The most popular dressmaking fabrics are cottons, linens, jerseys and wools. These suit a variety of garments but if you are sewing a tailored jacket, you may need to add structure with interlining or canvas. When choosing your dressmaking fabric, consider the weight of the fabric and whether it will hang correctly.
The most popular fabric for dressmaking is cotton fabric. It comes in so many different types, patterns and weights. It is comfortable to wear and has a good drape.
Linen fabric is made from the flax plant and is a great choice for summer dresses as it is breathable. It wrinkles easily so it may not be suitable for every garment but some people find this charming!
Jersey is a stretchy knit fabric which is comfortable to wear. It may not suit larger sizes as it clings to the body. Jersey comes in many weights so make sure you choose one that suits your garment pattern.
This versatile fabric comes in many different weights and textures including jersey knit wool, wool suiting and tweed. Wool keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer so it’s ideal for outerwear like coats and jackets, as well as dresses and skirts.
Fabric weights and types
When buying dressmaking fabrics, the weight is an important consideration. Some fabrics are heavier than others, which means they drape better over your body. Lightweight knits are great for casual shirts, while heavy-weight twills are suitable for tailored jackets or trousers.
Stretch fabric is perfect for making comfortable clothing that keeps its shape. Look out for fabrics with stretch in both directions (bias stretch) and those with one-way stretch, which is ideal for skirts and dresses.
Check the composition of your chosen fabric before you buy it to make sure that it is suitable for your sewing machine. Silk and linen are more difficult to sew than cotton or jersey, but don’t let this put you off – why not try a silk blouse or a linen skirt?
Colour and print
Printed dressmaking fabrics can look amazing when used in the right way. Keep the pattern small if you want to use them for smart tailored garments, or go big and bold for an on-trend look.