La Sylphide Sewalong: Choosing Your Fabric

Posted by: LLADYBIRD on 2:44 AM
With only a week before the La Sylphide Sewalong starts, let's talk fabric! This is one of my favorite parts of the sewing process - from figuring out what look you are going for, to finding the ~perfect fabric~ that goes with you vision, to wrapping yourself in the yardage and and wearing it as a cape around the house for a few hours. What, just me?

The La Sylphide can really be made in almost any fabric that you want. The main fabric quality that you want to focus on here is drape, which is what the pattern was designed for. However, you can totally make this in a non-drapey fabric, as long as you are ok with the bow and peplum (or skirt) having a bit of body, aka almost standing on it's ok. I've personally made the top in both a cotton plaid as well as a medium weight chambray, if you're curious as to what effect a non-drapey fabric will have on this pattern.

While I did just tell y'all that the pattern can be made in almost any fabric you want, there are some fabrics where I would draw the line. For one, you don't want anything with too much bulk. Think about all the layers that go around the tie neck (as well as the tie itself) and you'll realize that a super heavy fabric just won't look good. I will also caution against using a fabric that has a lot of stretch - not just jersey knits, but super stretch wovens as well. Obviously it can be done -see Sue's jersey La Sylphide - but for the purposes of this sewalong, we will not be covering knit conversion. One last thing I wanted to add is that the dress is best unlined, so stay away from any fabrics that may require a lining - such as a scratchy wool - unless you plan on underlining (not covered in this sewalong, but you can totally do it!).

So what can you make this pattern with? Well, I'm glad you asked - I have swatches!

Shirt Variation:
For the shirt, think about how you want the bow and peplum to look, and base your fabric choices off of that. A fabric with a lot of drape, such as a silk or a rayon, will give you a very flowy peplum and soft bow. If the idea of working with silk terrifies you, try a cotton voile (or even a cotton+silk voile, for a little added luxe! Yes there's silk in there but it's not scary silk!). For a peplum that stands out more and a bow with a bit of body, try a cotton shirting or a lightweight chambray.

Dress Variation:
For the dress, you can use the same fabrics as suggested for the shirt. Again, flowy or body, depending on preference. Like I said earlier, this pattern is best left un-lined, but don't let that deter you from using a sheer fabric! This dress looks srsly amazing with a solid slip underneath. Try to keep your sheer fabric on the natural side - like, you know, silk and not poly - as it will save you loads and loads of stress when it comes time to cut, press, and actually sew. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but any time I sew a "difficult" fabric, I've found that natural fibers always always always behave better than their cheaper poly counterparts. Just my two cents!

Skirt Variation:
Just making the skirt? That's cool too, you still have options! Since we're not dealing with a bow neck, the bulk factor is not as big an issue with the skirt. Pretty much any fabric goes - from delicate silk crepe de chine, to a medium weight denim. As long as you can sew the button holes, you can probably use this fabric. One fabric I really love for this pattern is wool crepe - not so great for the top half, due to bulk, but it makes for a perfect skirt fabric. Throw a slip under it and you're good to go!

 Hopefully this post gets y'all excited for your fabric options! I know I definitely am - I'm making all 3 variations, which means picking 3 different fabrics yeeeah! Speaking of fabrics, aren't these swatches just amazing? They all came from The Fabric Store's US location (other locations in New Zealand & Australia), who is generously sponsoring this sewalong (yes, US-ers, this is the fabric store that carries that magical merino wool that we've been freaking out over). This is my first experience working with The Fabric Store, and hoooooly crap, you guys - so so so much beautiful fabric, and nearly all of it is natural fibers. It was actually a little hard to choose! You can also follow their blog or Instagram for more fabric yummies.

I actually picked my fabrics out of these swatches, which ones do you think I'm using? :) If you've yet to order your fabric before the sewalong starts next Monday (!!!), just know we will be starting off a little slow so you'll have plenty of time to catch up. If you've already picked your fabric, feel free to share it in the Flickr Group!

Also, here's a little button you can put in your sidebar if you want the whole world to know what shenanigans you are up to this month: