In my opinion, one of the hardest things about sewing when you are a beginner is choosing fabric. I still remember my first ever visit to a fabric store. Saying it was overwhelming it’s an understatement.
I believe choosing the right fabric for a project is a skill that you develop and curate overtime. The only way to learn it’s by trial and error, experimenting with different fabrics and silhouettes and understanding your own preferences.
Even now, 9 years after my first sewing class, choosing the wrong fabric for an specific pattern is still the mistake I make more frequently and the one that make me pause before cutting a special fabric.
Said that, one of my favourite things about sewing is experimenting with fabric. Once a pattern works for me I love making it multiple times and I enjoy experimenting with unusual fabrics. The same pattern made with a different fabric substrate can change the overall look of the garment considerably and make it hard to realized that the base silhouette is the same. It’s like doing a sewing trick!
If you are at the beginning of your sewing journey, the safe move is checking the fabric recommendations for that specific pattern. Usually patterns designers let you know the preferred fabrics to achieve the look of the pattern. Also is very useful to browse Instagram and note the fabrics used for the version you like the most.
For my practical case I decided to use the Block Tee pattern by Paper Theory. A relaxed boxy woven tee with some nice angular square armholes. The fabrics recommended are cotton and linen for a more structured look or light and drapey silk for a softer silhouette.
I love that from the start you have options! You can decide if you prefer a boxy or a drapey silhouette and the only thing you need to change is the fabric you use! Talk about versatility.
For both tees i made a size 24 at the shoulders, bust and sleeves grading to a 28 at the hips. To do this i just drafted a gentle curve from one size to the other starting a bit below the armhole point. I wanted to let the fabric be responsible for the difference in silhouette and fit without changing or altering the pattern pieces. I think it turned out pretty successful.
The linen is nice and crisp and I find it that doesn’t crease and wrinkle as easily as other linens I own. It’s lightweight but totally opaque, something hard to find on light colour linens. In my experience finding printed linen is hard so I was very happy when I saw this cute floral print.
Sewing with it was a joy. It pressed like a dream and didn’t distort or shifted while sewing it.
The final top is crisp and boxy and the square armholes really stand up. I can see myself wearing this top in the summer with shorts.
For the other fabric choice we have a polyester satin. My first time working with satin fabric and I was a bit intimidated by how slippery it was.
Cutting and sewing with satin takes a bit more time and care that linen but let me tell you, it wasn’t even half as hard as I thought it would be. I took it slowly, used a liberal amount of pins and everything went smoothly.
I love the print on this fabric!! It’s subtle but whimsical and I specially like the modern look. I was a bit worried about wearing polyester because, sweat! But I’ve worn it a handful of times already and it feels soft and nice against the skin and haven’t felt sweaty or smelly while wearing it.
As you can see, the different fabrics make the two garments look very different. In my opinion the linen one looks more casual while the satin haas a more formal and sophisticated feel to it.
I love them both and even if already worn them a few times I know that as soon as the snow melts away I will be wearing them non stop.