10 Best Types of Fabrics for Dresses

If you have extra time on your hands, how about you spend it making your own dress? Depending on the pattern, a dress can be quite easy to make. The real challenge comes in choosing the right fabric to work with. Here are the 10 best types of fabrics for dresses:



For optimal versatility and comfort, you can’t find anything better than cotton. This natural woven fiber feels great against your skin, but best of all? It’s really easy to work with. Budget-wise, cotton is extremely affordable. If this is your first attempt at dress-making, we highly suggest using cotton. 


Here’s another natural material that’s easy to sew with. It comes in a variety of weights depending on your dress. Linen is often seen as a high-quality, chic fabric. However, compared to cotton, it requires a lot more care. For instance, the fabric creases and wrinkles, and washing must be done with care to avoid shrinking.


Luxurious and sexy, silk is a sought-after fabric that’s aesthetically pleasing to both look at and touch. Ideally, use silk for undergarments and pajamas. If you would like to make a dress from the material, we suggest doing research and tests first. Silk is notoriously difficult to work with and expensive. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll want to take extra care when sewing with silk.


When it comes to fabrics for dresses, wool has been used historically for making dresses. Both knitted and woven wool can be used to create suits, trousers, and skirts. The material is often dry-clean only due to the material’s properties. Lastly, wool is often cost prohibitive when making a whole dress. We suggest starting with a smaller garment before investing in a full dress worth of fabric.

Polyester & Poly-cotton Blends Fabrics for Dresses

Polyester and poly-cotton blends have great benefits. First, they are wrinkle-resistant which means less after-care for you. Second, it’s inexpensive! You can find these blends at nearly all fabric stores. Lastly, these blends are very easy to work with. You should not need any special equipment to create a beautiful, well-fitted dress.


Satin is a glossy fabric that flows and flatters the figure. However, because of these characteristics, it is more difficult to work with. For instance, pin holes damage the fabric, so they can only be placed within the seam allowance. It’s these kinds of things that make the fabric hard to use when creating dresses.


Knit fabrics drape and stretch nicely. Like satin, it flatters the figure. Higher gauges result in finer fabrics while lower gauges are coarse. Examples of the knit fabric is jersey fabric, which is popular for shirts and loungewear. For dressmaking, modal and cotton knits are preferred.


The main takeaway with rayon is to spend lots of time on prep work to ensure the dress comes out properly. This difficult-to-use fabric requires some experience. So, making a dress is probably not the best idea for a first-time project. Start on a small project, first. Like satin, you should use thinner needles to prevent damaging the fabric.



The most feminine fabric, lace is a fun addition to your dress. Lace, of course, isn’t usually used alone. It requires a lining. Experiment with fabric swatches to find the right combination. If you don’t want to do a full lace dress, you can use the pretty fabric as an adornment.


Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric that isn’t used much for dresses, but we are including here because it is a great fabric for making aprons and cover-ups. What better way to protect your homemade dress than to wear an apron or smock while cooking, cleaning, or doing any other messy job? The durability of canvas fabric makes it an ideal material for this kind of project. Due to the versatility of this fabric, we’re including some other uses here beyond apron or smock-making:

  • Shoes
  • Jackets
  • Messenger bags
  • Backpacks
  • Table cloths
  • Decorative pillow cases

As you can see, there are many materials you can use as fabrics for dresses. Depending on the weight and type of feel you’re looking for, there is most-assuredly a fabric for you. 

Do you have more questions about fabrics for dresses? Contact us today.