Happy first weeks of Summer, Cali&Co Readers! Time to stock your wardrobe with garments to help you beat the heat in style. And this year, I’m all about the wovens! Here’s a sampling of what I’m sewing with, and my takeaways. Enjoy!
What is it? It’s a stable, lightweight fabric that sews up as easily as standard chambray, but added Tencel fibers adds drape, wrinkle resistance, and a softer hand. “Tencel” is a form of sustainable rayon fiber commonly woven into denim, twill, linen, and more.
Why I love it: It BREATHS! I made this half-sleeve pullover (the MN Dove) to wear sitting poolside this summer, hoping to hide my shoulders from the sun. I’ve been covered up AND comfortable! It’s fabulous.
Tips: Pair this fabric with structured garments (i.e. That include darts, pleats, or other shaping techniques) like shirts, sundresses, or shorts.
What is it? Two layers of cotton gauze stitched to one another at regular intervals to provide more opacity for garment use.
Why I love it: It ALSO breathes! (Pretty crucial for summer, don’t you agree?) But the materials’ construction means it has drape that makes it perfect for skirts and sundresses.
Tips: Because it’s a double-thick fabric, avoid patterns that require matching bias binding – too much bulk! And be liberal with your starch before cutting and interfacings (to add stability for waistbands, zipper installs, buttonholes, collars, etc).
What is it? A lightweight rayon with pronounced twill weave. (Technically it’s a chambray, but it sews and handles like no chambray I’ve ever worked with so I left it off the above title so as not to give you the wrong impression.)
Why I love it: The swingy shiny drape! When you want a lose fitting garment that won’t cling to your sweaty (sorry, glistening??) summer skin, reach for the Ranchero Rayon.
Tips: Pick patterns with few seams and shaping elements. All that drape comes at the price of sewing ease, so you’ll save yourself a lot of grief by keeping your project simple. Starch heavily before cutting into it, and sew with French seams to keep this delicate fabrics’ edges from unraveling over time. It takes patience but the end result is so pretty! See more tips for working with this fabric on Tanya’s earlier post >>>
To emphasize the drape of this fabric, watch how it moves in the slightest breeze:
There are, of course, other summer-appropriate woven fabrics like Cotton Lawn, Voile, Swiss Dot, etc. Keep your eyes out on the blog to see how those sew up and seamstress’s tips for using them! Good luck!