Can you use Quilting Cotton to make clothes? Yes you can!!

McCalls 7937 The Fabric Snob

I have heard so many people wonder if you can use quilting cotton to make clothes. I am here to tell you, YES you can!!! And it is so much fun. There are so many fun prints that will spice up your wardrobe. However, there are a few things to remember when using quilting cotton for clothing. I thought I would walk you through some and also share a printable you can save as a reference when you are preparing for a quilting cotton project. It will be linked below. I have made a lot of clothing from quilting cotton from a floral suit to dresses and pants. Here is a look at some of them. I also will share a sneaky tip for softening stiff fabric at the end….so keep reading.


Width of Fabric

The biggest challenge people seem to have is that they forget that most quilting cotton is made in narrow widths such as 44/45 inches wide instead of 54 inches wide like a lot of fashion fabric. Did you know that these wider widths are a relatively new thing? Just take a look at some vintage sewing patterns and you will see more narrow widths. For example, this Vogue 1027 pattern has pattern layouts and lengths for 35-inch wide fabric.

You can still get 48-inch wide fabric from Great Britain and 40 or 42 inch wide Indian Silks. So this tells us that garments absolutely can be sewn with narrow-width quilting cottons. Here is a conversion chart for different fabric widths I found on SEW4Home.

If you have a pattern that calls for 2 yards of 54-inch wide fabric you will easily know you need 2 yards of 44-45 inch fabric, the standard width for quilt cotton. 

McCalls 7937 The Fabric Snob Quilting Cotton For clothing
Pattern: McCalls 7937 Fabric:The Fabric Snob


So we know we will need a longer length of fabric usually but another thing to think about is wide pattern pieces may not fit in the width. For example, wide skirts such as circle skirts will not fit. You will need to find a different style skirt or piece fabric together. This may not be a look you are going for or nap and grain may not make it plausible. Some patterns will not have a layout for these narrow fabrics so you will need to figure out how to lay them out yourself. I will tell you a secret… I never use the pattern layouts anyway. Most of the time you will use more fabric than needed as they don’t always lay out patterns in the most economical way. It may take you some practice on how to do this. If you want me to write about how I go about this please leave a comment below. 


Quality Counts

If you get quilting cotton at a store such as Walmart, and I’m not being a snob here, but it is gonna be of lesser quality of fabric than you would if you get it from a better quality fabric supplier. And this goes for all fabrics, not just cotton. When you are a new sewist you may not realize the difference but as you start to work with different fabrics you will start to recognize the quality of fabric. When I returned to sewing a few years ago I made the mistake of making a dress from Walmart quilting cotton. The dress was a fail because I did not make it long enough but also the fabric was of poor quality. It faded quickly, it did not feel good against my skin, it did not press well and its drape was not the best look for the dress. We will talk more about drape later. These fabrics are fine if you want to make a test or practice piece but you will want to move on to better quality quilting cotton.

Quilting cotton for clothing
Embarrassing Make With Poor Quality Quilting Cotton

I regularly buy from quilting shops online. I used The Fabric Snobs quilting cotton to make the floral suit in my above example, and my most recent project highlighted in this post can be found here. The pattern is McCalls 7937. 

McCalls 7937 The Fabric Snob Quilting Cotton for clothing
Pattern: McCalls 7937 Fabric:The Fabric Snob


Check the Drape

For different projects, you will want a different drape. The drape is the way fabric lays against your body. You have fabrics that are fluid like chiffon, moderate like cotton, or voluminous like wool. Cotton usually classifies as a moderate drape however, different weights and quality cotton will have different drapes. I have noticed that cheaper cotton has a more stiff voluminous drape while higher quality has a more fluid drape. What you want or need will mostly depend on the project however, I would contend that for most everyday casual wear you will want less stiff cotton. For example, the dress that I used Walmart cotton on stuck out poorly at the seams instead of laying nicely down. Poor quality will only get worse after you wash it. It is easy to test the drape of the fabric place a piece of fabric on top of your arm or another surface to see how it looks when it falls. 


Laundering and Shrinkage

I am sure even if you are a new sewist by now you have been told plenty of times to launder fabric before you sew it. Some people do this to get out harmful chemicals from dyes and the manufacturing process but all should do this to be sure that the fabric shrinks before you make a garment that will later possibly shrink and no longer fit after all your hard work. I will admit for some knits I will skip this step. I know, “do as I say not as I do”, however quilting cotton is a critical step. Cotton can shrink from 2-7%. Imagine making a form-fitting bodice before washing it and having it shrink. You may no longer fit into it. I have had that happen to me and it is heartbreaking after spending so much time making something. When pre laundering quilting cotton I always try to make it shrink as much as possible so I will wash on warm or hot and dry it in the dryer. 

