Confession time! You know that I love gorgeous fabric right? I really do. I have this funny thing I do though. I’ll buy a piece of fabric – a really knock-out piece – and then I won’t use it. I save it. And this year, I was like, we are not going to be doing this anymore! I’m TIRED of saving things. And excuse me, but what in the world am I saving my fabric for? The day I become perfect? I know, this is weird. When I really sit and think about what I’m saving my fabric for, I can’t even find a logical answer to this question.


Another confession. I LOVE fine cotton lawn/voile (by the way, I have no idea what the difference between these two are, there doesn’t seem to be one). I have a pretty good stash of Liberty of London Lawn and these new Art Gallery Voiles. I had been saving this rather loud Art Gallery Voile for well, I don’t know. It was one of those fabrics. It’s time, and it’s been time for some time (ha ha!), to get with the program and start making some things with all this saved fabric.


As someone who has never been able to find an abundance of button-up shirts that fit, making one’s own shirts is a major win. In point of fact, who even knew that I liked button-up shirts until I made one that fit me and didn’t feel like a straight jacket?! As someone who absolutely loves loud flower prints and has longed for a closetful of such printed button-up shirts, being able to beautifully fit, sew and choose my fabric (from my own stash!) is dreamy. Dare I even say, luxurious.


This is another McCall’s 6649 – and I’m pretty sure you’ll be seeing a few more of these colorful button-ups as the year progresses. In fact I can guarantee it. I’ve got the pattern perfected now. I’m excited to start hacking it. Very excited. One of the reasons I think this pattern is so great is because it has all the darts – two front and two back vertical darts for fit and shaping and also bust darts. The reason this is so great is because there is so much that can be manipulated – to create new designs – when all the darts are present. I have some fun ideas to share with you for future hacks for this pattern and I hope you’ll find that once you’ve mastered fit and perfected a basic pattern, you can start creating your own patterns instead of trying to reinvent the wheel every time you want to sew a different style. Plus I’m starting to get really overwhelmed with all of the amassing of not only fabric, but sewing patterns. I need another sewing pattern like a hole in the head. It’s starting to get nuts (like I just don’t have room for all of this nor the time to make them all!). Maybe 2015 is the year I start getting real with myself. What about you?


I was most definitely saving this fabric choice. I love it so much. I left off the front vertical darts on this particular shirt, just to change it up. I’ve actually made up this pattern a couple of times and after tweaking it several times over, I’m feeling confident that I finally hit the gold mine.  I used a contrasting fabric (the stripe) for the cuff and collar stand facing and also the sleeve placket. I love doing this! Love it! I also think I did a pretty good button picking job – the hardest part for me! I didn’t want anything that was too loud, too big or competed for attention.


Are you a shirt lover? Do you save fabric? I find that the classic shirt is a very, very satisfying sew. I use many of the techniques from David Coffin’s book on the subject and I’ve also amassed a few old Thread’s articles that are pretty clever too. This shirt, it’s one for the books – I finally used up a beloved fabric piece and now, I’m wearing it. Loud and proud.

  • Michele - This post really speaks to me! I have been “saving” fabric for years! I always think I need to practice more before I let myself use the good stuff. But really, I need to use my favorites regardless. It’s not like I won’t find more fabric I love. Thank you for reminding me to use the stuff I already have and love and stop waiting until my skills are up to par….maybe my great fabrics will elevate my makes enough that my sewing will look better.ReplyCancel

  • Jet Set Sewing - First, I love that shirt in that fabric! It’s so in-your-face to winter. Liberty fabric is the best.
    And yes I save fabric, who doesn’t! But sometimes I’m glad I did, because after awhile it tells me what it wants to be. In the meantime, I like to pet it.ReplyCancel

  • Hélène - This shirt is a total success. Your TNT McCall pattern totally shows off the print. And the way you styled is sooo cool along with your pixie!ReplyCancel

  • Ramona Putnam - I’ve loved this fabric since it was first introduced and not at all sure what I wanted to do with it. Now I know. I have to have a button down like yours. It’s amazing.

