Crescent Sew-Along #2: Choosing Your Fabric

The best part of any sewing project? Choosing fabric! There’s nothing like heading into the fabric store with purpose. Today, I’ll share my fabric recommendations for the Crescent Skirt. I know they’re on the back of the envelope, but it’s nice to have some reasons why certain fabrics are more suitable. Knowledge is power, even if you ignore it and go your own way.

Here’s what I recommend for sewing the Crescent skirt. (And a few fabrics I would avoid if possible!)

Cottons, including quilting-weight cottons.

I know there’s always a debate going on, discussing whether quilting cottons are suitable for clothing. And yes, it’s very easy to look artsy-craftsy in garments made from bright, fun quilting prints. (Or Becky Home-Ecky, I forget where I first heard that expression but I love it! Oh Becky, we would be friends, I’m sure of it.)

Whether you’re pro-quilting-cotton or not, I have made this skirt in a typical quilting-weight cotton and it’s lovely. It’s super easy to sew, it presses delightfully and it’s cool and comfortable to wear. There, I said it! Quilting cottons are a YES for this skirt.

Cotton lawn and voile.

A lighter weight option to quilting cotton, cotton lawns and voiles are gorgeous, but hard to find. Just watch out for sheerness. Lawns are often more opaque than voiles, which is more suitable for this skirt. I love all of the prints on this table!

Linen and linen-blends.

Linen is gorgeous for summer! It does get wrinkly, so if wrinkles bother you, you’ll have a lot of pressing to do! The crisp-ness and breathability are perfect for this skirt. You’ll end up with a crisper, stiffer version than if you used a drapier fabric, so keep that in mind when planning your project! A cotton-linen blend would be lovely, too.

Lightweight denim.

I love my denim version of this skirt! (Which I realize I still need to photograph and share, oops! It’s View A in a dark medium-weight denim.) Love it. It’s my go-to piece when working at home, I love the durability of denim – and the skirt is way more comfortable than jeans! Choose a lightweight or medium-weight denim for best results. Remember, you have to gather the skirt, and if your fabric is too stiff and board-like you’ll have a hard time with the gathers. Denim looks great with contrast topstitching, which really shows off the waistband seaming!

All photos taken at Fabricana Richmond, in case you saw something you like! I thought this post would be more fun if I had examples of all the different fabric suggestions.

Here’s what I would avoid:

Knits. All you knit-lovers, go with a woven fabric instead for this skirt. You’ll have a harder time fitting and stabilizing the waistband in a stretchy knit fabric.

Stripes and plaids. Attempt these at your own risk. The hemline on the fuller skirt isn’t on the straight grain, so your plaid lines won’t run across the body like you might expect. Matching plaids and stripes will be a challenge with the yoke seams. I wouldn’t recommend either of these, although the more adventurous seamstresses might give it a go!

Any questions on fabric selection for the Crescent Skirt? Do you have your fabric already? I’m excited to see what you pick!

PS. Want your own Crescent Skirt pattern? There’s still time to order your pattern for the Sew-Along. Click here to visit the store!

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30 Responses to Crescent Sew-Along #2: Choosing Your Fabric

  1. Louise April 4, 2011 at 6:24 am #

    This is really helpful, I’ve been looking and looking but haven’t found what I want, I ‘think’ I want a linen blend but its finding the right colour! I’ll get there……

  2. Kelly April 4, 2011 at 6:40 am #

    Thanks Tasia! Now I’m thinking of using a pretty Amy Butler fabric… :)

  3. Pink Hollybush Designs April 4, 2011 at 6:42 am #

    Tasia,

    Thanks so much. It is good to know that stripes would be difficult. I love all the fabrics you showed pictures of – I wish I lived near Fabricana! We don’t have anything like that in Connecticut.

    Lisa

  4. jadestar April 4, 2011 at 6:55 am #

    I’ve ordered an emerald green cotton poplin online. Thought I’d keep it simple first time round. But looking at your fabric choices I’m tempted by linen, and definitely a denim version. Ooh yes. Choices, choices.