McCalls 7937 The Fabric Snob
Bag Pattern: The Posh Bracelet Bag(Find it on my Etsy shop) Pants Pattern: McCalls 7937 Fabric:The Fabric Snob


Now and then you will fall in love with a fabric that is too stiff and is not laying as nice as you would like. When you pre-launder your fabric put a can of Coke a Cola in the wash cycle. Yes, I know odd but it works. It won’t stain the fabric or anything else but it will help loosen the fibers slightly. If you want it to soften more you can soak it in coke before putting it in the washer. 

Coca-Cola


The quilting cotton used on the outfit featured in this post is from The Fabric Snob and can be found here! For a full review of the pattern check out my post in pattern review here.


See the link below for my Top Tips on Using Quilting Cotton for Sewing Clothing below.

Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

Lovely

New to Sewing? How Do You Get Started Sewing?

Are you new to sewing or have you been thinking about learning how to sew for years? You love the idea of making your own wardrobe pieces full of unique pieces, building up your basics, or making handbags that no one else has but you don’t know where or how to start. I love showing everyone my makes but I hear so many say they “wish” they could make things as I do. Well, I am here to tell you that you can!! Yes, there are some skills involved but when you get the basics you can make anything you want. So let’s get started building your skills.

Recently I had a sewing day with my nieces and we had a lot of fun. One made some basketball shorts and the other a lovely dress. It was so fun to see them work and their makes come together. They were so proud at the end when they got to try on something that was just a few hours before was a piece of fabric.

Sewing Tools
If you are new to sewing or working with a new sewist be sure to have the proper tools. My nieces both had a great start to their sewing setup that Santa and their parents have started for them. They each had a machine and a sewing basket full of tools. My brother while he sometimes does not admit knows how to sew and grew up with my mom and grandmother sewing and knows the tools well. But I did notice a couple of things that would make their sewing journey easier and more productive. I figured I would outline the top ten sewing tools for new sewists as I am often asked about the basics to get started with sewing. You can find the list in my Sewing Freebie Library. You can get the password by following the link at the bottom of this post.

Choose Beginner Patterns
Next, pick the first patterns carefully. For a new sewist, I pick an elastic waist skirt, shorts or boxers, or a very simple knit dress. McCalls has a line of patterns to learn how to sew.

Sewing Time
Sewing takes time so give yourself plenty of it. Don’t rush to complete a project because you will make mistakes. Also as you are learning sew for a couple of hours and then take a break or come back to it the next day refreshed. Don’t wait until you get frustrated before you take a break..

Space to Sew
Sewing takes space. It takes space to spread the pattern out and cut it and cut fabric and sew it together. Give yourself a good amount of space. Kitchen tables work well to cut patterns and fabric. I have also worked on the floor before. While it is not ideal it will work. I still will use the floor every so often when I am making very large projects. Just make sure whatever surface or wherever you store your sewing is clean and dry.

Patience My Friend
The first step to work with a new sewist or to learn sewing yourself is to be patient. I always tell students that at the end of the day it’s just fabric. The world will not end if you make a mistake and we all will make mistakes. I have sewn for over 30 years and I still make mistakes. So be patient with yourself or the new sewist you are working with.

Get my Top Ten Sewing Tools For New Sewists List Now!

Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

Lovely

Get my list of the Top Ten Sewing Tools For New Sewists Now!

Sign up to get the list instantly! You will be signed up to receive my newsletter with updates and tips plus get instant access to my resource library.

    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Southwestern Girl: Don’t be like the rest of them darling. -Grace Kelly

    Quilting Cotton For clothing

    Many don’t know not only am I a Texas girl I was born and lived as a young girl in New Mexico. While I moved away fairly young thanks to my dad being in the Army I went back during some summers and have gone back to vacation and visit family as an adult. New Mexico sometimes feels like two or three different states depending on where you go from the hot arid south to the mountains and ski resorts in the northern part of the state. It is a beautiful state full of heritage, vibrant people, and a particular style. There are beautiful adobe homes, native jewelry, and art. Of course, there is a strong Mexican influence as well. Mix that all together and it also comes out as a beautiful style, southwestern style. I am always drawn to the beautiful serape colors, especially Saltillo serape.