    I’m with you on the fabric and the patterns! A few years ago, (after YEARS of not sewing), I started going through my stash to purge with the intention of retiring the sewing machine. Of course that just woke the sewing bug and I started buying again!
    But the patterns! Seriously, so many of the same styles and I keep going back! There should be a drug for that!!ReplyCancel

  • Karen - What a great shirt! I love the perfect fit. I am working on the same pattern, and will follow with interest your hacks. Thanks a million.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - love your shirt. And that you are not saving the “good stuff”.ReplyCancel

  • TamsinW-P - Love the shirt and the fabric. I also save fabric – for what I don’t know… I have been going to a pattern cutting class for a while and my latest project is a classic shirt that fits *me* and hopefully the fabric won’t tear at the back of the armholes like a RWT one has done recently!ReplyCancel

  • Mary Lee - How striking! I’m curious… When you buy a fabric with no particular pattern in mind, how much yardage do you get? I have the same problem with yarn. My stash of each never seems to have the right amount of yardage for whatever project I later decide to attempt, so the piles keep growing.ReplyCancel

    • LinB - Three yards is a good average to purchase. You can almost always get a dress or a pair of slacks out of three yards, and certainly a shirt or blouse. Well, depending how wide is the fabric, and how wide is your body.ReplyCancel

  • sallie - Gorgeous!! You’ve definitely done this fabric proud! Even better that you made this beloved fabric into a classic shirt that can be worn and loved everyday, rather than a precious party dress or something that only gets to come out for air once or twice a year! I think that’s REALLY doing your special fabric proud!ReplyCancel

  • Tia Dia - Gorgeous! I have a the same tendency to save all my nicer fabrics… for what? This shirt is wonderful. Can’t wait to see more of what you’ve made with ‘saved’ fabrics.ReplyCancel

  • Laura S. - I love the fabric, love the shirt! Great job. I made a button-down shirt a year and a half ago, inspired by your “Everyday Wardrobe” series. It’s a blue chambray, very wearable: http://www.quietudeblog.blogspot.com/2013/08/burda-style-7136-chambray-shirt.html I haven’t made any more since because I was pregnant and then losing baby weight. I’m finally back to the point where I’m fitting into my “normal” clothes so I hope to do some sewing for myself this spring.ReplyCancel

  • Debbie Cook - Great print for a great shirt! I “save” some fabrics until I have a TNT pattern match. Don’t want to waste a really nice fabric on a pattern that doesn’t work. But I’ve definitely gotten more ruthless over the years. I mean, there’s always more fabric.ReplyCancel

  • justine - Last week when you showed that fabric I almost bought some for a button down. I love yours! Now I need this fabric. Looks great on you.ReplyCancel

  • Natalie @ Threads & Bobbins - I am a fabric saver too! Though I am making it my mission this year to use everything in my stash before I buy anything else…. you have tempted me with this fabric!! It looks great!!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - Love this shirt! I just ordered this fabric from your shop last night to make my own button down shirt the sewaholic granville. I love that it has a black background it makes the loudness of the print so much more wearable in my opinion.ReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Awesome shirt, love the loud fabric. I save fabric too, but, this year I’m participating in the Stashbusting Sewalong of 2015 on FB and so I am committed to using the fabric I have already and so far so good! haven’t bought any fabric since December. Unless it’s for a specific garment/project, ha!
    I love looking at your shop and hope to buy some of your fabric next year!ReplyCancel

  • Hearthrose - Yes, 2015 is the year when I fit my perfect sloper and then make patterns off of it for personal use. Too many fitting changes, I just don’t have time for that!ReplyCancel

  • Joen - Yep I’m a fabric saver too, usually waiting for that perfect project for my perfect fabric. 2015 is the year I start using it too! I would love to conquer a button up, I have this button hole phobia that I am going to overcome in 2015 too – I know its a big year for me!LOL Your button up fits great and I love your fabric choice. (any button hole tips would be greatly appreciated – suggestions on the best interfacing to use as I’ve read that it key to a good button hole)ReplyCancel

  • Debbie - Love the shirt and the fabric!!! Do you interface the collar, front band and cuffs? I find that the store bought shirts mostly aren’t interfaced anymore and everything is limp. I don’t buy shirts anymore because of that.ReplyCancel

  • Judi - Your shirt is awesome! I don’t think it’s loud. I love the colors.