  5. Ashley April 4, 2011 at 7:12 am #

    My fabric came today! :D I went with a cotton poplin too, with a lovely floral print. Its lighter and drapy-er than I imagined (I’ve never used cotton poplin before, are most pretty light-weight?) but luckily it isn’t see through at all :)
    Ashley x

  6. Salvia April 4, 2011 at 7:28 am #

    I will use corduroy from an old dress. Hope this will work.
    Have a photo here: http://sewingfairytales.blogspot.com/2011/04/plans-for-april-2011.html

  7. Becky April 4, 2011 at 7:31 am #

    Oh, the Becky-Home-Ecky phrase. I blame Michael Kors. And I definitely have a love-hate relationship with that term, for obvious reasons. ;-)

    I’m already eyeing my stash to see what would work that I already have…wondering how a gauzy crinkled fabric would work? It’s not exactly stretch, but….

  8. Corinne April 4, 2011 at 7:46 am #

    This skirt is so cute, the yoke style really defines it. Your fabric photo’s really give many ideas and lots of options. While I can’t wear this style, I will follow along closely because the design elements intrigue me. I also think that some poly blends and perhaps linen/bamboo blends would work because of the hand and drape those fabrics afford. Just thinking out loud…..

  9. daiyami April 4, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    What about a stretch cotton? (eg, sateen at 3-4% spandex)

    Though I also have some lightweight waffle cotton that would probably be good for a gathered pattern, I might use that. Anything to offer re mixing fabrics? It seems like the skirt part wants a lightweight fabric but the yoke requires more stability/structure. I guess I could just interface the yoke part.

    (Also, I’m planning to mix views to get longer-but-less-gathered, so hope you will address that in a cutting-pattern post, or somewhere)

  10. Carlotta Stermaria April 4, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    Great! I KNEW view A would look great in denim (with a full top-stitching option) and can’t wait to see yours.

    Do you think wools are OK, as long as their weight and drape is similar to the cottons you showed?I plan to make my first Crescent skirt in a poppy red voile, but what my wardrobe really lacks of is winter skirts (I envision drapy wools and scrumptious contrast linings)!

  11. Sewingdina April 4, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    I’m drooling over the fabric pictures especially the butterfly print in the third picture. I was interested to read your take on quilting fabric. Looking at the brightly coloured prints they’re going to be hard to resist!

  12. Caro April 4, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

    I saw the Becky Home-ecky phrase on Gertie’s blog when she was talking about Project Runway and as Becky pointed out, it was Michael Kors [on Project Runway]. I already really like this skirt and I haven’t sewn it up yet, it’s because the suitable fabrics for the skirt are some of my favourites. Linen and linen-blends and cottons!

  13. Kerry April 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I’ve chosen a red floral, and if it turns out well I might try one in lightweight denim afterwards!
    I’ve posted about my fabric here http://kestrelfindsandmakes.blogspot.com/2011/04/red-florals-sewing-goals.html

  14. Amy April 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    Will a satin organza work for this skirt? I fell for a bold black-and-white print from FineFabrics.com, that I thought would make a beautiful skirt, but before I take the plunge, I thought it was worth checking in. Can’t wait for the Sew-Along!

  15. Rachel April 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    You’ve missed poplin off your list up there! I bought my fabric last week and got a printed poplin: http://mymessings.blogspot.com/2011/04/crescent-skirt-fabric.html

  16. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    @Rachel: Yes! You’re right, cotton poplin is a great choice. I counted cotton poplin under Cotton in general, but it’s a lovely, crisp, lightweight choice. I love the floral print you picked!

  17. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    @Amy: I took a look at the Fine Fabrics website to see the fabric you picked – it looks just lovely! If it feels like I imagine it does – crisp and lightweight – then it will be perfect. I’d suggest making a muslin first, so you get the fit just right, before cutting into the precious fabric.

  18. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    @Carlotta Stermaria: Wools are OK – as long as they gather nicely. I have a test skirt I did in wool, and the gathers just don’t gather up as nicely in the wool I used. It’s too ‘springy’ so the gathers are bunchy. Test it in your hand, scrunching it up into imaginary gathers, and see if you like how it looks. I didn’t love how it looked in the fabric I used! But it’s all a matter of personal preference.

