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Fabrics for Dresses: Top 10 fabrics for your dress (Complete Guide)

Fabrics for Dresses: Top 10 fabrics for your dress (Complete Guide)

Sewing dresses is where a lot of sewers and fashion designers start. They are generally easier to fit and sew than garments like trousers yet offer endless style and cut options to experiment with. This makes a dress the perfect piece of clothing to hone your design and sewing skills on. 

There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different fabrics to choose from for your dress design – so, how do you know which fabric is the best choice? In this article, we’ll show you how to select the perfect dressmaking fabric, as well as give you our top 10 fabric picks for sewing dresses. 

What Makes a Fabric Perfect for Sewing a Dress?

Before purchasing fabric for your dress, you’ll need an understanding of what properties to look for in a good dressmaking fabric. It’s also important to consider your design, where the garment will be worn, and what weather you plan to wear your dress in. All of these considerations have an impact on what type of fabric will be your best choice. 


Characteristics of a Good Dressmaking Fabric

There are a few basic characteristics you’ll want to make sure that any fabric you choose has. It’s important that the fabric is comfortable to wear, so choose one that is soft or silky against the skin and that has a good drape. You don’t want to be wearing an itchy, stiff dress all day!

You may also want to consider the breathability of the fabric, especially if it’s a summer dress or a casual, everyday dress that will get a lot of wear. 


Fabric Weights for Sewing Dresses

The weight of the fabric is another important consideration when buying dressmaking fabrics. How heavy the fabric is will impact how it falls and drapes, as well as what season or weather the resulting garment will be best worn in. Generally, choose a heavier fabric for a winter dress and a lighter fabric for flowy summer dress. 

Going into a physical fabric store is the easiest way to ensure that the fabric you choose is the right weight for your project, however there are many more options when you buy fabrics online. That’s why most online fabric stores list the weights of their fabrics – so you know what you’re getting before you purchase. 

Typically, the fabric store will list the weight of the fabric in grams per square meter (gsm or g/m2) or ounces per square yard (oz or oz/yd2). A higher gsm or oz measurement indicates a heavier fabric. 

Here is a guide to understanding fabric weights for sewing dresses:




types of dresses



very light

silky, sheer, ultra-flowy and super lightweight dresses




t-shirt dresses, button-up shirt dresses, casual lightweight dresses




sweater dresses, structured dresses




very heavy winter dresses – examples include wool or denim


Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Dress

There are so many different styles of dresses you could make – and the fabric you choose needs to fit your specific design and vision for the project. 

Do you want an airy, flowy dress for summer? A structured, business-formal dress? Maybe a heavy, textured dress to wear with leggings in the winter? 

Ask yourself how you want the dress to drape, how the fabric should feel, and where you plan on wearing the dress. Answering those questions is important in narrowing down your search to the right types of fabrics. 

Top 10 Fabrics for Sewing Dresses

With a solid understanding of what makes a great fabric for sewing dresses – and how to choose one that fits your dress design – let’s take a look at our top 10 favorite fabrics for dressmaking!

We have a huge selection of gorgeous European fabrics perfect for making beautiful dresses. We also focus on stocking sustainable fabrics, many of which have various certifications to ensure their quality and sustainability.

1. Cotton Jersey

If you’re looking to make a casual, everyday dress that’s soft and comfortable to wear – cotton jersey is a great choice. Jersey is a lightweight, soft, stretchy knit fabric that is often used to make t-shirts and other casual knitwear. When made from a breathable and comfy natural fiber such as cotton, jersey is great for everyday wear. It’s the perfect choice for t-shirt dresses and other casual knit dresses. 

We have a great selection of jersey knit fabrics to choose from, including this certified organic cotton jersey that is available in a wide range of colors.

2. Tencel Twill

Tencel, which is a brand of lyocell by the sustainability-focused company Lenzing, is a type of rayon fabric created from ethically sourced eucalyptus wood. Tencel lyocell is a soft, silky fabric that is very durable and comfortable to wear. Tencel twill is woven with a twill weave – which is a long-lasting weave with diagonal lines across the surface of the fabric. 

