We’re focusing on fun summer fabrics all month long! Gauze is one of our favorite summer fabrics to sew. From swaddle cloths for babies to fashionable garments, accessories and quilts, double gauze fabric is a delight to use and wear. It is also fun and easy to sew, with a few special techniques and tips.
BY CAROL ZENTGRAF
Find the full article in Sew News June/July 2017.
Learning about the construction of a fabric type can help you understand its attributes, its uses and any special techniques that may be needed to work with that fabric. To make single-layer gauze fabric, a Leno weave is used, created by twisting two warp yarns in a figure eight design around the weft yarns. If you look closely, you’ll see that one of these warp yarns is slightly heavier than the other. These twisted yarns grip tightly to the weft, preventing the threads from slipping and resulting in a loosely-woven fabric that is lightweight, yet durable. Double gauze is exactly what the name implies—two layers of gauze fabric. The layers are basted together at regular intervals with tiny stitches that are barely visible from the right side. With these two layers performing as one, double gauze offers more coverage and is easier to work with than single-layer gauze, while maintaining its super-soft hand.
PATTERN & PROJECT SELECTION
Because it is lightweight and breathable, double gauze is perfect for summer garments such as gorgeous dresses, tops, skirts and flowing pants. It is also soft and cozy, making it ideal for comfortable loungewear for any season. In addition to garments, consider double gauze for swaddle and baby blankets, scarves, wraps, pillow covers and quilts. You can use double gauze for most clothing patterns that are designed for woven fabrics. However, because of its softness and drape, it is better suited for softer, less structured styles than tailored looks.
CUTTING & MARKING
The layers of double gauze can shift during cutting, making it slightly slippery to cut. For best results, use sharp scissors or a rotary cutter with a new blade to cut. If desired, spray the fabric lightly with spray starch and/or press it for ease in cutting and sewing. Laundering the finished garment will remove the starch and restore the crinkly look. The loose weave also snags easily, so pin securely with fine, sharp pins. Mark notches rather than cutting them to ensure that they don’t get lost in the loose weave of the fabric. Use tailor’s tacks and basting stitches for darts and other pattern markings.
To set up your machine for sewing double gauze, use a new size 70 needle, 50 wt. thread and a longer stitch length, as a short stitch length may result in pulling and puckering.
A standard presser foot is fine for sewing layers of gauze together. For projects that require you to sew double gauze to a different fabric, a walking foot will ensure even feeding of unlike fabrics and textures.
Follow these tips for construction:
• Finish the fabric raw edges with serging or zigzag stitches before sewing or plan to finish the seams to prevent raveling.
• Pin layers together using closely spaced pins to prevent the edges from shifting (2).
• Use a light tension on your presser foot to keep the fabric from stretching as you sew.
• Stitch slowly—gauze fabric isn’t suitable for speed stitching as it may result in puckered seams. It can be tricky to remove stitches without catching the fabric, so it’s best to be careful to begin with.
• Staystitch seamlines on necklines and along zipper openings to prevent stretching.