Nappy or smooth?
December 9, 2016 1:08 PM   Subscribe

I'm making myself a new winter coat out of dark brown cashmere suiting. The fabric has a nappy side (left swatch) and a smooth side (right swatch) and I'm not *quite* sure which is the right side of the fabric.

Ordinarily the smoother side would be the right side, the selvage seems to indicate that the smooth side is the right side, and the store owner who sold it to me folded it smooth side in (fabric is usually folded right side in when sold off a bolt by those who know fabric), so I'm pretty sure the smooth side is the right side, but this is the first time I've ever worked with woven cashmere, this project is an expensive and time-consuming one, and it's my first new winter coat in ten years, so I want to be absolutely sure I'm working with the right side. What say you, sewers of Metafilter?
posted by orange swan to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My cashmere blend coat has the smooth or brushed side facing out.

Can you ask the shop owner to double-check?

Good luck!
posted by mlo at 1:20 PM on December 9, 2016

Oh dear, I have a very similar grey fabric, and my friend and I violently disagree which side is right or wrong, and have not yet come to a decision. (I think smooth, she thinks nappy. The shop said that the smooth was correct, but friend has been sewing for 40 years and thinks that the shop is wrong.) Sometimes the fabric is refolded when taken off the bolt, too. Is there any color differential? I.e., is the color more interesting on one side or another (swirls, etc.) that the other side doesn't have? Is there any wording or color circles on the selvage? Oh, I feel your pain, sorry I can't be of more help. (I'd go with smooth too if I had to pick, for the same reason as mlo.)
posted by Melismata at 1:40 PM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'd also go by the direction of the selvedge, but as long as you're careful to be consistent, is there any technical reason you couldn't just pick your preferred texture as the right side?
posted by yeahlikethat at 2:24 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

The brushed (left swatch in the picture) side is the right side, but if you prefer the non-finished side go with that.
posted by Stonkle at 2:46 PM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Smooth, definitely
posted by mmf at 3:13 PM on December 9, 2016

I agree with everyone who said smooth.

Of course, this is your project, so if you like the look of the un-brushed side, then use that as the RS. It's gorgeous fabric!
posted by Lycaste at 3:45 PM on December 9, 2016

Probably the smooth side, but I mean. I've used the wrong side of fabric on purpose before so I'm throwing no shade if you choose to do it the other way. It's your coat, you should do what you prefer.
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:04 PM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'm not much of a seamster but can't think of a single reason that you shouldn't consider whichever side you prefer aesthetically as the "right" side.
posted by 256 at 6:52 PM on December 9, 2016

I feel strongly that it is smooth, just from my personal experience with clothesmaking and clothesbuying.
posted by stoneandstar at 7:22 PM on December 9, 2016

I say compromise with a smooth coat overall with the unfinished side for the lapels
posted by rhizome at 7:54 PM on December 9, 2016

It's entirely up to your preference. The coat will probably be slightly warmer if the smooth side is outside, but (if unlined) the nappy interior will also tend to catch more on your garments. If you choose the nappy side as the exterior, pay close attention to which way the nap runs when you cut the pieces. The usual advice is to cut all the pieces in the same nap direction, but you can get interesting color effects by selectively reversing some.

If you haven't made the pattern before, do make a muslin first to work out any fitting or construction issues. Yes, it's extra work, but it can save you a lot of grief.
posted by Weftage at 6:29 AM on December 10, 2016

I came to suggest something similar to rhizome - I would try to leverage both sides for textural interest.

I have lots of pets and would be concerned the rougher side would be harder to keep hair off of, so would mainly use smooth to the outside. But I really like using some of the rough side out for details.
posted by hilaryjade at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2016

I began to sew the coat on Saturday, and I chose to go with [drum roll please] the smooth side as the right side. The selvage definitely looked better on that side. And given how the nappy side responds to being stitched (i.e., it acquires bald spots!), I am confident that I chose the correct side.

Thanks all!
posted by orange swan at 9:39 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]

And by the way, I finished the coat if anyone would like to see how it turned out.
posted by orange swan at 8:35 AM on August 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

« Older Your favorite project-based subscription boxes   |   Latest Local Foods Films - recommendations needed Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.