For my t-shirts and knit items I mostly use Australian made cotton/spandex knit. It's manufactured here in Sydney. I've been using this fabric for a few years now. Me, Moo and Will all have clothes made out it, so I know it holds up with lots of wearing and washing. I really like the quality of the fabric and the colours available. The organic cotton/spandex knit that I dye also comes from this manufacturer. Most of the printed knits that I use are Hilco or Stenzo. I do sometime use some knit prints from American sources like the dress I made for Moo the other day.
Wovens are more of a mixed bag. My white poplin comes from a wholesaler, and it is made in China. I sometimes buy wovens from Spotlight and of course, I buy European wovens. I also have some designer quilting cottons that I use. I personally find a decent printed poplin from Spotlight washes and wears better than some quilting cottons. Poplins wrinkle less than quilting fabrics. I love corduroy, and buy and use a variety. If Spotlight has a cute cord, I will buy it. I also really like Robert Kaufman Cool Cords and the corduroy from Stenzo and Hilco is fantastic.
I prewash and tumble dry my fabrics to ensure that you get minimal shrinkage.
I stabilise the shoulder seams with stay tape. This is probably over engineering for a child's top, but it's the scientist in me coming out.
I topstitch seams where appropriate. I do this for stability and sometimes as a design feature.
Because I construct most t-shirts in the flat, it is necessary to tack down the seams
I use quality supplies. Most of the threads are Gutermann or Mettler. I do have a few spools of Rasant around. For machine embroidery I use Isacord threads.
I buy good quality elastic from the wholesaler. Most of my embroidery stabilisers are OESD or Gutermann. My mother always told me to use good quality items because it wasn't worth it to use cheap stuff. She said, "why would you invest your time in sewing a garment to then have it not hold up or look nice because of inferior materials?"
When I sew items to sell, they are the same as I would make for me and my family.
I'm sure many home sewists like to ignore the labour. I have always under calculated it. I probably still do.
Many of the items that I make are multi-coloured. This has several implications.
- I have to pull out and cut the appropriate pieces from each colour of fabric. For a rainbow long sleeve Antonia I have to cut 15 pieces.
- If I cut a bunch of pieces, I have to sew them together.
- Each time that I topstitch, I change thread colours to match. A rainbow Redondo skirt uses 6 different colours of thread.
Sewing on ribbons, patches and other bits takes time to get the right placement.
And now as I analyse what I do, I realise that I rarely take into account the design process: the picking of fabrics, embroideries and trims and the thread colour selection for the embroideries.
Why have I written this essay? Perhaps it's a bit of a justification of the price and also to give some insight into my process.
All willow & moo items are handmade by me with love and care with the intention of bringing some colour and fun into your home.