Have you Discovered Double Gauze Fabric Yet?
Whilst it isn’t a new type of fabric, it has, until recently, been something of secret amongst sewers, with just a handful of manufacturers making this super soft and breathable fabric. This year however, it has exploded onto the scene with many of the top design houses producing their own ranges, including Riley Blake, Robert Kaufman and Michael Miller.
Double gauze originated in Japan where dressmakers were looking for a lightweight, breathable fabric to make clothes from, which would work well in hot weather. A single layer of gauze, like that used in bandages, was seen as the ideal weight for summer clothes and with a loose weave sewers recognised that the fabric would allow the air to flow around their skin, keeping them cool. The problem was that when used in a single layer it lacked any weight at all and so did not drape in a pleasing way, due to the loose weave it stretched out of shape easily and it was often very see through.
The solution was to weave two separate layers of gauze at the same time, weaving them together at regular intervals to create a single fabric. The resulting double gauze fabric is:
- still very lightweight, but has just enough weight to drape softly,
- very cool to wear, with the loose weave still allowing the air to circulate,
- very, very soft – with a touch me and cuddle me quality,
- a fabric which is no longer very see through.
The image below shows you a close up of the back of Michael Miller’s double gauze, you can see the criss cross pattern created by the weaving process. Depending on your fabric’s colour and pattern, this is more or less visible on the front side (it is never more than on the back). Once sewn into a blanket, garment or quilt, this criss cross pattern is not visible to the eye – the main image at the top of this post is the right side of the fabric below, if you look very closely you can make out the criss cross pattern, but you have to look very closely.
How Easy is it to Sew With Double Gauze?
Prepare it correctly and you can treat double gauze pretty much as regular cotton. The drape is looser so if you like very crisp corners when quilting then this won’t be the fabric for you, but with the right treatment and where appropriate interfacing, it can be used for any sewing project, dressmaking, quilting, even curtains and blinds!
Follow our top tips for sewing with double gauze below, and you will have no issues, and we are sure you will be delighted with the results – the look and feel!
- Don’t forget to prewash your fabrics, just as with regular cotton.
- If you are using interfacing iron the interfacing onto the fabric BEFORE tracing and cutting your pattern shapes. The loose weave of the fabric coupled with the action of ironing can lead to fabrics losing their shape, attaching the interfacing first will remove this possibility and instantly stabilize your fabric.
- If you are not using interfacing, spray your fabrics with starch first, this will temporarily stiffen the fabrics, stopping them from stretching out of shape.
- Once you have cut your pattern pieces stay stitch everything! Until you have finished sewing your item the fabric will remain fragile and will easily pull out of shape. Running around the edges of your fabric pieces with a basting stitch close to the edge will stabilize the fabrics and almost completely eliminate this problem. Once I have stay stitched I start breathing again! From this point on I know it will be difficult to pull the fabrics out of shape.
- Do not iron your fabrics from left to right (before they are sewn together) as this will stretch the fabrics, instead press the fabrics, by lifting the iron up and down, moving across the fabric as you go.
- Don’t pull the fabrics through your sewing machine, just gently guide them, again avoiding stretching.
- Use a longer stitch length, size 3-3.5 is ideal, this will reduce the risk of stretching and if you have to unpick you will be less likely to stress the fabric.
- If you are dressmaking and some parts of the garment are going to have interfacing attached and some not (apart from just collars and cuffs), for example if the facing has interfacing attached, we recommend attaching interfacing to everything. We recently made a tank top with facing from the shoulders half way down the bust, when on, particularly in the evening, you could see the line between the interfaced section and parts without interfacing. If you are worried that adding the interfacing all over the fabric will take away all that is beautiful about double gauze, don’t be, the fabric remained super soft, like a second skin, and if anything the interfacing improved the overall finish.
- If you have large darts in your garment, cut them open and iron the dart’s seam allowance open, half on each side of the dart. We found that large darts, ironed in one direction, add enough weight to slightly pull the garment down and sag at the seam (we are being particularly picky, but this is so easy to avoid!).
I hope this list hasn’t scared you, as long as you follow these steps this fabric will come together as planned and we are sure you will be pleased with the results. If you have had your fingers burnt sewing with knits and are worried that you will get to the end of piece A only to find it no longer lines up with piece B, don’t be, double gauze is sooo much easier to work with than knits!
Please do share your dos and don’ts with us – we love to hear about your experiences 🙂 and visit our Pinterest board (click on the image below) for links to lots of free patterns and inspiring images.