  19. Amy April 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

    Thanks Tasia! I have a swatch coming in the mail, but I also have my muslin in hand for the first trial. I’m now very glad there’s a muslin round built in the schedule. I’m just such a fan of nice fabrics that I can’t help myself. I figure if I plan my fabric and pattern carefully, I’ll hopefully have the pieces I make for a long time.

  20. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 5:51 pm #

    @daiyami: Stretch cotton is totally fine – although, you won’t get the benefit of the stretch too much. I recommend interfacing the whole yoke (inside and outside) because if you don’t, one layer tends to stretch out and it doesn’t look or feel as nice. If you interface both layers, it creates a more stable waistband, and feels better to wear as one isn’t ‘giving’ more than the other. (I hope this makes sense!)
    So, if you used a stretch fabric, it wouldn’t be stretching a lot. The rest of the skirt is really full. But if there’s a print or colour you like, that just happens to be stretch, then that works, too!
    You could totally mix fabrics, using a stable, more structured fabric for the yoke and a lighter one for the skirt part. (My sister had the awesome idea of using leather and lace! Leather yoke (well, faux) and lace for the skirt. Wouldn’t that look great?)
    And if you wanted to have the less-gathered version a little longer, that’s easy to do! What I’d suggest is to cut your muslin extra long, figure out where you want it, and then add that amount to the actual fabric when you cut it. Or, measure a skirt you like, and add the length accordingly. But I’ll cover that when we get closer, as a couple of people have asked!

  21. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    @Amy: Oh good, you ordered a swatch! When I saw the price I was first excited, because I knew it would be good quality, but then nervous and hoping you were making a muslin first. I know a lot of people don’t bother, but when your fabric is precious it sure helps to sew with confidence! I’m also a fan of nice fabrics. I’d rather pay a bit more, and know it will sew up nicely, and feel nice to wear. We’re worth it! :)

  22. Tasia April 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    @Salvia: Hi Salvia! As long as the corduroy is light enough to gather, it will work fine. Some corduroys are really stiff, and will be difficult to gather up and manipulate. I used denim for a version of this skirt, so I would imagine it would work nicely! Personally, I prefer the straighter, less gathered version in the stiffer fabrics, and the more gathered versions (B&C) in lighter fabrics, but that’s just me!

  23. Reana Louise April 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I’m definitely going quilting cotton; something a bit bright and kooky! But I *aim* to avoid florals, because my wardrobe is starting to look like a collection of curtains.

  24. Lauren April 5, 2011 at 1:08 am #

    Yah! Quilting Cottons! Yah!

  25. Jane Elise April 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    I’m thinking a lightweight corduroy too, for View A. We’re in Autumn so I thought it would be nice, and even with tights and boots. I like this one from fabrics.com.

    http://www.fabric.com/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=9f5469be-7f8f-4fe5-8344-16d2a7ed6fa1

  26. Carlotta Stermaria April 6, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    @Tasia the wool I have on my mind drapes even better than the cotton voile I chose for my first version, so it should be OK, even if I’ll probably make a test before cutting! It’s black and it’ll look even better with a a shocking pink silk lining…

    I guess rayons are OK as well?

  27. daiyami April 6, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Thanks, Tasia! I’ll probably go with my waffle weave cotton. Might try lace over a lining for a second version.

  28. Tasia April 17, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    @Carlotta Stermaria: Rayons would be fine too! You’d end up with a softer, more flowy skirt than using a cotton or linen. I love the idea of a shocking pink lining!

  29. angie.a May 4, 2011 at 7:45 am #

    I hadn’t seen your sewalong in time to join, but now I”m following along! I need to order this pattern (and the Pendrell). I’m already a fan since you thumbs up the quilting cotton for this skirt. (and I find the debate absolutely the silliest thing. Why must some be so judgemental about something so trivial??)

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  1. Crescent Skirt Sew-Along: The First Hint of a Skirt « Sew Well - May 17, 2011

    […] I wrote earlier, I’m using an Italian satin organza¬†for this skirt. ¬†Tasia’s suggested¬†fabric of choice is cotton,¬†but I love the fullness that the organza naturally […]

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