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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

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

Summer Dreaming Dress Series: McCalls 7745

Ahh we are at the end of the Summer Dreaming Dress Series. I hoped you enjoyed the dresses I made and loved wearing this summer. Next year I hope to post them earlier in the summer so you can have the time to possibly make them your self. 


Our last dress is McCalls 7745 view D and she is a beauty. And lovely enough she is still in stock on the McCalls website so check her out here: https://somethingdelightful.com/m7745 You can put her in your stash for next year. 


The description describes it as, “Close fitting wrap dresses have neckline and sleeve variations, and ribbon ties. A, C, D:Shaped hemline, wrong side of fabric will show. Includes separate pattern pieces for A/B, C, and D cups.” 


She is pure loveliness. Very feminine and summery. I loved view A and B but I wanted a dress I could wear that would be a bit more covered up. With a cami underwear I can wear this to church. 


I really liked that this pattern had the different bust sizes included and it was a great fit when I made it. Now just like the other dresses it is a bit big. Yes I know you are tired of hearing it but just in case next year someone comes back and is confused I want them to know it is too big in the pictures.


I have had this fabric for years and it was from Joann’s but I did happen to find it again recently so check for it. It was a light crepe fabric and lined the bodice with a Rayon. Yes it can be a little warm for outdoor activities but inside it is a beautiful and comfortable dress.


Well this concludes my Summer Dreaming Dress Series. I hope you enjoyed.

You can read the Pattern Review Version of this post here.

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

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Summer Dreaming Dress Series: McCalls 6884

McCall’s 6884 Sewing Pattern Make

Can you believe it is already Fall? Summer is long over now!! But this summer girl still wants to hang on to a bit of summer. I am already dreaming of next summer. 2020 has been a crazy year for everyone. Although I felt a bit defeated at times during the COVID pandemic I was determined to get some great summer dress makes in. Even if I was only going to wear them around the house, to eat and to family events. So I am going to show three of my favorite today, tomorrow and Friday. So check back each day.


McCalls 6884 is such a sexy little number with the slim fit around the waist and the slit in version D. For this summer look I wanted the coolness of the sleeveless version.

The pattern described it as, “MISSES’ DRESSES: Close-fitting, pullover, mock wrap dresses have right front variations, tie ends and narrow hems. C and D: gathered right front. Designed for medium-weight moderate stretch knits. SUGGESTED FABRICS: Jerseys, Cotton Knits and Novelty Knits.”

Honestly when I saw the cover picture shown I was not that impressed. While it is a good basic wrap style dress it was not what I was going for. But then I realized D had that look I was going for.

I found the fabric in my stash from Pretty Posh Prints from about a year or more ago. It is a super soft Double Brushed Poly. It topped off the look with a sexy island girl look. The dress is super comfortable and I may make another one in a solid.


Unfortunately you wont find the pattern on the McCalls site anymore but check out Ebay and I am sure you will. My tip for buying patterns on Ebay is to put the pattern name and number into a saved search with an alert and as soon as someone lists it you will get an alert.


I made a size 14 in this but had lost weight before pictures were taken so I could size down now but it was true to size when I made it. 

Find my PatternReview.com review here: https://sewing.patternreview.com/review/pattern/168213

See you tomorrow!

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

Lovely

Tropical Summer Look: McCall’s 7757

I love patterns that seem to be made for me. I am a Texas girl who loves fun summer looks and I needed a few nice and easy sews after a few weeks of sewing handbags. I had Mccalls 7757 on my list to make since I saw it!! A fun off shoulder crop top and elastic flowy pants. Perfect for lounging around the house, pool or beach or shopping the day away.

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

The top, View B, is an easy make and so fun. I think a beginner that has basic pattern understanding can make this piece. The pants are a basic elastic pant with no fitting needed so again a great beginner project.

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

This fun and super soft double brushed poly is from Pretty Posh Prints . If you have never bought fabric from there before you should I have never been disappointed in her fabrics.

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

I want to make this set again in a solid for a more elegant look that will go into an evening. I would like to make one in a white to wear with a cotton box pleat skirt. I may not get that done this year but for next summer it will be perfect.

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

So if you have been on the fence of McCalls 7757 go for it!! Also, checkout Pretty Posh Prints Fabric.

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

Formal Pattern Review:

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

Pattern Description: McCall’s

Pattern sizing: I made a size 14. Here is the sizing chart.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern when you were finished sewing?

Yes!

Were the instructions complete and easy to follow?

Yes!

Fabric used: (Did you use the recommended fabrics in the pattern)

Double Poly Knit! Yes!

Did you alter the pattern in any way?

No!

Was there anything you disliked or would change?

Nope! Easy Peasy!

Would you sew it again?

Yes!

Would you recommend it to others?

Yes!

Do you consider the pattern beginner/intermediate/advanced?

Beginner

Does the pattern include layers for easy printing?

Print

Seam allowance used in the pattern

5/8ths

Is the pattern cut or no cut pages?

Paper pattern

Lovely!

McCalls 7757

McCalls 7757

 

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