Sewing with washed and unwashed waffle weave fabric is super easy but can look very daunting especially when washed. This article is going to help give you all the tips and confidence boosters you'll need to achieve your Waffle Weave Goals!
I experimented with some waffle weave that I had on hand and listed my tips and tricks according to whether my fabric was washed or not, and if I was hemming or seaming. I showed off what gave me the best results, but be sure to play around with the fabric and sew a few test seams and hems to see what gives you the best results.
Hemming and Bias Binding Unwashed Fabric
For hemming or applying bias binding to unwashed Waffle fabric for towels see THIS awesome Tutorial by Rima on The Thread Blog:
Fringing Unwashed fabric
Don't try fringing the washed fabric... you're gonna have a bad time (or maybe just a long time and a lot of fluff). The cotton and linen fibers bloom and fluff up for a cuddly textured fabric, but that means bad news if you want to fringe the washed fabric. Pulling threads to create a fringe is no easy task since each thread is likely to catch or knot in the weave, it is possible, it will just take longer and produce more fluff while you're doing it.
If you can, fringe your fabric before washing.
Simply sew a zig-zag or two straight lines of stitching along the edge of your fabric. The distance from the edge of your fabric will be the length of your desired fringe. Want a 1" fringe? Sew 1" or more away from your raw edge:
Then, pull away the threads that run parallel to your stitching line... and you're done! Now you can wash your waffle fabric!
Hemming with mitered corners
If you would prefer to use a mitered corner when hemming your waffle weave fabric you can do this! We encourage you to use a wider hem allowance of at least 3/4" + 3/4" (for the double fold). This allows the fabric to fluff up, but not distort the neat corner seam or add extra bulk.
You can sew the mitered corner on the unwashed and washed fabrics. To learn how to do a mitered corner, see our blog article HERE.
Hemming washed fabric
When hemming your waffle weave fabric, the waffle-weave grid is your best friend. I found that folding up one square, then turning up again approximately 1" or about 3 squares left me with the best results.
Again, you can use a longer stitch length, pinning carefully, and even using a strip of tear away made hemming a breeze.
Seaming washed fabric
You may find a longer stitch length to help you keep your seams from stretching.
I Sewed two sample seams on the same size strips below. A stitch length of 2.5mm was used for the strip on the left, while a 3.5mm stitch length was used for the one on the right. As you can see the one on the left is significantly stretched out and slightly curved.
Be sure to sew a test strip to experiment with the right stitch length for you.
Using tear away
You can also cut tear-away stabilizer into strips and pin this along your seams.
Remember longer pins like quilting pins are really helpful with this fabric since the smaller dressmakers pins are much smaller and can be a bit of a pain to get through all the layers of fabric neatly.
Sew over the tear away to help keep the fabric underneath it in place. Then once you have sewn your seam, gently tear away the stabilizer.
When serging seam allowances, if you have a machine with a differential feed, you can use this to tighten the stitching resulting in a smoother seam without waviness:
You can see the difference on the following swatch, the left side was left as standard, and the right-hand side had the differential on my machine set to 2.0, goodbye waves!
No differential feed? No worries, just use some tear away.
Open felled seams
In the image above, you may be able to just make out the seam was open flat-felled from the right side. The results are very nice from the right side.
Felling seams can be a little tricky using this fabric since they won't fold over with a nice crisp fold. I found that using a larger seam allowance (about 1") then finger pressing my seams to fold them yielded the best results.
One side definitely turned out better than the other one here.
I found french seams much easier to manage if using a wider seam allowance. I used a total of 3/4" seam allowances or 2 x 3/8". After the first seam was sewn, I trimmed away about 1/8" before sewing the second seam.
Not sure how to french seam? Check out our tutorial on the blog HERE
A note about Coverstitch machines
If you're lucky enough to have a coverstitch machine, you can use this to sew your seams and hems with ease since these machines work great with stretch fabrics and fabrics that like to get all wavy!
I don't have a coverstitch machine, but a customer of ours did mention that she had great success using hers, and she took some time to play around with the features her machine had to get the best results.
Have a coverstitch machine and have some tips? Please comment below to share!
Not sure whether to wash your fabric first? Or sew first, wash later? Read our handy article on the topic HERE