The first thing you need in order to start any sewing project is fabric. It seems simple enough, but there are countless types of fabric and blends of fabric out there. When creating medieval clothing, it is best to work with natural fabrics like wool, linen, and cotton- not just because they are more accurate than a cheap polyester blend, but because they actually breathe better and keep you from freezing in the winter and overheating in the summer.
I’ll admit that I’m far from an expert on the subject, but I’ve found it to be very true and extremely vital. Here is a great rundown on the benefits and disadvantages of each: Dagorhir Web Forum: Natural Fabric Advice
There are also some wonderful links included in the post. I’ve started a list in the right column of this site with some links and sites that I’ve found useful. I’ll keep adding to it as time goes on and I discover new things.
After you obtain your fabric, the next step (especially with natural fabrics) is to wash it up. Natural fibers with shrink a good deal when you first wash them. The worst thing that could happen is that you spend hours creating the perfect garment and then the first time you wash it, it shrinks and no longer fits. The solution? Wash and dry your fabric on the hottest cycle that you can in order to get the most amount of shrinking out of them from the start.
Another great tip for fabrics that tend to unravel, like linen and cotton, is to zig-zag all the edges of the fabric first before you wash it. This will keep all of the newly freed threads from wrapping around the fabric and your washer. You don’t want to break your washer or leave your fabric ridiculously wrinkled. To zig-zag the fabric, just set your machine to the maximum length and width and run a stitch around all the cut edges to keep them from fraying. It should look like this:
Pinking shears are another great tool to keep fabric from unravelling, but we’ll get to that later.
So we’ve acquired fabric and prepared it for use. What next? Before you start hacking your fabric into a million pieces, there are a few more things you will want to compile. I’ll go over those in my next post.