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The Best Fabrics for Summer Sewing

One of my favorite things about summer is getting to shed all those bulky winter layers and step in to fun flowy dresses, tops, and shorts.  Whether you’re heading to a wedding or a picnic at the park these summer fabrics are sure to make you look great as well as feel comfortable in the heat.

Cotton

The majority of my summer wardrobe is cotton for so many reasons.  It’s light and airy and can be used to make almost anything.  It also holds up well and can make a favorite garment something you can hold on to year after year.  Another great feature about cotton is that it’s machine washable and can go in the dryer.  This is a huge plus if you don’t have time to break out the iron when you want to wear your favorite item.  Like most fabrics make sure it is pre-washed and dried before starting a project to ensure it doesn’t shrink once your garment is done.  Cotton also has such a huge variety of prints and allows so many options for any summer occasion. Because it’s so breathable it also dries fast and doesn’t hold the moisture if it’s a hot day. I love the endless possibilities of cotton and the price tag that comes along with it.  This affordable fabric will allow you to look like a million bucks

 

 

Linen

Linen is another favorite of mine.  It’s also one of the lightest fabrics which is wonderful on those hot days.  This fabric is made for the heat and you’ll be amazed at how cool you feel wearing it.  It absorbs moisture and holds its shape really well. The only downside to linen is the wrinkles!  Something can look amazing when you put it on and the minute you sit down it’s filled with wrinkles. The upside is you can spritz it with water and rub out the wrinkles with your hand.   There is also a really great linen look fabric that still gives the desired appearance of linen but also has a percentage of rayon in it to help with the wrinkle issue. It won’t be quite as cool but you’ll look put together and much more wrinkle free.

 

 

Rayon

I really love rayon and after buying a few dresses with this material I just had to make some of my own.  This fabric is so soft and stretchy.   It drapes perfectly and doesn’t wrinkle the way cotton does.  It is thinner than cotton so a downside is that it’s not as durable.  Your items made from this fabric will just need more care.  I usually wash mine in a delicate cycle and let them air dry or dry them on a low setting in the dryer.  Rayon also isn’t quite as cool as the other fabrics but the way it looks and feels really does make up for it.  It’s a perfect fabric for a summer evening out on the town and really compliments most body types.

 

 

Blends

Some of the greatest fabrics are blends that take the best part of certain fabrics and combine them into amazing pieces.  The polyester/cotton blends have all the best things about cotton with less wrinkles.  Poly also dries quickly which is great on hot days.  I have several dresses that are polyester/spandex or poly/rayon blends that I love. They hold up so well and look like you’re wearing stretchy cotton.   Some plain cotton fabric can get stretched out and stay that way but nice fabric blends seem to keep their shape no matter what you’re doing in them.  Even as you wipe sweat off your brow, from the neck down you’d never know.  I urge everyone to make a trip to the fabric store and give these blends a chance.  Feel them all, pull and stretch them to really get an idea of how they’ll feel on your body.  Or try some different tops or dresses at a local store to see what feels best.  There are endless possibilities with blended fabric and they cater to any look you can imagine creating.

 

 

Silk

Although it can be more expensive than some of the other fabrics I mentioned, I truly believe everyone deserves a little silk in their lives.  It’s so cool to the touch and it feels like it adjusts to your body temperature.  Silk is very thin which feels so good in triple digit temperatures (Translators: Please use this sentence instead: Silk is very thin which feels so good when the temperature climbs).  It also is guaranteed to bring compliments your way.  Make sure to prewash all your fabrics and test your sewing machine’s settings on a scrap piece of fabric due to its delicacy.  Before ironing your garment pick up some pressing cloths to place between the silk and the iron.  This avoids marks that can be permanent if you’re not careful.  Use a low setting on the iron and increase the temperature in small amounts as you go.  

 

 

These are just some of the amazing fabrics that can keep you cool but also make you look like the fashion icon you want to be!  Enjoy wandering through the fabric store and taking in all the amazing prints and color options that compliment all the best things about summer.  Once you get the feeling of what you’re looking for, there are always plenty of online fabrics shops to keep you busy browsing for the perfect fabrics.  Happy shopping!  

Writer: Lindsey 

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