Skip to content

Is fabric like a boyfriend?

2010 August 3
by elizabeth_admin

I hope the subject line of this post did not get anyone’s hopes up, because there has been no dating in my world.  As soon as I said that was sticking my toes in the water, I was sidetracked by my sewing.  The charismatic pull of fabric far outstripped the allure of needless drama and anxiety that dating would no doubt induce. 

But back to the topic at hand and the question of the day…

I have put most of the clothes I have made so far into heavy rotation in my work and casual wear wardrobe.  Remember when I wrote about and asked you how our garments wore?  Since that post, I have made a bunch of skirts, and one dress (as you probably suspect, I have not yet finished my second B5147 due to birthday week outings and having a houseguest).  And now I feel I have a little experience under my belt in terms of having used different fabrics.  I’ve worked with various knits, stretch wovens, brocade, cotton pique, chiffon, cotton voile, cotton interlock and ribbing, and am now working with silk twill. 

Which fabric type is my favorite now?  Despite my professed love for knit dresses, it’s not knits.  Can you guess?

My new love is for natural fibers, like cotton, or silk (except for cotton pique, explanation later).  Why?  Because natural fibers don’t lie or cheat on you like some men.   Natural fibers don’t grow larger on you while handling them like middle-aged man.  They don’t get saggy butt syndrome like, you guessed it, a middle-aged man (unless they are cotton pique – more on that later). 

 Remember my first sheath dress (B5147)?  That was made with a stretch cotton chambray.  I’ve worn it twice and it’s stretched out from being a sheath dress to becoming a shift dress.  Ugh!

Remember my black & white zebra I mean bamboo pencil skirt made of cotton pique?  Yeah, well, it’s a little a-line ish now and completely stretched out after 3 or 4 wearings.  Coulda shoulda underlined this puppy!

How about my brown pencil skirt in a stretch suiting fabric?  It has such weird hand that it defies description.  I do not like wearing it that much. 

Now, natural fibers…  They don’t grow larger on you when you’re least expecting it.  They love to be pressed and take a crease like no one’s business.  They may get wrinkled, but you can iron those wrinkles right out.  In short, natural fibers never cheat on you.  They’re the keepers in boyfriend lingo.  Like a good boyfriend or even husband, they’ll go the distance with you and make you look good, even at the end of a long day. 

I don’t want you to think I am turning my back on knits or knit dresses.  They will always have a special place in my heart, being some of my first and most worn garments in my closet.  They’re my first love.  It’s more that my tastes have widened and matured and I recognize the value of a good man, I mean a solid and upstanding fabric.  — A fabric that tells it like it is and doesn’t hide the truth.  — A fabric that makes good on the promise it made to you in the fabric store.  A natural fiber keeper with nary a hint of lycra.  Now that’s what I’m talking about!

So what do you think?  What are your favorite fabrics with which to sew?

17 Responses leave one →
  1. August 3, 2010

    Hmmm, I still like my knits – but I agree with you on stretch wovens – saggy and unreliable!

  2. August 3, 2010

    I’ve really enjoyed making a couple of dresses recently from stretch cotton sateen. And this evening I’ve been working with some stretch taffeta that has been lovely to handle. They’re both like the best type of men – flexible! (Clean your filthy minds! I mean in attitude…)

  3. Elena permalink
    August 3, 2010

    I so prefer natural fibers. They are much easier to sew as well as much more comfortable to wear than petro-fibers. When I lived in DC where I walked everywhere and humidity seemed to reign a good part of the year , I gave up on the manmade fibers after experiencing the feeling of being wrapped in saran wrap one time too many. I still love a cotton or rayon blend knit, but also find the stretch wovens a pain to sew and keep up as they do lose their shape.

  4. August 3, 2010

    I enjoy my knits, but realizing that poly/cotton is becoming my favorite, it wear wells and love the idea of it being machine washable.

  5. Meredith P permalink
    August 3, 2010

    I love wool, but it’s hard to even type that word at the moment. I agree that natural fibers are the bomb to sew with. For comfort, a little added lyra is nice, but stretch wovens are definitely “odd”. Things sag, bag and stretch because of body heat. Even wool and cotton will do that eventually, even 100%. A trip to the drycleaner or washer will take care of that. And yes indeed, underlining/lining helps.

    You know, you’re going to have to change the name of your blog. 😉

  6. August 3, 2010

    Celie has quite a lot to say about how linen stretches all over the place. Maybe is the black sheep boyfriend?

  7. Elle C permalink
    August 3, 2010

    Silk noil is my absolute favorite, with other raw silks coming close seconds, then cotton I am currently fighting with cotton lycra knit, it is behaving badly for me.

  8. August 3, 2010

    What a cute post! And you are just growing up in your sewing and learning what fabric boyfriends suit you better! *LOL*

  9. August 3, 2010

    Hey I am a single parent too and when I read your lead line, I said to myself “I hope not” because I think I pick better fabric than men for sure! And it is probably because my first love has always been natural fibres. Love cottons and the many variations of it. I’m just starting with knits and going ok but I don’t think it will be a “keeper” relationship but probably a “coffee every now and then”. Who can fit men in anyway!

  10. August 3, 2010

    At least fabric will never take you to the cleaners…just the opposite!

  11. August 4, 2010

    Agree! Naturals are the way to go.

    But linen sags around knees and butt if you have a desk job. Linen seems to grow with body heat. At least you can wash it back into shape.

    I’m interested in your and everyone else’s comments about stretch wovens. Not sure I’ve experienced this yet. I have a gorgeous stretch sateen cotton in the stash waiting to be a sheath dress. Don’t want it to turn into a shift dress!

  12. August 4, 2010

    You know, thinking about this, look how much cotton jeans stretch out (even the ones that aren’t stretch denim)…but they DO shrink back in the laundry.

  13. August 4, 2010

    Hmm… perhaps stretch wovens (like knits) should be sewn with less ease than straight-up wovens. The only stretch woven I’ve used yet is stretch denim, and my second pair of jeans definitely grew in the wash… next time I’ll incorporate a wash before the final fitting. I hate having to throw them in the dryer to shrink them back up!

    I wouldn’t say I have a favourite fabric, but I definitely have some un-favourites. Chiffon and any kind of wriggly knits are the current top of the list. 🙂

  14. August 4, 2010

    The reason I started sewing in the first place was because I wanted to wear natural fibres – they are so much more comfortable to wear in any weather than synthetics. And now I sew, I far prefer to sew with naturals than synthetics and synthetic blends.

  15. Patti permalink
    August 7, 2010

    I have used many fabrics, but always seem to come back to cottons. I love them. My new goal is to find and use some really nice cottons.

  16. August 9, 2010

    I’m quite partial to knits and even find that I gravitate towards stretch wovens when I do sew a more structured garment. For me, I like the freedom of movement and the smaller amount of ease I need to work into a garment when using those fabrics. That being said, I have been burned a couple of times with wonky stretch wovens, but I’m not ready to break up with them yet. 😉

  17. August 25, 2010

    If fabric is like a boyfriend, what does that say about us who have acquired quite a large stash in our closets? 🙂
    I’m with you on the natural fibers. Silks, cottons, wools and rayons all the way. How about rayon, is he the bad boy with a soft side? Love the analogy!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation


  • I’m a proud member of




  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along