OAL2016: Choosing Your Fabric

1 Jun

What up, y’all! Welcome to the first official day of The Outfit Along! If you haven’t picked a fabric yet, don’t freak out – that’s what this post is about today 🙂 I’ve handed over the reins to Michelle of Style Maker Fabrics – one of our sponsors (who not only supplied my fabric, but is also offering prizes and a discount on the site – you’ll have to read to the bottom to get to it, though 😉 ) for this OAL. If you’re not familiar with Style Maker Fabrics, consider this your introduction 🙂 Style Maker Fabrics has a great selection of beautiful and on-trend dressmaking fabrics, and their website allows you to shop not only by fabric type, but also by garment type and color (which I think is pretty genius!). Style Maker Fabrics is also ready and willing to help you find that perfect fabric if you are having trouble with too many choices – tell them the garment you want to make and a few parameters (color, fiber, price, etc) and they’ll pull together some suggestions so you don’t have to weed through all they have to offer. Although, personally, I think that’s the fun part! 🙂

ANYWAY, enough about me – I’m going to give this over to Michelle now! As a side note, my chosen fabric and yarn are both in this post – can you guess which one they are? 🙂



I am so excited to be participating in this year’s Outfit Along. I had the pleasure of working with Lauren earlier in the spring on a special project for my online shop, Style Maker Fabrics, and now I am happy to return the favor!
Favorites 5
Yarn Colors: Maize/Banyon/Hibiscus
Fabrics: Left- 1/2/3 Center- 1/2/3 Right- 1/2/3

To kick things off for the sewing portion of Outfit Along 2016, I wanted to share some tips and inspiration for selecting the perfect fabric for the Hollyburn skirt from Sewaholic patterns, the official OAL sewing pattern. You could apply most of these tips to just about any pattern, but I will look at the Hollyburn specifically. I have also paired some yummy skeins of Quince’s Sparrow yarn (recommended for Zinone, the official knit pattern) with some fabrics from our shop to hopefully inspire your own outfit!


First and foremost, what type of fabric should you be looking for? The nice thing about the Hollyburn skirt is its versatility. The pattern calls for light to medium weight wovens, which translates to a fabric with little to no stretch in just about any weight/thickness (not a lot of help, right?). This is where you can really get creative. Think about how you want to wear your skirt, your personal style and maybe even what is missing from your closet. Here are three main fabric categories to think about and how they will translate in your finished skirt.

Structured Lines
The first category includes fabrics with a bit more weight- denim, twill, canvas, suiting, etc. These fabrics have very little drape, if really any at all, and they hold their shape giving you garment a clean A-line look. A great choice for a durable skirt, something to wear every day, year round- like a classic denim skirt. I would steer towards the lighter weights to maximize the movement of your skirt. I would also lean towards keeping the length on the shorter side, View B or C to keep it from feeling too heavy- both in looks and actual weight.

Structure 1

Form and Grace
The next category includes much lighter weight, structured wovens- lawn, shirting, linen, chambray, etc. These fabrics still provide some architecture to your skirt but will also have more movement, drape and body. Perfect for spring and summer, these fabrics are much lighter and airy resulting in a bit more feminine look. With some of these fabrics (especially the lighter colors), you may find that you need to add a lining- an extra step but totally worth it for the perfect fabric.

Form 2

Feminine Drape
Last but not least, the truly drapey, fluid wovens- rayon challis, crepe, chiffon, etc. Probably my favorite category, these fabrics will give your skirt the maximum amount of drape and movement. They will also give you the minimum volume as they will provide no added structure but the silky, flowy nature will soften the lines of this skirt giving you a beautiful feminine silhouette. This would be my preferred fabric choice for the longest length, View A, as the fluidity of the fabrics will give you an amazing lightness and feel that you won’t be able to resist taking a twirl in.

Drape 3


Ok, now that you have the style of skirt that you want to make in mind and what type of fabrics would be suitable, let’s talk about pattern and design. The pattern recommends staying away from plaids, stripes and directional designs, but Why? Having a structured pattern to the fabric does add another level of difficulty but I don’t think this it is something you should shy away from. It may take a little extra fabric and a bit more planning how you want the pattern to lay out but the results will be amazing. With a seam down the center front and back you will want to take some extra care to match up the pattern as best you can. Or throw caution to the wind and don’t worry about it! I would only recommend this approach for a more fluid fabric (category 3 above) as the drape will help hide the any mismatch.

Up next, color- my favorite part about picking fabrics! With the help of my local yarn shop, Apple Yarns, I was able to pick up a whole color range of Sparrow and play with how this yummy linen yarn looks with different colors and textures of fabric. Not a whole lot else to say about color other than that they are all stunning- I will just let the photos do the talking. Here are some favorite combinations for this summer!

