When the Fabric Talks Too Loud – Literally

It’s a good thing when your fabric “speaks” to you cerebrally, thereby successfully turning itself into a lovely garment.

Certain fabrics talk so loudly and literally, that you can be heard approaching from afar while wearing same garment.

What are these fabrics? Not sure I can classify them, but I can pinpoint some specific ones.

Some, but not all, very tightly woven cottons.

From the Anthropologie website.

Ever listen to a crisp, bottomweight cotton flap? I did, when my daughter bought and wore a pair of trendy wide leg pants in a tightly woven cotton. I could hear her approaching from the other end of the house. That piece got returned in a hurry. Then there’s the beautiful printed cotton I was gifted by a dear friend — after pre-washing and drying, the piece is still a noise-maker — and I’m not sure why, because it’s a light/medium weight cotton. I love it, though, and considering a chic pajama set; that way, the noise stays in the house.

Taffeta: the rustler-in-chief.

1950s dress by Manuel Pertegaz.

A taffeta rustle is legendary, manifested in poetic descriptions of evening gowns. The taffeta rustle is a thing of beauty and I wouldn’t change a thing….

Corduroy: okay, stop it. A corduroy’s famous swooshing happens when two layers of it rub against one another. Such as, in pant legs, especially in the inner thigh area. I know because I experienced it, and continued to wear my purple 1970s pants until the inner thigh corduroy was tamed into silence — it got rubbed down. However, I have sewn corduroy for my little girls —- including a dress as well as a boiler suit, which were adorable; sorry, I cannot find the photos to include in this post.

Patent leather or plastic, Did you dare to make or buy wearable garments with it? It’s suitable for rainwear, but can be kinda noisy; however, it’s worn outside so the sound is diffused.

This rolled-up-in-a-drawer Tahari raincoat used to be a chic piece. It is lined, which diffuses the noisy properties. It’s polyurethane, and therefore has disintegrated under the arms and some other high stress areas.

Fabric noise has been the butt of jokes in polite company (quiet snickers and raised eyebrows) and on long-running sitcoms for all to laugh loudly. If you’ve watched a certain Seinfeld episode in Season 5, you’ll know what I mean; George’s brand new, much coveted, highly discounted, job interview suit is a noise-maker. Of course, hilarity ensued.

So, what do you do with beautiful material that is noisy? I’m not sure. Pre-washing the fabric (if viable), because the noise may be due to too much sizing in the manufacturing process. Failing the pre-wash, change the garment design to a closely fitted one. The less noisy-fabric hanging loosely from your body, the less fabric there is to flap around against your body and against itself. Didn’t help George Constanza, though. Or, my purple cords from the ‘70s. How about lining the piece so there is some softening. Any ideas?

Dear friends, I have been sewing but not much for myself. It’s just that stuff gets in the way. But I will keep sharing my fashion and sewing thoughts and ideas with you — as much as i can. Love you all…. Mwah.


3 thoughts on “When the Fabric Talks Too Loud – Literally

  1. I auditioned rainwear fabrics for noise, and found the quietest one was (runs off to find swatch book) two ply Ultrex.(also the quietest broom , leaf blower, etc etc, as the Ex was very sensitive to other people’s sounds). The new raincoat is going to be noisier, because I wanted the ripstop print more than I needed it to be quiet. No sneaking up on folks for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always love reading your comments! Thank you for that. You are right in that the visuals (print) must give way to the audial. This is clothing — it’s the visuals that matter. Especially in outer wear.


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