crafts · fabric · Sewing

Prints for spring/summer

I’m still sick and unable to work (because I pretty much can’t work without my voice, not that I’m bedridden or anything, no worries) so yesterday I sewed up McCall 5974, the Palmer/Pletsch wrap dress.  I will review it later this week, when I feel up to taking modeled photos, but if you are looking for a wrap dress without the possibility of wardrobe malfunction, I heartily recommend this one (it’s a mock wrap.)  It’s very flattering, and I thought I didn’t even like wrap dresses!  I now have a backlog of completed projects to blog, but my fashion statement of the day includes a pair of flannel pajama pants and one of my husband’s band t-shirts (the Residents, which means I have a giant eyeball on my chest.)

I’ve also spent my sick days planning for spring/summer.  I prefer warm weather – I’m always cold in winter, and it’s a little harder to find prints in appropriate fabric (yes, I have a print obsession!)  The weather here is also probably tilted a bit more towards warm – I can usually wear summery clothes (with maybe a sweater and tights) from March to the end of October, and that’s most of the year.  It does help, of course, that I work from home and don’t have to deal with dressing for a commute!  I went through the fashion shows for resort and spring over on, looking at silhouette, prints, and colors.  I’m happy to see that fashion seems to echo my current preferences.  As far as prints go, I’m a little tired of the painted style florals that were big the last year or two (there is only one below, and it’s more for nostalgia’s sake!)   I still love abstract or geometric painted/printed designs, and I’ve rediscovered a love for tiny ditsy florals  – I loved them in the 90s, so why not again?  Apparently we are having a bit of a 90s revival, which seems crazy to me, but oh well!  I still love stripes, polka dots, and gingham (I’m staying away from larger plaids for a bit – I may have a little plaid fatigue, and I see that as more of a winter print anyway.)  I recently bought some large-scale ITY prints from – I tend to avoid large prints because I am small, but I plan to make several maxi dresses (yes, I am late to that party) and I like maxi dresses with large prints better.  Here are some options for what I might use this year (last year I was still learning… I’m hoping to knock out some great dresses this year!)

As I’ve mentioned, I’m a big fan of Fashion Fabrics club, despite the sometimes dubious customer service.  If you know how to read their descriptions you can find some really great deals!  These are the fabrics I’ve bought from them this year that  I think might work for spring/summer.    From left to right: 1. Cotton Poplin in a ditsy floral to make Simplicity 2591. I’m actually copying a Modcloth dress (below) that is nearly identical.  I think this dress could work for most of the year, except the coldest days (with a sweater, naturally.) The website claims this fabric is blouse weight, but it’s heavy enough for dresses.  And speaking of FFC weirdness, this fabric had what appears to be a coffee stain on the selvedge (but not on the print itself… for this cheap I’m not complaining.)  2.  Stretch Cotton Sateen – The quality of sateen I have gotten from FFC varies widely.  This one is nice – not too light, and not too heavy.   I will admit, I bought this fabric because it is almost exactly like the dress I wore to my grandpa’s second wedding in the early 90s!  I’m going to make a sundress of some sort, and relive my Blossom obsessed days.  3. Cotton Lawn – This actually isn’t too sheer, but it will need a lining.  I want to make Vogue 8645 – it calls for Batiste, and includes a lining (actually, I will probably line in cotton batiste.)   4.  Cotton Print – I was nervous about this, because if the weave isn’t specified on this site the quality can be dubious.  But this is lovely – similar to a poplin.  I’m going to make the new Cynthia Rowley design for spring.  5. Rayon Matte Jersey – I was pleased with this, because rayon matte jersey can be expensive, and I think I paid $3 a yard.  This is the fabric I’m going to use for the 1970s Diane Von Furstenberg pattern I posted the other day.  It’s actually navy blue, and has a little lycra, but not too much.

Image: Modcloth

simplicity 2591 (dress from Modcloth, but pretty much the same!)  I love the piping around the armholes and the pocket, and I definitely plan to copy that!

