The last time we made a skirt, I recommended you use cotton as your fabric. This is because cotton is one of the most versatile fabrics out there. Also, because it’s a natural fibre, it breathes wonderfully and will feel comfortable in most circumstances. However, because the skirt we’re working on right now is a more fitted, professional looking skirt, I would recommend making this skirt out of a bottom-weight fabric.
Bottom-weight fabrics are much heavier than most of the cottons you’ll find. They’re also referred to as suitings as they make excellent tailored jackets and the like. There are several options for bottom-weights or suitings. However, modern suitings and bottom-weights often come with spandex to give them a little stretch. For now, I wouldn’t choose anything that has spandex or very much stretch. I promise we will talk about stretchy materials before too long.
Here is some basic information on the most common forms of suitings that you’ll find in your local fabric store or online.
A fabric made of many twisted fibres that lie parallel to one another. Originally, this fabric was only made from wool or cotton, but now there are many options, including polyester. Take care to cut your skirt so that the cords all run the same direction.
This rugged cotton material has shown to be an excellent choice for pants and skirts. Heck, in the 80’s and 90’s we used it for just about anything. Denim can be less expensive than some of the other options, but it rarely comes in colours other than blue and black.
The oldest fabric, linen is an excellent suiting. Unfortunately, the finer and less scratchy the fabric, the more expensive it becomes. However, if you’re making a lined skirt or pants, the comfort of the fabric against your skin might not be of utmost concern.
The most versatile and least expensive of the suitings, this synthetic fibre lends itself to creating a look of almost every other option on this list. For example, there are some amazing “linen look” fabrics. These fabrics look like linen, but are often smoother. There are also tons of options that look like traditional wool or silk fabrics. Unfortunately, because they are synthetic, polyester doesn’t breathe as well as the natural options.
Another versatile option, rayon spans the gap between natural and synthetic fibres. A synthetic fibre made from wood pulp rather than petroleum (like polyester), rayon breathes more than polyester but less than natural fibres. Some more recent weaves are made from bamboo and breathe almost as well as cotton while being as soft as silk.
Some of the most beautiful suits, dress pants, and professional skirts are made of heavy silks that are woven. These are amazing fabrics, but are also quite expensive and can be difficult to work with. I hesitate to work with silk myself, so I’d recommend that you wait until you’re very comfortable with other delicate fabrics.
The precursor to Denim, twill is a thick, cotton fabric that comes in a variety of colours. It has the same feel as denim as well as the same strength, but oftentimes, it has a finer weave.
One of the most common forms of suiting is fine woven wool. This is the heaviest and most expensive of the suitings, but it’s also one of the most durable.
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