Shirtdress Sew-Along: Choosing Your Fabric and Interfacing

McCall Pattern Company Shirtdress Sew-Along: Choosing Fabric.

This week in the Shirtdress Sew-Along we’re talking about fabrics for your shirtdress and suitable interfacings. If you take a look at our Shirtdress Patterns Pinterest board, you’ll see that about 90 percent of the ready-to-wear inspiration dresses are made of lightweight cotton. Which is a good thing because lightweight cottons by the yard are easy to find and reasonably priced. Look for:

    • Cotton shirting: 100% cotton and typically found in stripes, solids and checks. Excellent choice for its tight weave and smooth hand. Also in petite prints, à la Liberty of London.
    • Cotton sateen: Usually 100% cotton or a cotton-Lycra blend. Easier to find in solids but sometimes you can nab a pretty print (just watch the weight with cotton sateen prints—often they’re more on the bottom-weight side).
    • Cotton seersucker and plissé: A classic spring and summer fabric. Generally found in stripes and prints. 100% cotton, sometimes blended with other fabrics.
    • Cotton denim and chambray: 100% cotton, or blended with rayon or Tencel. I’ve sewn with Robert Kaufman’s 6.5 oz line and find that’s the perfect weight for tops and dresses.
    • Embroidered or eyelet cottons: Perfect. You may want to add a lining for peekaboo eyelet fabrics.
    • Cotton lawn, voile and batiste: Very lightweight and often somewhat transparent. Add a lining, or use your shirtdress as a tunic or layering piece.
Fabrics for the McCall Pattern Company Shirtdress Sew-Along
Fabric options: Striped cotton shirting (Mood Fabrics); scooter chambray print (Mood); cotton paisley print (Jo-Ann Fabrics). Vogue Patterns shirtdress V8927. (photo from the latest issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine)
Fabrics for the McCall Pattern Company Shirtdress Sew-Along
More fabric options: Embroidered cotton (Mood), checked seersucker (Robert Kaufman), cotton-Lycra print (Emma One Sock). Vogue Patterns V8970. (photo from the latest issue of Vogue Patterns Magazine)

Other shirtdress fabric options include:

  • Silk and crepe: These fabrics work best for less-structured shirtdress silhouettes, like those without a separate bodice and skirt. McCall’s M6885 would look great in silk.
  • Linen and linen blends: Yes, definitely, but only if you test the wrinkle factor first to determine how much creasing you can live with. Linen is by nature a wrinkly fabric. (How to test wrinkle-bility: Tightly scrunch a ball of the fabric in your hand, squeeze, then release. Do the creases relax, or do they stay imbedded in the fabric?)
  • Shantung, dupioni and taffeta: Great for waisted shirtdresses if you want something dressier.

As you’re looking at fabrics with prints, don’t forget to consider any “challenges” that may come with larger prints or stripes or checks. Will you need to match the print where the bodice buttons in the front? Do stripes or checks need to align? If so, make sure you buy extra fabric to play around with, and cut out your patterns pieces carefully.

Nearly all cotton fabrics can be safely pre-washed before cutting into them, though some darker colors may fade slightly.

For interfacing options, the following work well:

  • lightweight fusible interfacing
  • lightweight sew-in interfacing
  • lightweight fabrics you have in your stash, such as silk organza or cotton batiste (pre-shrink the latter).

Always test your interfacing’s compatibility with your fabric first. Too-heavy interfacing will make your garment feel cheap; too light and your fabric will go limp in the collar and placket.

Next week on the #ShirtdressSew-Along: Making a test garment and getting the fit right. I need links to good full bust adjustment (FBA) and small bust adjustment (SBA) tutorials; please share any in the comments section. Thanks!

And it’s not too late to join our Shirtdress Sew-Along Facebook Group. Most people are still choosing patterns and fabrics. It’s a great environment to make new sewing friends and chat about sewing. Until next week!

