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How to use narrow (18”) brocade?

Started by Thylacinus, November 08, 2022, 06:14:25 PM

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I am looking for fabric for my first proper steampunk costume project. I was looking for brocade fabric for a mini-bustle, and the local charity shop has some nice embroidered fabric (brocade?)  but it is only 18 inches wide. (My pattern calls for 44" fabric.)

The fabric is pretty enough that I would buy it for my stash if I could find some use for it, ideally draped somehow over a longer skirt. Is this worth pursuing, or is this width not that useful? They are selling a bit over 5 yards of the stuff.

Cora Courcelle

Well the first thing that springs to mind is BUY IT!
Because all good fabric deserves to be in someone's stash, and if it can't be in mine ....
On a more practical note, although the pattern calls for 44" do the individual pieces of pattern actually need this width?  Also can you 'piece' the fabric to make it wide enough (pattern matching if necessary)? This is a long established and very traditional way of laying on pattern pieces; if the bustle is gathered and draped this will also help to disguise any untoward seams.
Finally it's a charity shop so your money will help a good cause even if you don't use it.
Happy sewing.

You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...


Thanks, I bought it! I just needed someone to encourage me to do what I wanted to do anyway.  ;)

I think I'll save that particular fabric for spring, but in the meantime I still want to try to make my original project idea.  I'd like to advance my *very* basic sewing skills with a "learning project," and my current idea is to make the short jacket and "bustle" (which is sort of a pancake on the bum) from the pattern below and combine that with a longish A-line skirt with a ruffle stuck on the hem. There are probably all sorts of good reasons that no one seems to have made this pattern, but I understand the basic construction of the jacket (princess seam) so I might be able to manage it.


I strongly agree with the previous, one piece fabric is a relatively modern luxury, i had the same concern for my medieval knights gowns back in the days, until i realized that they did not even used that large sheets of fabric in medieval time!  :)

Synistor 303

If you are not an experienced sew-person (sewer always looks odd...) then I would suggest you do a trial run with a cheap (but wearable!) fabric first before you use the brocade. You can also then lay out the pieces on the brocade to see if you have enough fabric, and to work out where you may have to sew two smaller pieces together to make the pattern fit. (Hopefully the brocade has an all-over pattern as it will make it easier than a one-way pattern.) !! I have a few pieces of outrageous brocade in my stash which are sadly too small to do anything with. But I'm keeping them!

Go slowly - and double check that you are sewing the right sides together. I made a lovely wool/fabric lined blazer once, and almost ruined it when I attached one of the lining sleeves inside out. I should have pulled it apart and corrected it, but it had taken me so long to make that I just couldn't bring myself to fix it, and it bothered me forever after... Don't be me!

Cora Courcelle

Of course you can't consider yourself a proper stitcher until you have:
a) set in a pair of sleeves the wrong way round
b) put in a zip back to front
c) cut out a pattern and discovered that, inexplicably, you have at least one extra front piece and no backs!

My dear Synistor have you considered making reticules and fan bags out of your beautiful brocades, or do you prefer to just quietly gloat over them?  (You have to be a fabric fan to understand ....)
You have to tread a fine line between avant-garde surrealism and getting yourself sectioned...

Synistor 303

You want me to cut my brocade? Oh the horror!*shudder*

It will stay firmly in my stash, probably to be thrown out by my children, or maybe, just maybe it will be donated to an Op-shop and some other person who appreciates such things will buy it for their stash.

...And so it continues...


One thing You can do is to add different fabric to the missing sides and the brocade in the center.
Like if the Brocade is black and gold You can add thinner gold or black fabric to the sides, like black velvet or something else of Your decicion, same thing with other colours, if You hawe to buy fabric You can probably bring it to the shop and ask if You can look at which one will match so it looks good.
Most important, Have fun!  :)