    You said it perfectly…I do the same thing…buy and save beautiful fabric. Mainly because I don’t want to make a mistake when I cut it. (So what if I do? What will happen?) I want to save it for something “special”. Really? Why not make every day “special”?ReplyCancel

  • Judi - and…the striped contrast is perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - Yes, I save fabric for some point in the future when I’m perfect and I have so many patterns it becomes paralyzing to figure out what to sew… sigh. Anyway, your shirt is SO amazing! I love the peeks of stripe contrast and the fabric is wonderful.ReplyCancel

  • Nayla - Yes! I do that too! I buy beautiful fabric that seems too beautiful to sew up! It’s completely illogical. I love your gorgeous colourful shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Sunni, everything about this post is fabulous. That fabric is obviously gorgeous, and I’m so glad you finally decided to sew it up… into a stunner of a shirt! The stripes are such a great contrast to the floral, and adding a contrast along the button band is one of my favorite ways to elevate a shirt a bit. Your version looks super luxurious. Wear it with pride!ReplyCancel

  • MadeByMeg - I’ll admit, I’m a bit scared of loud prints. Often I’ll see a bright dress or top and think, That’s great for her but it isn’t for me. But this top I love! I think because the floral pring makes it very feminine, but the button-up style keeps it classic and wearable. And, of course, the striped details are great!ReplyCancel

  • Tasha - Okay first A) I ADORE this and it looks stunning on you. Such a breath of fresh air in winter. B) This fabric is doing my head in and I’m now totally considering using it as a lining for a short version of Grainline’s new Cascade duffle coat. But back to your shirt! I totally know what you mean about saving fabric. I do it too (especially vintage yardage, oy) and it’s stupid. I’ve already resolved to do that less this year and sew through some of what I’ve been saving. It does no one any good just sitting there in your stash being stared at. Make yourself happy and whip up something awesome with it, like your shirt! :)ReplyCancel

  • sarah - LOVE LOVE LOVE. I have admired that fabric and wondered what to do with it, but now I know that it is meant to be made into button ups. I have to join the party. TWINSIES? TWINSIES.ReplyCancel

  • Lady ID - 1. I love cotton voile as well. I want to buy more of it but I need to deplete my stash

    2. Great top. Love the striped facing details.

    3. Seriously!!! Why do we save fabric. I have some fabric I save for years. By the time I sew it, it may be out of style, lol. But I am depleting my stash.ReplyCancel

  • David Coffin - Gorgeous shirt! And congrats on perfecting a shirt pattern, definitely a landmark occasion, and an excellent (even logical!) reason to start bringing out the saving-til-I’m-better fabrics we all apparently have. I’ve certainly got plenty, along with well worked out reasons why it makes sense to keep skipping over them.

    Along with needing to perfect my patterns first, my favorite is that I often seem to prefer to dream about all the amazing things I COULD do with my always too short length of treasured stuff, than to commit…at which point all the potential gets frozen into something specific, never quite perfect…OR so perfect that I soon wear it out. I mean, until you cut into it, your fabric’s full of dreams! But as soon as you cut…it’s on a one-way slide to some ignominious end, like the thrift shop, the worn-out bin, or, almost worse, if you’re a teacher, off to the rack of too-good-to-wear/needed-as-a-sample!

    All that’s why I was so delighted to hear of Claire Shaeffer’s wonderful recognition that she’s a sewer AND a fabric collector; hey, me too! And what’s more fun than realizing you have to go buy some more fabric right now, anyway?

    Re: voile/lawn, I was certain I could jump in and clear THAT up…but some quick googling reveals that relentless language/usage entropy seems to have thoroughly muddied up water I thought was clear (as per usual).

    I’d understood that voile was always semi-transparent. AND woven with a distinctive hard-spun (and expensive) yarn, so it was also quite crisp, not as much as organdy, but more so than batiste, all sheer fabrics. Lawn was NOT sheer and woven from a much looser-spun, silkier sort of yarn, always thinner, softer and finer than, say, poplin or broadcloth, all NOT-sheer. Certainly the old-school shirting sellers I swatched from and canvassed when I wanted to define these terms in my shirt book supported those distinctions; e.g.:Tana Lawn’s not sheer! But look around now at both sellers and even textile historians posting online and “sheer”, “soft”, “crisp”, “fine”, etc., etc. appear to be applied equally in definitions of either fabric, plus many others. So…I’d say they’ve basically become…undifferentiated, as you say. Too bad, I think, but so it goes.ReplyCancel

  • Tanya - Yes! I save fabric too. Thinking it’s so lovely I need the perfect pattern to come along. I also have a hard time with button down shirts. I love to be able to get the right fit soon. Your shirt rocks!!! I am looking forward to your future post to come.ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - I’m pretty sure there are plenty of us who save fabric, likely for many of the same reasons :) If I see a piece of fabric I love, I buy it (depending on the situation and money availability of course LOL). It does get used when the time is right, and usually that means either a) when I find the right pattern for it, or b) when I run out of money to buy more fabric! (which is happening right now, as a matter of fact!) LOL

    It’s a very good feeling now that I have begun to actually use fabric I stashed when I first began sewing because even though I’m nowhere NEAR perfect, I at least know better now how to use the fabric to its best advantage and make things I will actually wear. It’s super satisfying to be able to transform these long-saved gems into something wonderful that can be loved and worn as it should be – that said, I do love perusing my beloved unused treasures occasionally and dreaming of what they might become :)ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Love your loud and proud shirt. Your comment about saving fabric “until you are perfect” really resonated with me. I think we’d be friends if we lived in the same part of the planet.ReplyCancel

  • Martha - OMG! I just bought this fabric from you with the intention of saving it! Oh no! Not now! This is a great look and I’m going for it! Thanks for the kick in the butt!ReplyCancel

  • Julie R. - This is a gorgeous shirt! I’m in love with this fabric. I’ve never made a button down shirt, but would really love to. I’ll have to try this McCall’s pattern and see what I can come up with!ReplyCancel

  • Teri - I loved seeing this shirt in process on Instagram and the finished product is so great! That fabric is so much fun and the contrasting striped fabric is such a great touch. It looks perfect on you!!ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - You are the coolest fake rocker I have ever seen. You should be rocking out in that gorgeous shirt!
    Love your thoughts on saving fabric and all the patterns. I am trying to use the patterns I have this year too! Hurrah for the resources we already own.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Oh how I wish I could sew a blouse to fit me perfectly! I love button up shirts too but being short, busty and, um, chubby…well, needless to say a good fit is hard to find off the racks. This is beautiful and I love the contrasting bits.ReplyCancel

  • Emily - Love this, although I could never pull it off! I made my first shirt at the end of last year so I’m very much into shirts at the moment…great patternReplyCancel

  • Alice - I love a classic button-up! So many details, and they always look so tidy on the inside. And, in my case, there is a LOT of room for improvement! I always make mine for my boyfriend which means no darts!

    That is a gorgeous fabric. I definitely save fabric, but usually because I have a Plan for it that I don’t have the time/skill/pattern for. Or else I’m still trying to come up with one…ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Love your shirt! And yes I save fabric for some crazy reason. I’ve been trying to use it up.ReplyCancel

  • Liza Jane - It IS fantastic! I want a whole closet full of button up shirts like this, too. Love, love, love it.ReplyCancel

  • acharmofmagpies - I can tell from your posts that you’re interested in textiles and their definitions and differences, so after your comment thought you might like this post by The Dreamstress on the difference between lawn and voile (and other fabrics)! http://thedreamstress.com/2010/07/voile-lawn-muslin-whats-the-difference-the-long-answer/ReplyCancel

  • acharmofmagpies - I should add, your shirt is gorgeous! Love these bright colours, so unusual for a shirt but just perfect.ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - Awesome shirt the colours look great on you. I hoard too and have some expensive Japanese gauze I can’t bring myself to cut.ReplyCancel

  • Elaine - I really like the colors and the ‘loudness’ and the gorgeous flowers on the material. Thank you fro sharing your strengths & ‘weaknesses’ like hoarding material. I think most of us do that.ReplyCancel

  • Diane - Totally Cool! I’ll put my fabric stash up against anyone; however, I’m not at all proud of that. This really speaks to me…..get out of the ditch and begin using that luscious fabric. Great post and love the shirt.ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - Ahhhh, this is awesome! I’ve definitely been guilty of hoarding favorite fabrics, but as I was looking over my 2014 makes, I realized that three of my very favorite things were made with fabric I’d been saving for ages. That’s a pretty good case for using stuff you love! I just cut into a Liberty silk twill (!!!) that I’ve been too scared to used, and tragedy’s been averted so far!ReplyCancel

  • SusanM - I like to think that I “collect” fabric more than I save it for the right project but it amounts to the same thing. Due in part to my love of fabric but lack of confidence in my sewing skills. Won’t get better unless I actually sew. Great shirt (love the boots too)!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - I’m taking your zipper class on craftsy! So great! I love the class and learning a lot. I have to agree with you that I can’t find enough button up shirts that fit. ugh! I’m going to try to make my own.ReplyCancel

  • Hanne - Great shirt and lovely colors in that print!
    I butchered a great deal of good fabric already, but you know, I still get better results with a fabric I enjoy working with than with a so-so one.

    About the lawn/voile thing. I’m currently working on an e-book on this topic (what’s the difference between types of fabric and what’s it called in Dutch/French, for easy shopping online) This is what I came up with in my research:
    “Lawn is a semi-transparant, lightweight cloth manufactured using a plain-weave. If the yarn is combed the fabric is usually named Nainsouk. It usually has a bit more of lustrous shine to it. If it’s brushed it’s usually named lawn. Lawn is great for tops, shirts and light summer dresses”
    “voile is a semi-shear, lightweight fabric made using a plain weave. It’s very fine and has a net-like quality. Ideally made out of cotton, it’s perfect against the skin.”
    So from this research I’d say that voile is more “netlike” than lawn and a tad less firm.
    (But hard to spot the difference, still!)ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - Yes it’s bright, but oh, how I love it! I have some ‘bright’ black floral cotton I’ve been saving for a button down shirt. Now I’m convinced I really need to use it. I may even steel your idea of contrasting plackets.ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - God, this is gorgeous. not loud at all, either – just happy and cool! I too save certain fabrics – one liberty lawn print in particular i cannot but cannot bring myself to cut – I can’t find it anywhere and love it so much and keep waiting for the perfect style to jump out at me! It’s in shades of blue and it is flowery but not ditsy – it’s very 70s, actually – and I can never decide what to do with it. Others I have no problems with:).

    I think that classically the diff between lawn and voile is that the latter is supposed to be sheerer and slightly drapier. I find liberty lawn is not sheer – I never felt the need to line dresses made from it. Certain voiles, I have. But nowadays they are practically all the same!ReplyCancel

  • Jo - Your shirt looks fantastic – I love the colours against your hair and complexion. Adding stripes for contrasting details is a stroke of genius too.

    Also love your green clock!ReplyCancel

  • Sassy T - Wow. That fabric is da bomb! SSB https://facebook.com/sassysewingbeesReplyCancel

  • Alessa - Oh, that fabric is absolutely gorgeous, I totally get why you wanted to save it. The shirt looks perfect!ReplyCancel

  • Rebekah - I love your style! And this shirt! Fantastic job, especially in the details. I am the same way: owning an insane amount of sewing patterns. Hopefully, 2015 will be a saner year for me in the pattern department.ReplyCancel

  • Amy - Ahh, an absolute stunner of a fabric and perfect for a shirt. I’m such a sucker for florals. And you are so right–what am I saving that Liberty of London fabric for? Actually I finally figured that out this week, but that makes me want to cut all my nice fabric now.ReplyCancel

  • LinB - 1. There is little in the world easier to sew up — and more satisfying to wear — than a classic shirtwaist. I lub me some shirts. There are many reasons why a yoked shirt with a stand collar has been a standard garment for men and women for a thousand years or more. Both the “shirt” and the “skirt” are derived from the same, unisex garment: the shift. Men and women wore long linen shifts under their robes in medieval times. As men began to favor trousers, the garment was shortened so they could tuck it in. Women, on the other hand, began to favor dresses that nipped in at the waist. They lopped off the bottoms of their shifts and used them as petticoats. Consonant shift turned “shirt” into “skirt.” (This happened to fish, too, who travel either in a “shoal” or a “school.” The word “schedule” is going the same way: it can be pronounced either with a hard or a soft “ch.”)

    2. I not only save-for-later good cuts of cloth that I have bought, but friends and neighbors gift me with good cuts of cloth that their mothers and grandmothers hoarded until death. I have GOT to start using some of those silk chiffons … .ReplyCancel


I was asked recently if I have been seeing a resurgence in the apparel fabric industry – meaning, are some of those really really hard to find fabrics becoming more and more available. I do believe they are, however slowly it might be happening. Case in point: Wool Challis.


Do you know what challis is? I see challis most commonly among the rayon family and then a couple of years ago, I purchased a gorgeous wool challis from a local fabric shop. The lady who was manning the shop at the time told me she hadn’t seen the fabric in many years. I had never seen it at all. And then, I started seeing it more and more and over the past couple of years I’ve seen this fabric become much more easy to get. Take that for what it’s worth.


So challis. What’s challis? First of all, let’s get the pronunciation correct – pronounced sha-lee. Apparently the term challis means soft and this, I think, is a good description of challis. It’s a thin drapey sort of cloth. It’s a plainweave weave and it’s most commonly known for its pattern or design. I see great, great designs/patterns in challis and they can be woven into the cloth or printed on. Challis is usually matte, meaning it doesn’t have a shiny look to it. If it does, then it’s a french challis or a norwich crepe (and remember crepe can be differentiated because it’s woven with a twisted yarn). I find wool challis to have a somewhat rough texture to the fingers though it has very flat look to the eye.


