Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An Ode to Ugly Fabric

I love ugly fabric. First and foremost because it's the underdog. It just sits there, in the store or at home, on a shelf, being pathetic and catching dust. It can be hard to believe that someone somewhere actually took the time to dream it up, design it, and then manufacture it. The Faux Patchwork in Primary Colors. The Pink and Green Tiger Stripe Courduroy. The Peter Max Exploded on Polyester Double Knit.

It comes from all over; if you sew, you know that Ugly Fabric will find you. Sometimes it arrives in a bag along with a person who just knows "you'll use this." Sometimes it sneaks its way into your cart at the fabric store (it will make an interesting tote bag). Sometimes, honestly, it's just too cheap to leave behind. But however it got there, now it's staring at you and you have no idea what on earth to do with it.

Make friends with your Ugly Fabric. First of all, you know you can't make it worse. Really. Is there one thing that you just never got the hang of? Sacrifice your UF for the greater good. Make a placket. Learn welted pockets. Install five styles of zippers. Break out the decorative stitches that you never use on that fancy machine. Learn the machine blind hem. Teach yourself the art of fiber determination (that one's fun!). Let your friendly neighborhood Budding Crafter learn the art of Sock Monkeys.

Ugly Fabric can make a great interfacing. Or stabilizer. Or jacket lining. I have found more than one UF that turned out to be Fun and Funky when cut into bias strips and used as piping or seam binding; those awful daisies become abstract color blotches when you take them out of context.

In short, Ugly Fabric will never let you down. Silks, satins, chiffon; they have all promised you amazing outcomes but in the end have been a tangled heap in the bottom of your to-do pile. Ugly Fabric promises nothing but can give you amazing results. So play with it! Learn from it! What do you have to loose? It's already Ugly!

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