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10 popular fabrics for sewing casual dresses and tops

fabric for dresses

This page is all about what I would buy if I was out looking for the right kind of fabric to make dresses and simple tops; you can easily check out these fabrics in a showroom by the names given. Then you can first hand see how the fabric hangs on your body, how it will look, how it will move as you move, how it feels on your skin etc – which are very important factors to look for in clothes you will be wearing all day long. 

There is no dearth of choices when selecting fabric for dresses. But there are always some favorites. And these are mine.

1 Cotton Lawn

Cotton lawn fabric is smooth, soft, lightweight and comes in good prints. It is a great fabric for lightweight dresses- though you may have to line the garment. 

2 Seersucker fabric

Seersucker is a cotton fabric with a puckered surface texture. It is a favorite for making little girls’ frocks. The fabric can be made into beautiful tops and dresses for adults too.

3 Poplin

Cotton poplin as well as stretch poplin are used for making dresses. Cotton poplin (a shirting material) is a very comfortable fabric with a good drape and a slight crisp feel. It is thin and lightweight but also very strong. And the best part is it does not wrinkle much. It is a shirting material but used to sew dresses and tops too.Learn more about Poplin here.

4 Polyester fabrics

Georgette as well as crepe made of polyester fibers are crinkle polyester fabrics that make good dresses and tops. Poly-charmeuse is a soft drapey fabric that is a good fabric which looks beautiful and is easy to care.

5 Jersey fabric

100% Cotton jersey fabric is lightweight with a little stretch and a nice enough drape.  It is a good breathable fabric for making casual dresses. Ponte Roma is a slightly thicker version of jersey fabric – great for making more structured dresses, than the usually thin knit fabrics. Cotton/poly jersey knit is another great option for casual dresses and top – no waviness that is usual in knits. 

6 Soft viscose twill fabrics

This is a softer smoother version of the twill fabric. It is an elegant fabric suitable for making goodlooking dresses with a nice drape.

7 Medium weight printed cotton 

Gingham is a  medium weight check patterned fabric. This is a favorite fabric for sewing girls dresses with smocking. Printed cotton needs to be of good quality for it to be good for sewing dresses and tops. It is not very drapey but rather have a crispy feel. The different types offprints and patterns available with medium weight cotton is mind blowing and they can be sewn into interesting looking casual dresses.

8 Soft linen

Linen is a very comfortable and elegant fabric. A lightweight linen fabric can be a great fabric for making crisp and cool dresses. It is one of the best fabrics for wearing in summer. Linen becomes softer with wear and wash.

9 Rayon challis

If you want a very drapey, soft, lightweight material and you do not care about the fact that you may have to add lining to the garment, and that it is a difficult fabric to maintain roughly, then this is the best fabric for those beautiful casual dresses. 

10 Poly cotton fabric

This is a blended fabric – of polyester and cotton fibers with characteristics of both the fibers. The fabric comes in vivid colors and are somewhat wrinkle resistant and easy to care for. But some poly-cotton fabrics may be weak and may fray so you have to ensure the quality.

What is your favourite fabric to sew casual tops and dresses?.

Related posts : Best fabrics for summer clothes; Best Absorbent fabrics ; Best shiny fabrics ; Best waterproof fabrics ; Best lining fabrics ; Best thick and heavy weight fabrics ; Best thin fabrics ; Best synthetic fabrics ; 20 questions to ask about the quality of fabric you are about to buy; How to buy fabrics


AUTHOR : Hi, I am Sarina. I am passionate about clothes, sewing, fabrics, fashion and surface design techniques in no particular order and absolutely love writing about all of these including what I learn, what I experience, and what I have bought to do all these. You are more than welcome to stay here and learn with me.

4 thoughts on “10 popular fabrics for sewing casual dresses and tops”

  1. Hello Sarina! I just stumbled on to your site today and LOVE IT! Thank you so much for posting so much useful information. I have been looking for Fabric guides because I often get so confused by all the names and terms. Thanks again for your time and effort to put this together. It is so useful!


  2. Fran Hicks _Williams

    What is the best fabric for tee shirt please. I want it to be cool preferable cotton blend with some give.. Thank you. Fran

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