    “Colorful striped Mexican Saltillo blankets have long been prized for both their beauty and their high level of functionality. They go way back to the 1500s, the Aztecs were wearing colorful blankets created out of cotton and agave fibers, and dyed bright colors using the crushed fruits and insects. It was believed at the time that wearing bright colors both brought favors from the gods and kept evil spirits at bay. The blankets were originally woven in the town of Saltillo, in what is now the state of Coahuila. Saltillo blankets always feature a beautiful diamond shape in the center of the blanket that is woven like a tapestry–handpicking the warp and weaving in the colors in either silk or cotton. The blankets of a similar style which feature greys, browns, and tans came from the higher mountainous regions of Mexico where the colors were dependent on the natural wool fibers.” (1)

    So it is easy to see why I had to buy some of this quilting cotton serape style print fabric when I saw it. While it isn’t traditional Saltillo Serape it would make its use more versatile.

    Last summer I made shorts and two bags out of fabric from this same collection. I will include some pics and details of those.

    I started with this Serape pattern with hues of blue for my first make. I wanted this one to be a normal length button down shirt. I always struggle with button downs because they look boxier on me than I like.

    The first was a button-down using McCalls 6750. I had made a top out of this pattern for my mom last year and I loved the feminine version of a button-down top. It had a nice curve of the waist and hips and the collar is more feminine.

    I also loved that it was a simple large roll collar and did not need a collar stand. I can make a stand collar but it’s nice to have a cheat now and again. Overall it is a pretty easy make for collared shirt. For those wanting to get into wovens and collared shirts, this may be a good one to start with.

    But in the back of my head, I knew I wanted to make a wow piece from this lovely Serape inspired fabric that was a nod to my birth state and helped me show part of my Native American jewelry collection. For this it had to be a duster version!! I love the versatility of a duster and how it takes an outfit up a notch. I have made a few in the past including these two I made using New Look 6470.

    And then I made this duster from Simplicity 8177. I made this one with a Chinoiserie stencil pattern on the back. I will post a few in progress pics in a slide show. Dusters set off an outfit well. You can style the rest of your outfit fairly subdued and let them be the showpiece.

    I jazzed my serape inspired one up further by using black on the sleeves and the collar. I also added Thunderbird embroidery detail on the back yoke. “The Native Thunderbird Symbol represents power, protection, and strength. He is often seen as the most powerful of all spirits and can also transform into human form by opening his head up like a mask and taking his feathers off as if they were a mere blanket.” (2) I can always use a little more protection and strength!

    I decided for this piece I would skip the buttons. I never button any of my dusters so there was no need and also felt it would take away from the showpiece…. the fabric. The pattern is Simplicity 8546 and it very easy to make. The collar and collar stand application was straight forward and I didn’t have any issues.

    So what do you think of my Saltillo Serape inspired pieces? I love them!

    Unfortunately this fabric is not Native made but I do regularly support Native artisans with my jewelry collection. Here are a couple really good places I purchase my jewelry from if you are interested:

    Santa Fe Authentic directly works with artists and helps them bring their jewelry to the market. Nizhoni Traders is based in Arizona. They do live sales on Facebook every month. They ship very fast and the owner is very knowledgeable. I also want to say to do a lot of research. Unforntuatenly there are a lot of scams and mass produced and fake native artists out there. If you are going to wear Native inspired jewelry strive to buy authentic. While this fabric is not authentic I do strive to when I can and will be on the look out for a cotton fabric like this from an artist. If you know of someone please comment on this post. Below is a slide show of just a few of my beautiful Native pieces.

    If you want to read my full review on these patterns check out my posts on Pattern Review. McCalls 6750 and Simplicity 8546

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    1: https://zinniafolkarts.com/blogs/news/mexican-textiles-101-the-saltillo-blanket-or-serape
    2:https://spiritsofthewestcoast.com/collections/the-thunderbird-symbol

    Floral Explosion: Vogue 1716

    Vogue 1716 Sewing Pattern

    If you have been into fashion in the last few years you may have seen a gorgeous Instagram influencer, Victoria Fox. Check her out here. She showcases some stunning outfits. Very classy looks that I can’t get enough of. Before I knew who she was a saw this picture on Pinterest and knew I wanted to make something like this. I later found two other looks of hers that were very similar.