Rayon challis is becoming much more common as those quilting cotton manufacturers are producing some great prints. Wool challis is a bit harder to get (hopefully becoming easier though) and sometimes I see wool challis mixed with another fiber – namely cotton or silk.

Definitely worth the having. When it’s got some wool in it, I notice that the drape factor is not as drapey as rayon. This can be nice for dresses, button-up shirts, blouses, skirts – something where the lightweight factor and drape can be shown off a bit.

Do you have wool challis in your stash? This is such an interesting fabric.

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Chloe - I love wool challis, although I don’t tend to wear a lot of drapy garments where it would really shine (well, not shine, as you say, buy you know what I mean!) I was so happy to see it featured here, and also happy to see you posting more again, I really appreciate your attention to detail and I’m enjoying the wool series. Thanks!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you Chloe! I’m excited to be posting more! I feel a much needed boost this year and I’m feeling great about what’s ahead for 2015. Yay!ReplyCancel

  • robin - I do have challis in my stash, wool and rayon. I love it. Drapes well, sews well. You don’t see a lot of it in sewing blogland. When I’m looking for wovens, challis is always on my list.ReplyCancel

  • Nayla - I’ve never sewn with wool challis but I have two gorgeous lengths of wool challis waiting to be sewn up. One is dark blue, another is an emerald green. I gently washed the green one by hand and I’m planning on making a blouse with it. I love it’s softness and warmth. I thought it would be perfect for a winter blouse. Thanks for the informative post!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Yum. Both sound lovely and a blouse sounds like the perfect compliment to the fabric.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - I managed to find a lovely black with ivory diamonds wool challis from a de-stasher on Craigslist. I haven’t sewn it up yet, but I have plans to make a peplum top out of it!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh fabulous! I’m a complete sucker for geometric prints on challis.ReplyCancel

  • Evie - I have a dress that I made from some vintage wool challis a couple of years ago. It’s so comfortable! I have a major weakness for challis in general though. I’m really hoping for more wool challis in my winter wardrobe future.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I’m hoping I see it more and more too. I’ve seen it more and more over the past few years and I think that’s a really good sign. We shall see, eh? To any and all fabric manufacturers – WE WANT MORE WOOL CHALLIS! Yay!ReplyCancel

  • Jen - I have been looking for a nice challis for so long – wool or rayon – but its so hard to find. I should say that I’m not a fan of most floral challis, and that seems to be the majority of what’s out there. It would be really great to see more variety of this fabric.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I agree. I do like a good floral, but I usually fall for more of the geometric prints, especially ones that look a little on the art deco or have a 1940s vibe. We need more of those. Much more!ReplyCancel

  • SJ Kurtz - I can answer both questions with one answer: in the early 80’s, there were many fashion fabric stores in Seattle, and I had my pick to find the perfect wool challis in the most fetching shade of blue (to match my eyes) to make the wrap dress to rock my ex’s brain at his wedding. Yes, friends, I was just that evil. And I had that selection.

    A few years later, they were all gone. The chains that were left were mostly quilting fabric and craft stuff. I could have decoupaged myself a dress….and this is where I learned to alter vintage and thrift (because that’s where the fabric went).

    In the last two years, a few new shops have opened that carry ‘clothing’ fabric. And I did see a piece of wool challis this past November. But it was plaid.

    It’s all online now. And yes, there were a couple of stores here that scraped by (Nancy’s Sewing Basket for one), but it will never be the cornucopia it once was. And a wrap dress in wool challis is a gal’s best friend.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - SJ – you rock! I have to say from the perspective of a little fabric shop owner, it’s hard. I think it’s harder than ever because a vast majority of people (company here excluded, of course) don’t know what good fabric is from bad fabric. So when we’re up against the big box chain stores they will inevitably win in today’s economy. So sad. I’m trying to do my part of bringing better information to the masses about good fabric, but we need more! Maybe I should start a Joann and Hancock strike? Maybe we could coerce them into bringing back the fabrics they used to have – I remember when Joann or Cloth World as it used to be called where I’m from actually had good stuff. Really good stuff. Now it’s all junk. Ugh.ReplyCancel

