’t risk it damaging my machine. Another way to avoid skipped stitches is to use a serger. If you use a regular sewing machine, as with all knits, use a zig-zag stitch or your favorite stretch stitch. Don’t worry about hemming, this fabric doesn’t fray and no one will notice. Use clips because pins will leave holes.
And fit, oh fit issues! Fit will vary from fabric to fabric depending on it’s stretch, this makes sizing a guessing game. Know that no matter what your size and height are, every garment maker has to make adjustments to the pattern. Cut a larger size than you think you will need. It is easy to take in and you will not have to remove stitches. Fit every step along the way.
Mistakes. I should’ve baste stitched the neckline first. Because I didn’t I had to rip serger stitches and reset my neck, a rookie mistake. I cut extra small in the lower calves, a medium in the rear and a small in the waist and top. The calves had to be ripped out leaving visible perforation needle marks. The small top and arms were too big and needed to taken in. I’ve made the mask three times, wanna guess why? Hiss!
I still haven’t solved my last problem and I could use some suggestions right meow – the suit makes rubber noises when I walk?
All and all, I’m still purrrrrrrr-ty pleased with how my Catwoman suit came out.
Behind the scenes ~
People that sew will often buy fabric as a souvenir while traveling to remember the occasion. While in NYC we went to the Met and saw the In America A Lexicon of Fashion, The Kimono Style Exhibit, The Museum at FIT, Mood and of course all the little fabric shops around the garment district.
Thank you for reading,
Dream it! Sew it!