    I love the traditional suit in such a bold feminine print. So I decided to make my version. I wanted mine a little more subtle but still have a big impact. When I saw this large floral Mega Garden After Nightfall from the Fabric Snob on a black field I knew it was what I wanted.

    I mean I am a sucker for large florals! Can you tell? Here is a slideshow of some of my floral creations!

    Now I just needed the perfect suit pattern. I wanted something traditional with not too many seams or embellishments. I also wanted a fitted pant and a jacket that would look similar to my inspiration with a belt. After reviewing line drawing after line drawing of suit patterns Vogue 1716 was it. It had the silhouette I was looking for and no embellishments. 

    Oddly I can’t say I was all that enthusiastic about this suit when I saw the cover picture on the pattern.


    I liked the sparkle but just was not sure about the fit. Unfortunately, sometimes the pictures deceive you. One of the reasons I do blog posts on patterns is so others that are thinking about making a pattern can see it in another way to see if they may want to make it. I also review them on PatternReview.com so check out my profile over there. Pattern Review Profile

    Overall this pattern was so nice and easy to make. My last suit was not as successful so you are always shy to jump back on the horse after a project does not go as great as you hoped. I am glad I jumped back on with this one.

    There were no big hiccups and it went together quickly. If you are looking for your first suit pattern, this may be it. I am planning to make more suits with this pattern. The pants are a quick make and feature a side zip which I love. Side zips keep your tummy area smoother. These pants fit just perfectly. The only change I made was my normal lengthening for my 6′ height.

    Here are some details from my Pattern Review on www.patternreview.com

    Pattern Description: Semi-fitted, double breasted blazer with matching tie belt, two-piece sleeve with working vent, welt pockets with flap. Fitted, contoured, waist cropped pants have invisible side zipper.


    Pattern Sizing:Semi-fitted it fits true to size
    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes!


    Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes!


    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? Very easy quick sew for a blazer.


    Fabric Used: Cotton


    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Only lengthened the pants and the sleeves.


    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?Yes and I plan to!


    Conclusion: I really love this pattern! If you need a suit with this shape, make it!

    Let me know in the comments what you think of the suit!! Also add your email in the subscribe box below to be alerted when I drop new blog posts.

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    Introducing Rebecca’s Bag Pattern

    Rebecca’s Bag Pattern

    I love large oversized bags for the function and the drama! Rebecca’s Bag has a simple yet elegant shape. It is a bag that can you can grab to go shopping, to the beach or for memosa with the girls.

    You will definitely want to make several versions so you can play with the colors and textures of the vinyls. There are a lot of fun ones out there.

    Version 1 is made with 8 to 12 gauge clear vinyl. Version 2 can be just as fun but is the lined version best made with solid vinyl. You can also make the middle panel pop with a different color vinyl for either version. Let your imagination run wild. I also want to put some vinyl names or saying on a clear version with my Cricut machine.

    This bag has plenty of room for everything you need to carry. Sorry I am not responsible if your spouse and kids put too many items in here. A quick trip to the store you can put all your goodies in it. It folds down nicely so you could fold it up and put it in your checked bag and use it to carry all those souvenirs back from your trip. Of course that is when we can travel again. The measurements are approximately 25 inches wide x 11 inches tall

    To Celebrate Rebecca’s Launch she is on sale for $6 USD for the first week! Use coupon code REBECCA. Pick up your pattern here Rebecca’s Bag Pattern

    New to bag making, having a question on a step be sure to join my pattern company group on Facebook! Link

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    New Year, New Me…..yeah right!

    It is probably cliche that I launch this year’s blog posts with a workout clothing make! Honestly, I made these last year if that helps! In 2020 I started a weight loss journey which resulted in me losing 46 pounds and meeting my weight goal. People love to tell me how I did not need to lose weight but they also don’t take into consideration how I feel more healthy and full of energy. Also because I am tall and know how to dress to hide a few pounds most don’t realize how much I can weigh and still look thin.

    I also got back into working out. I worked out mostly with an app called Sweat by Kayla Itsines. I am hooked on their Fierce workout by Chontel Duncan but there are a ton of other workouts. During the pandemic, all the gym workouts were converted to home workouts. But don’t worry they are still just as effective. If you are interested in checking it out here is my referral link.

    Ok on to what brought you here…. the clothes.


    Workout clothes…good workout clothes are very important and for me at 6′ it becomes difficult to find some that fit me. Also, I like more support for a sports bra and those usually are not the prettiest sports bras. For a long time, I work old workout clothes but something about working out in something cute is motivational.


