by:  Roselyn Gadia-Smitley


Photo1:  Double Knit Polyester Fabrics. Double knit polyester fabrics scan by author.

In the 1970's I spent my teen years in Los Angeles, California.  Through the wonder of television, I watched Bionic Woman, Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, and Little House on the Prairie.  My mother liked to watch Cher, Lawrence Welk, Donnie & Marie, Tom Jones, and Englebert Humperdink.  I watched my mother's favorite shows, not for its contents but for the clothing that were featured.  Two television shows that we both liked were Bionic Woman and Little House on the Prairie.

When I stumbled on the Bionic Woman Doll on a fashion doll lot purchase from in 2010, I begun to look closely at the fabrics that were utilized for her clothes.  At present, I have two used clothing ensemble that are original to the doll: (1) the first issue,  jogging jacket and cargo pants ensemble and (2) lime lite leisure dress.  These ensembles are of 100% polyester fibers with the exemption of the cotton striped trim on the jogging jacket.  

I remembered that two years ago in 2011, our secretary donated fabrics to our sewing laboratory in the university where I teach.  These are 100%  double knit polyester fabrics that no one wanted in her family.  Our students did not want these fabrics neither.  They remained in the unused fabric bins.  These fabrics are authentic for the period of the 1970s.  The colors are still very vivid and appear as new as when they were acquired.

Sewing double knit polyester can be difficult.  Use new ball-point sewing needles in your sewing machine.  Ball-point machine sewing needles can come in a variety of sizes in a pack.  Purchase a pack and test the best size to use in your sewing machine with the fabric that you have.  Use a small zigzag stitch for sewing.  The zigzag stitch will facilitate stretch in the construction of the garment and will prevent stitches from breaking as the fabric flexes.

The drape of double knit polyester is stiff.  Choose a garment style with simple lines, with as little number of gathers or pleats as possible.  When hemming your garment, apply small zigzag stitches to the edge of the hem, fold to the desired width, and stitch down with small hemming stitches by hand.  Always press down for a finished effect.  Make sure that your iron is set for polyester temperature so that you won't melt the fabric.

Happy Collecting!