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Fabric Fit & Flow: Same Pattern, Different Fabric, A World of Possibilities!

Posted on July 21 2018

Hey everyone, it's Beth Darrah from French Seams Boutique, back again to talk about one of my obsessions...Fabric! Do you sometimes get stuck on what type of fabric to use with your pattern? I know I do! Sure, the pattern lists recommended fabrics, but I still struggle with indecision. And sometimes I don't have or don't want to use the "recommended" stuff. 

Then what??

So, I set out on a mission. I decided to sew up tons of the same pattern, in all kinds of different fabrics, to get a feel for how each one drapes, stretches, recovers, etc. For each fabric, I included some vital statistics to help you get to know how they behave. Hopefully this helps you make easier buying decisions. If not, leave a comment and we can chat! 

For all nine of the shirts I made, I used the new Love Notions Classic Tee with scoop neck. If you haven't tried this pattern yet, do it! It's a really comfortable, well drafted simple tshirt pattern that is sure to be a staple in your closet. And it still looks great if you decide to size down. 

Based on the amount of ease built into the pattern, I decided that I wanted to size down from my size medium measurements to a small or XS, just to give the top a little more fitted appearance (refer to purple dress form pics for how this looks). But I want you all to see how it looks as intended by the pattern designer, so I included a smaller white dress form, whose measurements correspond to XS/S size on the pattern.  

Purple dress form (would be a M/L according to the pattern)
Upper bust: 37.25"
Full bust: 38.5"
Waist: 29.5"
Hip: 40.5"
Pictured below are all size XS/S on M/L dress form.
Love Notions Classic Tee

 

White dress form (XS/S per the pattern, and this matches the size of the shirts I sewed)
Upper bust: 32"
Full bust: 33"
Waist: 25.25"
Hip: 33"
Pictured below are the same XS/S tops on an XS/S dress form. 
*Note that this dress form's hip measurements are even smaller than XS, so the fabric just kinda hangs free in these pics. 
Love Notions Classic Tee

 

First up is Modal Jersey, a favorite of Love Notions owner, Tami Bunch Meyer, for this pattern. I decided to size down a little extra on this one because modal is heavier and also has a ton of stretch. Modal has a great drape and a cool feeling when you touch it. It feels like an expensive store-bought top. 

Size Made

Extra Small
Stretch 50% Horizontal, 50% Vertical
Content 96% Super Rayon Modal, 4% Spandex 
Weight

250 GSM

Type of Drape Fluid Drape

Modal Jersey

Here are other modal jersey fabrics just like this.

 

The second top I made was Rayon Spandex. This type of fabric is light and has a ton of stretch, but doesn't recover as well, so it can grow on you as you wear it. I sized down extra on this one to compensate for that growth. 

Size Made Extra Small
Stretch 50% Horizontal, 75% Vertical
Content 96% Rayon, 4% Spandex 
Weight 165 GSM
Type of Drape Fluid Drape

Rayon Spandex

Click here for more rayon spandex fabrics.

Next up is Tri-Blend Jersey. If you know me, you know how obsessed I am with tri-blend. It's light, breathable, pretty stable vertically, and just all around comfortable. In my opinion, the world would be a happier place if we had more tri-blend! 

Size Made Small
Stretch 75% Horizontal, 10% Vertical
Content 49% Polyester, 37% Cotton, 11% Rayon, 3% Spandex
Weight 120 GSM
Type of Drape Moderate Drape

Tri-blend jersey

Want to see more tri-blends? Click here.

Double Brushed Poly is next. This is that "buttery soft" fabric your BFF probably made you touch and feel when she got her order of leggings and tunics from those online or popup party retailers. Once you touch it, you can't stop. It is brushed on both sides, so it's as soft against your skin as it is on the outside of the shirt. It's really lovely to wear. 

Here's a quick video of DBP vs SBP.

Size Made Small
Stretch 75% Horizontal, 25% Vertical
Content 96% Polyester, 4% Spandex 
Weight 180 GSM
Type of Drape Fluid Drape

Double brushed poly DBP

Check out more double brushed poly here.

Next is Spun Poly. This fabric is great because it is really low maintenance. I iron enough while I'm sewing, so any fabric that saves me from ironing my finished garments is a great fabric in my eyes! 

Size Made Small
Stretch 50% Horizontal, 10% Vertical
Content 97% Polyester, 3% Spandex 
Weight 180 GSM
Type of Drape Moderate Drape

Spun Poly

More spun poly fabrics can be found here. 

