10 Best Fabrics to Practice Sewing Tops and Dresses

If you are becoming more confident in your sewing abilities, you may be ready to practice sewing tops and dresses. Let’s discuss a common scenario:

Have you ever walked into a fabric store and admired all the beautiful rolls of textiles but felt confused because you did not know what to buy? Knowledge is power! Armed with some information, you will look forward to our next visit. Even better, test these fabrics in a store to see the way they drape on your body, look, move and the texture against your skin. It is important that you feel comfortable and elegant in your clothes.

Briefly, fabrics are generally classified into two categories: natural textiles and synthetic textiles. Some of the primary natural textiles include cotton, wool, velvet, leather, linen, flannel, hemp denim and silk. The main synthetic textiles are: nylon, spandex, fleece, acetate, polar fleece, rayon, polyester and acrylic. As shown below, some of these natural and synthetic fabrics are mixed together. Although these blended textiles are all good for making dresses and tops, some are better than others.  Here are the 10 best fabrics to practice sewing tops and dresses:

1. Poplin

Poplin—also known as tabinet, or tabbinet—is very easy to work with. No wonder it’s so popular. Not only is it strong, light, long-lasting, and soft, but it is also glossy—a characteristic that makes it look luxurious and elegant. This comes from its ridged texture and closely twisted weaving, which allows you to wear it in formal and casual occasions. Currently, although poplin is mainly produced from real cotton, it is available in various forms including wool, silk, satin, rayon or a blend of polyester fabric.  You will enjoy practicing sewing beautiful tops and dresses that do not wrinkle easily nor require much ironing.

2. Cotton Lawn

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Even though you are likely to use lining for a dress made of cotton lawn, you cannot go wrong in choosing it. It’s available in several pretty prints; it has a smooth and soft texture; and it is light, which makes it great for dresses. You’ll appreciate the way it is easy to sew with and make excellent garments.

3. Seersucker Fabric

This is one of the many variations of cotton fabric with a wrinkle surface texture. It is very good for tops and dresses.

4. Polyester Fabrics for Sewing Tops and Dresses

Georgette and crepe produced from polyester fibers are crease polyester fabrics that make fantastic dresses and tops. Unlike other fabrics, polyester has unique advantages: it’s resistant to mildew, it’s easy to wash and maintain, and it makes long lasting pleats if you use enough heat. Still, low quality polyester looks bad after washing it several times. To avoid this problem, just buy good quality fabric.

5. Jersey Fabric

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Jersey fabric is pure cotton. Its qualities make it ideal for sewing dresses:

  • Lightweight
  • Has some stretch
  • Arranges loosely on the body for a flattering silhouette
  • Casual fabric for versatile, everyday wear
  • Inexpensive

Since cotton shrinks, it is better to sew a size larger so that after washing it, the garment fits properly. Alternatively, prewash it before you start practicing to sew. When purchasing cotton material, it is important to make sure that you run your hands on the surface. If it feels smooth, then you have found good quality. Low quality cotton is not smooth, and sometimes it has too much starch, which you do not need. Therefore, make sure to check closely because it not easy to tell the quality of the fabric from a distance.

6. Soft Viscose Twill Fabric

As the name suggests, soft viscose twill is soft, which makes it a good choice for making lovely dresses that have a nice drape.

7. Medium Weight Printed Cotton

Gingham is a printed cotton fabric that is suitable for sewing dresses and tops. It is also good for garments with smocking—a decorating method used to create compact pleats. Parallel stitches in a decorative pattern hold the pleats together. In order for it be good to practice sewing dresses with, the quality of this fabric matters. Although it has a brittle feel, it comes in many patterns and a variety of offprints that make for captivating garments.

8. Soft Linen

If you are looking for a fabric that is crisp for making dresses, then look no further. Soft linen is pleasant and stylish. It is one of the best materials to wear in warm weather. Even so, wash and wear makes the texture softer.

9. Rayon Challis

Even though a lining is required for dresses using this material and ignoring the difficulty involved in maintaining rayon challis, for those interested in draped, soft and light material, this is a great fabric for dresses.

10. Poly Cotton Fabric

This is a mixture of polyester and cotton fibers that blends the great qualities of both fabrics. It is easy to manage, it does not wrinkle much and it is available in bright colors. A good quality ply cotton fabric will not wear thin.

Do you have more questions about the best fabrics for sewing tops and dresses? Contact us today to talk to one of our fabric experts.