  • Paloverde - I adore wool challis and am always on the lookout for it. A year or two ago, FabricMart Fabrics had some beautiful royal blue wool challis that I snatched up. I tend to use challis for skirts (fuller, not pencil) plus I have a number of lovely wool challis scarves. In fact, if you want to see what wool challis feels and drapes like, searching ebay, etsy, etc. for scarves is one way to acquire some of the fabric.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thank you for the tip Paloverde! Now I’m off to do some wool challis snooping.ReplyCancel

  • mary - Man, I love wool challis and wish there were more of it. One of the commenters is absolutely correct, there used to be so much more of it. I was in high school in the early 80’s. My mom made a lot of our clothes and I remember seeing bolt after bolt of it.ReplyCancel

  • Ani - I have a wool query! I was perusing wools and kept coming across Wool Melton. And since basically my only exposure to wool fabrics is through your blog, I haven’t a clue what it is and how it should be used. Mayhaps a Melton post?ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I’m finding fabric Friday very educative.ReplyCancel


When working with woolens in general, there comes a point when you are going to have to consider comfort. This is one of the first things that I consider now before I start a project with wool. For me, I’ve found that wools can be scratchy next to my skin. Even if its a very fine quality cashmere, they do end up being a bit on the itchy side. It’s worse in some woolens than in others and that’s fine, but it’s also good to take into consideration how to make wool garments comfortable, if needed. Today I thought I would share just that and hopefully you’ll find working with wool more appealing if you were worried about the scratchy factor!


First things first. At some point you’ll need to start thinking and learning how to line a garment. It’s a good skill set to have. I love lined garments. I always have. I think lining a garment adds longevity to just about anything. It also creates a touch of professionalism and takes your sewn projects to a completely new level. I’m actually going to go over a few lining treatments for several garment types, but one book all sewing enthusiasts should own is Easy Guide to Sewing Linings, by Connie Long. It is essential. I’ve talked about it here before and it is my most recommended book to anyone who wants to learn the art of sewing with linings. If you want to branch out to use wool more often, get this book (note: this book is out of print, but Taunton has created an e-book). You’ll be glad you did.


Another tip to consider whenever you are about to embark on a wool project is points on your body where wool is bound to touch and whether or not one area of the body is more sensitive to the itch factor than another. When I’m making coats and jackets, I consider the collar as an area of comfort I want to address. This is something that Beth from Sunnygal Studio tipped me off to some time ago and now its something I always consider as my neck is prone to itching more than other parts of my body. Mixing fabrics is bound to add interest and so now I think about an alternative for a collar piece. Like cotton or silk. Did that in my J. Peterman coat which added real comfort (used a cotton velveteen).


Something that goes along with this idea is waistband techniques. For my wool crepe Hollyburn skirts, I used a contrast piece of cotton as a waistband facing. Note: In this pattern the waistband is one piece that is folded over. I separated the piece and created a facing instead. This technique is something that could easily be used in parts like a collar stand, cuff facings (on a shirt/blouse) or a pants/trouser waistband. Additionally, you could also use petersham ribbon as a waistband or facing. I do this a lot. There are many ways to utilize this technique and this is but one (my tutorial here).

Now, you might be asking, “Well, why would I want to go to all this trouble when I could just as well use a different fabric instead?” I have to tell you, from my own experience, wool is worth the trouble. It’s a lovely, lovely textile. It has fairly unique properties that set it apart from others and it’s always worth it, in my opinion, to work with wool. Like other fiber/fabric types, it has it’s own skill set when you use it, but all of the skills you learn with wool make you a better sewist anyway – and that’s totally worth it! I’ll do a post on the uniqueness of wool coming up.

Do you have any tips for comfort when working with wools? Please add them to the comments! I would love to know.

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Caitlyn M. - I’m not sure how true this is with wool fabric, but I know with wool and alpaca yarn that one of the benefits of washing and blocking a swatch is finding out how the yarn blooms. A yarn that seems firmly plied and smooth might loosen up a bit with washing, allowing formerly flattened fibers to lift up and become tickly hairs. Or a fuzzy yarn that that seems like it would become irritating to sensitive skin while in the skein might become just a little bit matted when washed, making it less itchy. So I would guess that pre-treating a test swatch of your wool fabric would be beneficial for the same reason: besides alerting you to any shrinkage, it will let you know if your wool will have a slightly different feel.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This is a great point Caitlyn. I prefer to pre-launder my wools because I like the fluffed up look afterward. I didn’t realize this could actually lead to the wool be more itchy. I’m OK with that though! Thanks so much for your input – all of this is incredibly fascinating and I’m so glad to hear what others have to say and educate us about!ReplyCancel

