For my springtime shirt made with McCall’s 6044, I’m using some pink seersucker fabric I picked up at Joann Fabrics, during one of their many sales.
This fabric is challenging to me in two ways:
- It’s a plaid, so it will require careful matching to get everything to line up nicely
- It’s seersucker, which presents challenges in cutting, interfacing and pressing.
This is my first time sewing with seersucker, so I consulted the Great Google for advice. Here’s a summary of what I found:
- The puckers are actually woven in to the fabric.
- Some cheap seersucker, however, is chemically treated to make the puckers and they will flatten and lose texture over time.
- If you iron seersucker, and then launder, the puckers are supposed to come back.
The care instructions on the bolt at Joann’s say you shouldn’t iron the fabric.
So I decided to test this theory. After doing a test layout to make sure I have enough fabric to cut my pieces even including plaid-matching, I cut a small (4×4 inch or 10x10cm) swatch of the fabric to test.
Here’s the fabric right after cutting and before ironing.
The puckers are noticeably flattened out after I went after the fabric with a hot iron and lots of steam.
After laundering, lo and behold the puckers returned:
Set back next to the original fabric, other than the fraying it looks like the texture is still the same:
Next, I decided to try some fusible interfacing to see how that affected the seersucker.
There’s still a little bit of pucker left, but by and large the seersucker is much flatter after the fusible interfacing has been applied:
For my project, I will be using sew-in interfacing, rather than fusible, so the seersucker will retain its unique sucker-y texture. I’ve worked with sew-in interfacing previously, while making pajamas, so it isn’t all that intimidating or inconvenient to me.
Update: Some readers are wondering if seersucker has a right side and a wrong side. Based on my experience with this sample, I think the answer is yes. Careful inspection shows the pattern on one side of my plaid fabric to be just a little bit more vivid than the other side. But the difference is subtle. So I’ve selected the more vivid side as the right side, and I’ve been careful to mark the wrong sides of my pattern pieces during cutting.
In our next installment, we’ll be adjusting arm sleeves on the pattern, and maybe we’ll have a discussion on plaid matching.