A lightweight Tencel twill is a great choice for a silky, drapey dress or flowy shirtdress. We offer a 100% Tencel twill in several different colors that is the perfect weight for a light dress. 

3. Cotton Poplin

Poplin is a versatile, plain-weave fabric, usually made from cotton, that is often used in button-up shirts and dresses. It’s also great for other lightweight dresses with details that need a crisp fabric that presses well – like pleats, collars, or full gathers. It’s a fabric that can be used for dresses that will get year-round wear and has a light sheen that adds a subtle, beautiful touch. 

Our lightweight organic cotton poplin is available in a huge selection of colors – it’s a truly versatile fabric that would be perfect for a range of dress styles.

4. Linen

Searching for the right fabric for a casual, homey-feeling, summer dress? Linen is a wonderful choice! It’s a comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and sustainable fabric that is made from the woody stems of flax plants. Linen is the perfect choice for warm climates where breathability and minimizing sweat is key. Plus, this fabric gets softer and more comfortable with every wash.

We offer a huge selection of linen fabrics, including this lightweight premium European linen with a cozy, lived-in look.

5. Brushed Fleece

If you live somewhere that gets chilly weather, a cozy sweater dress can be a game changer for your wardrobe. A brushed stretch cotton fleece would be great for sewing a super cozy dress to get you through those cold winter months. Pair your sweater dress with leggings for a snuggly outfit perfect for lounging around home or staying warm while running errands. 

We have a wonderfully cozy brushed cotton fleece available in several different colors so you can make the sweater dress you’ve been looking for!

6. Cupro-Viscose Blend Twill

Cupro and viscose make for a wonderful pairing when blended together to make fabric. The resulting fabric is beautifully silky and soft, with a luxurious look and feel. A midweight cupro/viscose blend twill is a great choice for slightly more structured dresses that still need to maintain a fluid drape. 

Our cupro/viscose twill is available in a huge selection of colors – this fabric is the perfect option for making a silky, soft, structured dress.

7. Tencel Cotton Satin

If you’ve got plans for a high-end, formal dress or a luxurious party dress – satin is a classic choice. Satin is made with a specific weave pattern called the satin weave. The way it is woven gives it a luxe, silky appearance and a gorgeous drape. The beautiful sheen to a satin fabric will help your dress to stand out from the crowd. 

We have a selection of Tencel/cotton blend satin fabrics that would be perfect for an elegant evening gown or a sophisticated party dress. 

8. Baby Corduroy

Looking for a great fabric for a classic fall dress? A light to mid weight corduroy fabric is a wonderful choice for a structured fall or winter dress. This fabric pairs perfectly with leggings and boots for a cozy look. 

We have a lightweight organic cotton corduroy in a great selection of fall colors. This fabric has the perfect amount of stretch to make a comfortable and casual cool-weather dress.

9. Brushed Wool

Another great option for a cozy fall or winter dress is brushed wool. Brushed wool has a soft and fluffy texture that helps to trap warm air and keep you toasty in cold weather. Choose a mid to heavy weight fabric for the perfect structured winter dress. 

This medium weight wool/poly blend is a super cozy option for a fall or winter dress. Plus, it’s made from recycled wool – making it an even more sustainable choice than traditional wool. 

10. Cotton Piqué

Cotton piqué is a textured fabric that has a waffled or ribbed appearance that is often used for t-shirts and polos. This texture creates a more interesting and eye-catching appearance to the fabric, making it look more high-end and formal than a traditional t-shirt fabric. In addition to the look, piqué has other benefits, including that it is a very durable and breathable fabric, perfect for everyday wear and activewear. 

Our lightweight organic cotton piqué fabric would make wonderful luxury t-shirt dresses and other casual dresses that need a high-quality look and feel.

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