Poly Rayon Spandex is another very low maintenance fabric. Whenever I travel, I always take my PRS, because I never have to iron it. It has rayon, a natural fiber, so it also breathes well, and makes this fabric comfortable in all types of weather. 

Check out this PRS clip for more info!

Size Made Small
Stretch 75% Horizontal, 15% Vertical
Content 90% Polyester, 7% Rayon, 3% Spandex 
Weight 180 GSM
Type of Drape Moderate Drape

Poly Rayon Spandex

Here are more poly rayon spandex fabrics.

Similar to DBP, Single Brushed Poly is another one of those fabrics used a lot in some of the online or popup party retailers. This fabric is brushed only on the outside (right side), and the side against your skin is left silky smooth. Where DBP feels like a warm, cozy blanket, SBP feels like a nice, cool sheet. 

Check out this video clip of SBP vs DBP. 

Size Made Small
Stretch 50% Horizontal, 30% Vertical
Content 96% Polyester, 4% Spandex
Weight 180 GSM
Type of Drape Fluid Drape

Single Brushed Poly SBP

Want to see more SBP? Click here.

Sweater Knit like this brushed hacci makes for a nice fall and winter top in this pattern. It's not too heavy or bulky, and might just become your go-to top when the temps start dropping. 

Size Made Small
Stretch 75% Horizontal, 10% Vertical
Content 88% Polyester, 9% Rayon, 3% Spandex 
Weight 180 GSM
Type of Drape Moderate Drape

Sweater knit brushed hacci

More sweater knit can be found here. 

Last but not least, I made a French Terry Classic Tee. I love french terry, especially baby french terry with the tiny little loops. It's comfortable and doesn't show all of your lumps and bumps as much as some other fabrics. It's also somewhat wrinkle resistant. The less time I spend at the ironing board, the better!

Here's a helpful video clip with more details!

Size Made Small
Stretch 35% Horizontal, 10% Vertical
Content 90% Polyester, 7% Rayon, 3% Spandex
Weight 220 GSM
Type of Drape Full-Bodied Drape

French Terryh

Check out more french terry fabrics here. 

 

That's all for today's fabric round-up. To recap, from left to right below are modal, rayon spandex, tri-blend, double brushed poly, spun poly, poly rayon spandex, single brushed poly, sweater knit and french terry.

 

        

Now go get your Classic Tee and while you're at it, why not try out a new fabric? You might find a new favorite! 

13 comments

  • sam: July 25, 2018

    Thank you for this post. So helpful as I am new to garment sewing and fabrics.

  • Kathleen DelPlato: July 25, 2018

    This was excellent and very informative. Thank you for posting this.

  • Sarah : July 25, 2018

    Such a great Blog – thanks Beth; I found it really helpful… & it also made me want to buy that gorgeous hacci knit so I’m hoping the colour may be reprised this autumn!! (Hint, hint Katy K!!) xx

  • Stacie Ward: July 24, 2018

    Hit that nail on the head. Great post! Very useful information. Would you ever consider making this shirt in ponte or liverpool. I don’t know why, but those 2 scare me. Greatly appreciate the time it took to make this. Thank you

  • Marlene Milligan: July 24, 2018

    Thank you. The information in your article is exactly what I need.

  • Tina Weikel: July 22, 2018

    Thank you! This will be a useful tool when determining future fabric purchases and choosing which fabric to use with a pattern.

  • Carole Cutshall: July 22, 2018

    WOW!! Beth, you certainly helped many to understand the differences in knits. Your concise explanation of the different knits is so helpful. Thanks much!

  • KM: July 22, 2018

    OMG. Thank you.

  • Ginger Harrison: July 22, 2018

    Thank you so much! I’ve recently started back sewing apparel, and all the fabric references get overwhelming! This will help me tremendously!

  • Eileen Sayler: July 22, 2018

    Thank you! I just made the first of many. I used French terry and I love fit. Now will be making more with your guide.

  • Jan Murry : July 21, 2018

    Thanks so much for all the work you put into this – so helpful!

  • Roberta: July 21, 2018

    Thanks so much, very informative.
    Do the tops that you made also have a higher neckline?

    I need to bite the bullet and try some knits. I haven’t sewed them since the Jantzen fabric left our town many years ago.

  • Shirley A Roeder: July 21, 2018

    THANK YOU!!! I so needed all the definitions of all the knits!!! This is priceless and you’re a GEM for doing this for us!

    Shirley

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