 

 

 

Must-Sew Fabric for S/S 2016: Cotton Shirting

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
l-r: COS; Brie Larsen in Celine (Getty Images); Diesel Black Gold Spring 2016 (Indigital Images)

We are so in luck this season. One of the easiest fabrics to find and sew is on-trend, big time. We’re talking about cotton shirting, a lightweight, tightly woven all-cotton or cotton-blended fabric that gives soft or crisp folds, depending on the fabric’s finish. It’s pleasant (friendly, actually!) to stitch and press, and you can find it in-store and online generally for less than $15/yard. Above and below check out how designers and stores are using cotton shirting for all kinds of chic looks:

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
l-r: McQ Alexander McQueen shirtdress available at Net-a-Porter; dress from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2016 line; and an off-the-shoulder blouse available at Stylenanda.com.

 

For patterns and fabrics, we just happen to have a few suggestions:

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
McCall’s M6558 off-the-shoulder dress pattern paired with Italian Blue White Bar Code Striped Cotton from Mood Fabrics.

This McCall’s maxi dress, with big ruffles at the shoulders and hem, works well for a beach wedding or backyard party. We’ve seen cute RTW versions of this style, like this one from Shopbop. You could easily sew this pattern in a weekend.

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Vogue Patterns V9174 paired with White Mercerized Twill Cotton Shirting from Mood.

Have you been to a COS store yet? They’re filled with minimalist, refined and “architectural” clothes. Make Marcy Tilton’s Vogue Patterns V9174 pattern in solid white cotton shirting and people will think you bought it at COS.

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Pair Vogue Patterns V9185 with Gorgeous Fabrics’ Wicked Fine Medium Stripe Italian Cotton Shirting.

This Vogue Patterns top, which has a long-sleeve version, also looks like something from COS. We’d cut the overlay as a single layer on the crossgrain or bias (narrow-hem the edge) to have the stripes run perpendicular to the bodice, and we’d skip the lining and add a facing at the neck; bias-bind the armscyes if you’re going sleeveless.

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Pair this Butterick shirtdress pattern with this “Snazzy Stripes” shirting from The Smuggler’s Daughter.

We already extolled the virtues of shirtdresses this season, so hopefully we’ve convinced you to make one and soon. Here’s your perfect fabric, a perky blue striped cotton shirting that has wardrobe staying power, paired with a new shirtdress pattern from Butterick.

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Pair McCall’s M7285 with this stretch cotton poplin from Gorgeous Fabrics.

We took a second look at this McCall’s top pattern after we saw Maya’s version of it on Instagram. Sleeves with interest are the Big Thing, right up there with cold shoulders. We suggest adding a little bit of fullness at the side seams below the bustline, to give this pattern more of a contemporary, boxy fit. This pattern will look so cute in striped or solid cotton shirtings.

Must-sew fabric for S/S 2016: cotton shirting and poplin. As seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog.
Pair Butterick B6324 with this striped cotton shirting from Fabrics & Fabrics.

Last, everyone can use a little camp shirt in their summer wardrobe, because they’re exactly what you want to put on when it’s hot and miserable outside. Sew this Butterick pattern up in cotton shirtings and you’ll be cool and comfortable all summer long.

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Have you seen our newly redesigned websites? What do you think of them?

Have a great weekend of sewing! I’m moving full-speed ahead with my spring and summer sewing. Lots of cottons and silks on the horizon….

Fashion Fusion Video Pairs Our Patterns With Jo-Ann Fabrics

Have you seen the Fashion Fusion magazine we produce for Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores? It’s in stores now and online, and it features loads of inspiration for fall and winter sewing. Plus, it pairs McCall’s, Butterick, Kwik Sew and Vogue Patterns with fabrics from Jo-Ann that are available right now. You can see just what our patterns look like all made up, no guesswork involved. So, watch the video, grab a copy of the magazine, and let us know what you think!

Fashion Fusion magazine by The McCall Pattern Company for Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
Fashion Fusion magazine is available at your local Jo-Ann store or online here.