When I wrote my Absolute Beginners post, a couple of readers put in a plea for fabric guidance. I thought this was such a good idea and ‘Fabric Focus’ sprang immediately to mind. I’ll learn something, too. After all – what is the difference between lawn and tana lawn? Dunno. But I’d have to find out, wouldn’t I?
First, though, I’m starting with a fabric I do know about because it’s a fabric I often turned to when I started sewing – Stretch Cotton Sateen. I made two Simplicity 2591 dresses from this fabric and they turned out pretty well. (The pattern is now sadly out of print.)
Stretch cotton sateen is a heavy weight cotton with some elastic in it – a 3% stretch is typical, I believe. What does a 3% stretch mean? It means that it’s ickle bit stretchy but not very much stretchy.
The cotton usually seems to be a woven white, which is then printed. The colour saturation is pretty intense, which I love, and there’s a subtle sheen or polish to the surface of the fabric. The fabric behaves well because it is a cotton mix and because it has a slight structural quality to it. Because it behaves well and because it holds a form well, and because it’s dense enough for summer makes not to need lining, I think it is excellent for beginners to use. It’s also readily available – most stores stock it.
Are there any down sides? The structural quality means it makes great dresses and skirts, but it would be too stiff for a blouse or top, in my opinion. Be warned – the stretch means that pieces can stretch out during construction, so it’s important to follow any instructions for stay stitching. Finally, because the colours are printed rather than woven, I have noticed some slight fading after several goes in the washing machine, but nothing drastic. Generally, it’s a big thumbs up from me.
That’s everything I have to say about Stretch Cotton Sateen! Readers, do you have any more information to add? Tips for working with this fabric? Made anything great with it?
The two swatches are from Stone Fabrics. On the right is a John Kaldor stretch cotton sateen, retailing at £14.30 a metre. The fabric on the left goes for £9.95 a metre. Both are about 140cm wide.