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The Fabric Holy Grail

I need some help, big time. I just got this amazing fabric yesterday from my favorite barn sale. Its perfect, no stains, pin holes, color bleaching, nada. It’s about 6 or 7 yards (i havent measured yet) of 36 inch wide cotton. It’s pretty sheer but sturdy, and after looking at some other pictures floating around the interwebs I thinks it’s most like voile. It looks too loosely woven to be lawn. So, what the heck do I do with it and how do I sew something so loosely woven without it puckering? Very short stitches?

I’m scared of it. I’m scared to cut it, I’m scared to think about cutting it. I’ll never find fabric in this quantity and quality again. And it was $2. Total. What type of dress would this look best as? If I’m very careful I can get two dresses or at the very least a dress and a blouse.


I was thinking maybe this one. It seems to have a good vibe to it.

About the author: I’m a self taught seamstress with only a couple of years under my belt. I love to sew from 1940s and 1950s patterns and try to work a little vintage into my modern life. Each garment helps me get closer to creating and designing well constructed and original garments.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • jadestar May 20, 2012, 3:41 pm

    Nice fabric, what a find. Sadly we don’t have barn sales etc. where I live 🙁
    I would underline the fabric (sew them as one). This will get rid of the sheerness of the fabric, and make it easier to sew with. You can still construct a separate lining too if you want. Depends how light you want the dress/item to be. Hope this helps. You could stabilize the fabric with starch etc. before cutting if this helps, but always test a sample first to be sure it comes out ok and doesn’t damage the fabric. Good luck. Can’t wait to see what you make with it.

  • Melizza May 20, 2012, 3:44 pm

    Gorgeous fabric. How about the Colette Chantilly dress? It would look very sweet in your fabric.

  • A.J.A. May 20, 2012, 8:13 pm

    It’s very pretty! Can’t wait to see what you will make with it!

  • Netty May 20, 2012, 8:40 pm

    it’s beautiful fabric, I think the Colette Chantilly dress would look beautiful as well. I also love the pattern you have suggested, it would look real cute with the button up back.

  • Liz May 20, 2012, 8:55 pm

    What about a 1940s peplum, like http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JhH6OCihg_M/T6is_6SQOeI/AAAAAAAAAEA/oME6Lw388Wo/s1600/IMG_1488.JPG? Being a light fabric the skirt wouldn’t stick out heaps but would fall beautifully too. The fabric is lovely.

  • FiftiesFrocks May 20, 2012, 10:30 pm

    This is lovely fabric! I know the perils of finding something so nice and not wanting to use it. If I were you I would sew a fifties style sundress with a nice big skirt. I’d underline the fabric in the bodice but leave the skirt with just the self fabric (and wear a slip) that way you can enjoy the lovely sheer nature of it in at least part of the dress.
    As for sewing I would use a regular stitch length but change my needle to a finer point. Test a few different options out on a scrap before you sew!

  • SueC May 21, 2012, 4:25 am

    What a find! I think the 40’s pattern you have would be great. And with that much fabric you still have enough for a 50’s sundress as well!

  • Tina Sutherland May 21, 2012, 10:21 am

    So pretty! I don’t have the skills to suggest what to do with it, but do show us when you decide, it’s lovely.

  • Sandy May 21, 2012, 1:28 pm

    Summer on a fabric-bolt! If you do the pattern you’ve shown, I’d say leave the sleeves unlined but flatline (interline) both the skirt and bodice – the buttons & buttonholes will need the support.
    Or a sleeveless ‘sundress’ style with really full skirt (intereline the bodice and do a standard free-hanging lining in the skirt) with a jacket if you can find material to match . . . oh, either the periwinkle blue or the dark red/pink, depending on your coloring.
    And it never hurt fabrics to ‘age’ a little – don’t be afraid to wrap it up and let it wait for inspiration!

  • Jayne May 22, 2012, 4:21 am

    What a gorgeous fabric! I think a 1930’s dress with some floaty bias panels would be perfect. Interline the bodice with voile & then a-line underskirt. I’d use hook & eye/loop fastening of the era rather than trying to put a zip in such a light weight fabric.
    I’m very jealous.

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