Coral 4
Yarn Colors: Hibiscus/Pink Grapefruit/Paprika
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4/5 Bottom- 1/2/3/4/5

Aqua 1
Yarn Colors: Eleuthera/Banyon/Fundi
Fabric: Left- 1/2/3/4 Right- 1/2/3/4/5

Denim 2
Yarn Colors: Birch/Blue Spruce/Pigeon
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4 Bottom- 1/2/3/4

Neutrals 3
Yarn Colors: Maize/Little Fern/Citron/Sans/Fen
Fabric: Top- 1/2/3/4/5 Bottom- 1/2/3/4/5

Hopefully you have found this post helpful and inspiring. I know Lauren has lots of amazing tips for sewing the Hollyburn pattern to share over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see everyone’s creations, both knit and sewn!

Happy stitching!

Note: All of the fabrics shown are available in our online shop, Style Maker Fabrics. To help with your project, we are offering all OAL participants FREE US shipping (or discounted international shipping) on their orders through June 30th, 2016 with code OAL2016. We have also contributed a few special prizes for the three random winners of the OAL challenge. Read all of the details HERE.



Thanks again for such a great – both in terms of info AND delicious fabric eye-candy – post, Michelle! Friends, let’s talk about our chosen fabric + yarn. What did you end up with? Can you guess which one in this post is mine? Are you second-guessing yourself after seeing these new options? It’s never too late to make two skirts, you know 😉


15 Responses to “OAL2016: Choosing Your Fabric”

  1. lizziebups June 1, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

    I have to say this is one of the most informative posts on fabric selection I’ve ever seen on the 250+ sewing blogs I read! The discussion of fabric type and drape and how they would interact with the skirt pattern to produce a certain look is rarely discussed so thoroughly. And what issues to think about in relation to patterned fabric. More experienced sewists have learned much if this through trial and error, and learn to think these issues through before fabric selection. But putting words to the process and fully describing the trade offs is very informative! I’ve never visited Style Maker Fabrics, but the search by garment type feature sounds really useful.

    • LLADYBIRD June 1, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      Yeah, Michelle put together a wonderful post! I agree that the drape of fabric isn’t really discussed much – it’s definitely something I learned through a lot of expensive trial and error 🙂

  2. Nele June 1, 2016 at 3:15 pm #

    Love a lot of these choices. I do want to add a word of caution: The Hollyburn (i’ve made two so far) isn’t recommended for striped and plaid fabric because of the way it’s layed out. I made a striped one that turned out well, but there is definitly some fabrics that Michelle has chosen (all gorgeous and all!) that won’t be working well with the grainlines…:)
    Wonderful work and recommondations though!!

    • LLADYBIRD June 1, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

      You can definitely make the Hollyburn with a striped or plaid fabric – I did it last year (blog post here) and it turned out fine with all matching stripes 🙂 I would definitely recommend buying extra, though, if you want it to match across the seam lines!

  3. Mary Kate June 1, 2016 at 4:11 pm #

    Thank you! As a new sewist this is a wonderful introduction to fabric choice. Looking forward to this series

    • LLADYBIRD June 2, 2016 at 12:53 pm #

      I’m glad you found it helpful! 🙂

  4. Gaby June 1, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

    La verdad que tiene mucha información necesaria. me gusta mucho leer este tipo de post. Gracias y voy a intentar hacer una falda así.
    Besos…. Ga!

  5. Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch) June 2, 2016 at 5:59 am #

    This was a great post. I’m not doing the OAL (I knit elephant sized sweaters), but I loved reading Michelle’s thoughts on all the different fabric choices for the skirt. I can’t guess what you chose, Lauren, but I’m excited for the reveal!!!

    • LLADYBIRD June 2, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      Woohoo I’m excited to reveal it! It’s gon’ be CUTE 😀

  6. musingrunner June 4, 2016 at 5:16 pm #

    Thanks, that helped me a lot. I had picked a print from Spoonflower, but was hesitant because they are expensive and I have had prints from them that are badly off grain. So, you pretty much just saved my outfit! Go run in slow motion with a tape measure around your neck while dramatic music plays.

  7. Elle June 8, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    I just found out about the OAL, and I’m excited! But your search-by-color tool doesn’t have an orange option, and the yarn I’m using (Sparrow in Paprika) is a rusty orange color. Do you have any recommendations? Thank you!


  1. Sewing Meets Knitting: Outfit Along 2016 – Style Maker Fabrics - June 5, 2016

    […] and a special guest post about fabric (our favorite subject!). We kicked off the Outfit Along on Lauren’s LLadybird blog this past Wednesday with our post on selecting the perfect fabric for your Hollyburn skirt. Read […]

  2. OAL2016: My Finished Outfit! | LLADYBIRD - July 29, 2016

    […] already wrote a couple posts about the modifications to make this particular skirt (see: Choosing Your Fabric, Flat Piping, and Installing an Exposed Zipper), so I’ll just brief over the key details […]

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