I love rayon crepe and challis, but they can be difficult to find!  They make great subs for silk – they are easier to care for and sew, and of course far less pricey.   I occasionally buy fabric off ebay, because there are some great deals, but you never can really tell what you are getting.  I was nervous about this fabric (all from seller OldHippeCloths) because I couldn’t really tell what type of rayon they were – but at $3 a yard (on sale at the time,) I thought I would take the chance.  Luckily, the quality is great!  I don’t have specific plans for these yet, but they will get used this spring/summer.  If you have any suggestions for the red/black stripe let me know – it’s so me, but I am stumped on good patterns for horizontal stripes!  The pink/black gingham is a crinkle – I tested washing swatches of these, but ended up not washing this one because it crinkled so much.  Can I use it for a normal pattern if I commit to drycleaning, or am I just asking for trouble?  I don’t like it all crinkled up, as I have already had my broomstick skirt period.

I promised to post about these – I bought these last week from, before their New Year’s sale coupon expired.  I was planning to use these prints for maxi dresses in the summer, and I think they will work nicely for that.   The first one is actually turned sideways – the print runs up and down the body.  The quality is ok for the price (I think I paid around $4 a yard?)  They have a slightly textured hand, almost like a matte jersey, and they only stretch in one direction (horizontally on the body.)  They aren’t too sheer (a problem I have had with’s knits to the point where I hesitate the buy them.)  Be aware that the prints in this group are a pretty large scale – I am apparently incapable of interpreting a ruler in a photo – I need fabric draped over a dressform or at least with a quarter!  I think the print on the dotted fabric looks a little pixellated up close, but it looks good in the photo, so I’m sure it will be fine – who is examining my dresses from an inch away anyway?

Speaking of knits, ebay can actually be a great place to find knit prints.  Be aware of the descriptions though – I wouldn’t buy any that contain nylon, because that feels like swimwear fabric to me, and watch for the large amount of dance/clubwear fabrics that are either sequined or covered in glitter.    These are from Bestonlinefabrics, and I think they are both rayon knits.  The one on the left is slightly textured.  I appear to be going through a purple phase (apparently the  “it” color for next season is Honeysuckle pink, but since that’s terrible on me I will abstain.)  The one on the right is just really gorgeous – it’s tie-dye, but not too hippy looking.

I swore I was good on warm weather fabrics after going through all these (and my order,) but Sawyer Brook had their pre-season clearance sale.  I’ve had my eye on these fabrics since last summer, but I’m pretty much unable to bring myself to pay that much for fabric.  When they went on clearance I had to buy them (the two on the right are sold out now.)  I absolutely love that pixellated fabric, and I know it’s totally crazy.  I have no excuse, other than that my husband walked by when I was looking at it and loved it.    The third fabric is a J.Crew fabric, like the dress I just finished, and I have found the quality of fabrics that originated with them to be just lovely (I have another shirting print from them somewhere.)  I’m hoping the color looks good on me when it gets here! I can usually get away with these colors, because they are bright, but they aren’t my absolute best!

So there you go… a fabric preview of spring/summer!  I was so happy photographing and dreaming about these fabrics, that it’s almost enough for me to want to move to a warmer climate (but – I love my city too much, and I expect I would miss autumn… just not winter.)  My best friend lives in Florida now – I am very envious, but not of how cold she was when she visited for Christmas!

What kind of prints are you liking for warm weather?  Can you even think about it yet?  I know I’m early, but planning is at least half the fun.

4 thoughts on “Prints for spring/summer

  1. Being in the midst of Summer here I can think about Summer sewing, however I’m pregnant which is making sewing for me not so fun. Instead I can plan for next year!

    I love all your choices- I can’t wait to see the finished pieces start to appear here.

  2. I love that lawn in the first photo. I can’t get that excited about winter sewing because I love summery prints too. Hope your cold doesn’t hang about!

  3. I love seeing all your fabric purchases. Lots to keep you busy for awhile. Jalie has a new knit dress pattern out that shows a stripe on the bodie/top and a plain fabric at the bottom that could work for your red and black print. Since I live in Quebec (home to Jalie) thought I better give them a plug!

  4. I strongly agree! I still am taken aback that this keeps happening again and again in todays day and age. I am happy in the fact I was not jogging. We wonder for the future. I need to keep an eye on what is happening moving forward.

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