    These two pieces are from Greenstyle Creations Patterns and I love them. Yes, the pants are a tad on the wild side but I went for it. After all, I am just working out at home.


    Super G Tights
    For workout pants, there is a balance on the style of too many seams and detailing and not enough. I feel like these are perfect and I pushed the envelope with an experiment by putting a netting panel on the sides. WOW, it fun…. sexy but fun. And like I said a bit on the wild side but if you have been around my blog for a while I like a bit of edge.


    The fit of the tights was perfect. I was a little nervous about how the netting would work with the tights but it worked out fine. You may want to check your stretch gauge before doing this. I only had to lengthen them like I do for all my makes to fit my 6′ size. If I make them again I will probably raise the waist a bit, especially in the back but that is not about the fit but my preference for having them higher.



    Making them was super easy. I used my serger and cover stitch and machine it might have taken me 30 minutes to make them after cutting the fabric. A quick sew that you can work out in the next morning. I plan on making more of these for sure.


    The POWER Bra
    And on to this BRA!!!!!! Can I just say upfront I love it!!! It is so supportive yet still cute. I don’t feel like I am wearing a straight jacket when I am working out in it.


    Make sure to follow the fit/sizing guide that Greenstyle Creations provides. I had initially questioned this but the size is perfect.


    Normally I would tell you exactly where I got the fabric but I honestly am not sure. I know the netting was from Joanne’s but not sure about the main fabric. It may also be from Joanne’s but can’t confirm it.

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely

    Pattern Review: Vogue 1579

    Do you ever see a pattern and just know you have to make it? That was Vogue 1579. It is so classic yet on trend with the cape detail. I made it very early this year but planned on debuting it on Easter Sunday for church. Unfortunately, we all know COVID had different plans. So I have yet to wear this lovely dress out. Now that Texas is open we can go back to church but have to wear a mask. I don’t know if I can stand the thought of ruining the look with a mask. Oh well. Until it can be fully appreciated it will get an adoring look as I look through my closet.

    This is a fully lined close-fitting dress by Badgley Mischka. The only thing I was not a fan of was the belt. I am just not a bow kind of girl even though this one is quite subdued. I made a size 14 and did not have to make any sizing changes except I did add a couple of inches in length due to my 6’ height. ( Note the final pictures don’t fit as good as they should because I have since lost weight and by rights am now a size 10/12 in Vogue). It is such a beautiful feminine dress and it feels good on.

    I have two complaints about this pattern. The first is, the directions to put the cape on are impossible. The idea is that there would be a finished seam underneath the cape but how it was made to that point it becomes impossible to do that. I later found this same complaint in a review on www.patternreview.com here: https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/145474. I just attached the cape with the raw edge between the cape and dress. No one will ever see it anyway so it is not a huge issue.

    The second complaint is more annoying than anything. It is just such an awkward dress to put on and take off. The zipper is on the side seam and since the waist is fitted it is just awkward. But alas if we want to look great in a dress sometimes you make sacrifices! 🙂

    Non-Affiliate Pattern Link:https://mccall.com/v1579

    While I know it does not truly fit perfectly anymore I will still be rocking this dress. I may do a slight alteration from the back seam or I may find a belt I do like with it and wear it to cinch in the waist a bit. I am tempted to make this again in maybe a less formal look and a bit shorter. It is a great pattern besides the cape attachment issue. Here is my video review for the dress.

    Pattern Description:
    Close fitting lined dress has attached cape and side back invisible zipper. Belt has bow and snap closures.

    Pattern Sizing:
    I made a size 14 and just added length due to my 6’ height.

    Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
    Yes!! Very Lovely

    Were the instructions easy to follow?
    Most of it was except the cape insertion instructions do not work how they have it to leave a finished seam on the underside. I had to just insert it and have raw edge underneath the cape. Not a big issue since no one will see that part but made me feel crazy that I was not getting it.

    What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
    Disliked the cape insertion and love everything else. I did not do the belt because bows aren’t my style.

    Fabric Used:
    Crepe

    Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
    Just my normal lengthening a couple inches for my height.

    Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
    Absolutely and I think I want to in a more winter weight fabric or a more casual version. Yes but not for a newbie.

    Conclusion: I love this dress and am thinking about making a winter or Christmas one.

    Until Next Time! Please follow me on Instagram at www.Instagram.com/lovelyforlife1 and https://www.facebook.com/Lovelyforlifedesigns

    Lovely