This post is a sponsored collaboration with JOANN. All opinions, and obsessions with bold prints, are my own.
I didn’t know I was looking for the largest gingham print a girl could dream of, but when I found it, I knew it was meant to be. A whirlwind of options consumed my mind. What would I make with this taffeta fabric? A shirt? A dress? Statement curtains? A small sail for a boat???
I ended up overwhelmed with ideas. Finally, I pinned it on one of my dressforms so it could at least be on display. Weeks passed; and everyday as I walked into my craft room, I saw the fabric draped around my dressform like a maxi skirt. In a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy, that’s exactly what I decided to make from it.
DISCLAIMER: I realize that this fabric technically isn’t gingham. It’s actually a black and white buffalo print. But to my eyes, and many of your eyes out there, it comes across as more of a gingham. In this post, I will refer to it as “gingham” for this reason.
For the skirt, I wanted to use a pattern I was already familiar with. So I went with Simplicity 8328. I’ve used it twice before–to make this rust satin skirt (same pattern under a different name), and this embellished lace overlay.
I’ll admit, I have never worked with taffeta before. I remember my mom complaining about it when I was younger, and I have been scared ever since. When I saw the gingham fabric, I had no idea it was taffeta until I read the label. I wasn’t going to let a challenging fabric stop me from embracing this amazing print. I’m glad I went with it, because it actually wasn’t very hard to use.
From my experience, I’m going to share a few tips for sewing with taffeta. I hope this helps you feel comfortable purchasing this fantastic gingham print!
Tips for Sewing With Taffeta
- When beginning any new sewing project, you should always use a new sewing machine needle. This is especially true for taffeta as it tends to pucker. Don’t use a ballpoint needle. A standard needle for light fabrics, like a size 80/11, is great.
- Ditch the sewing pins, and use clips instead (these Wonder Clips are my favorite). Taffeta is decently sturdy, so it can be hard to push dull pins through. It can also be marked easily by pin holes. If you do have to use pins, please use new/sharp fine sewing pins and only pin in the seam allowance.
- The most stressful part of sewing with taffeta is the unraveling. This fabric WILL fray if you aren’t careful. I serged all my raw edges. If you don’t have a serger, you can do french seams, overcasted edges, pinking shears, or fray check if you’re desperate. I didn’t have any huge issues with fraying because I stayed on top of my game.
- Hold your fabric taut as it goes through your machine. This prevents puckering and gives you extra control.
- Prewash your fabric. Sewing with taffeta is great. Sewing with taffeta only to have it shrink and not fit after isn’t. Run it through a quick cycle. You may want to serge the raw edges first–there should only be two since the selvage edges are already fray-proof.
That was a lot of info. Here’s the condensed tips for sewing with taffeta for your convenience.
I also recommend using a simple pattern the first time you’re sewing with taffeta. The less complicated the pattern, the less unraveling and other issues you’ll face. Simplicity was pretty good for this because there were only 2 pattern pieces for this skirt–the waistband that you cut out twice (1 fabric + 1 interfacing) and the skirt piece you cut 3 of.
If you guys have any helpful tips for sewing with taffeta, please comment them below! I’m sure glad I finally gave it a try.