  • Crimson Needle - Thanks for the tip about the Easy Guide to Sewing Linings, it’s been on my wishlist for a little while and wasn’t sure if I should look at something else since it’s out of print. But now that I see it’s Sunni approved, I will hunt it down (I prefer physical copies for sewing books) as I just love lined garments myself.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I completely agree – both about the lined garments and about physical copies of books. At least with sewing books, it’s easier for me to just reach for one instead of hunting up my device and seeing where I’ve downloaded it to.ReplyCancel

  • Angela - Thank you for such an informative post! I had looked at your Hollyburn skirt in wool crepe and had that exact thought about the waistband – isn’t it itchy? Cutting the pattern piece in half to add that different facing is simple and would make such a difference in the comfort factor. That was a big reason I had held off ordering wool crepe. Sigh… now I might need to wander back over to your website and check out that wool crepe again…. as if I didn’t have enough fabric! LOL!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - It makes a huge difference. I noticed long ago, aftering making one wool garment with a waistband that itched, I would never wear it unless I did something about that. Easy peasy fix and it makes such a huge difference!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle W. - i have been following your blog for a couple of years now. I am so grateful you are blogging more. I am really trying to up my sewing skills, but I live in a remote part of Canada and access to teaching is nil. Thank you for all of your insightful information. Your style is very similar to my own and you have such a professional touch. Just wanted to say hello and thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Crimson Needle - I live in a populated area of Canada and teachings aren’t that easy to find either. Or at least good ones. If you have a fabricland/fabricville accessible to you, classes may be offered (not all of them offer the service unfortunatly). But I’ve noticed it is often for basics, so if you’ve been sewing different types of garments for years, you most likely won’t learn new things to improve. And from experience the teachers are hit or miss. So I ended up looking elsewhere for more information once my intro to sewing class was done.

      I myself follow Sunni for extra tips and info, she’s so insightful. I also discovered the online classes on Craftsy (which Sunni has mentioned herself) and if the sewing classes are anything like the 2 crocheting classes I bought myself for christmas, than it could be a great source for you to up your skills (provided you have a decent internet connection). They often have sales so it’s easy enough to snag up a class at 20$ or even 15$.ReplyCancel

      • Sunni

        Sunni - Thanks to both of you! It makes such a difference to feel valued for the input I give here! I whole-heartedly second Crimson Needle’s Craftsy recommendation. I have taken a variety of classes on there myself and they are great. Such great teachers like Susan Khalje and Kenneth King too. Really wonderful stuff and you can learn in the comfort of your sewing room!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Thanks, Sunni, for this post. How timely, I was just about to cut out my wool skirt. Now, I will use this technique for the waist band facing. Love the posts!ReplyCancel

  • Anne - Great post! I have a Craft Gossip post scheduled for this evening that links to your tips:

  • Christa - I really enjoy your blogs and I am also glad you have time to blog more. I am looking forward to taking some of the upcoming classes.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I am so excited for you to take some upcoming classes! We are having a lot of fun in the Sewing Room and I’m excited for what this year has ahead!ReplyCancel

  • Carolyn - Great tips, Sunni. I would even say that these tips are great for any project, in any fabric. I line almost all the garments I make, and it really adds to the comfort and professionalism of each piece. I recently lined a denim skirt with rayon, and it’s glorious! I’m a huge fan of linings and am always willing to go through the extra effort to include one.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - I completely agree. I tend to line about everything I can too. I notice such a difference in the longevity and wearability if I line a garment. It’s always worth it in my opinion to line a garment. Thanks so much for your input Carolyn!ReplyCancel

  • Tips for sewing wool garments that aren’t itchy – Sewing - […] Working With Wool: Tips for Comfort, by A Fashionable Stitch […]ReplyCancel

  • eimear - lovely post (as always), i am such a fan of wool (i even have a wool duvet – hypo allergenic fibre and better temp regualtion than down), nice tip on velvet facings, may try it on a wool tunic on my to-do list.ReplyCancel

  • Stillsewing - I totally agree that wool is a great fabric to work with but for most people it does need to be lined. I have even got to the age where I have to line trousers if they are made of wool, otherwise the itch factor gets too much for me.

    As regards linings, one short cut that I use nowadays – maybe far too frequently – if I have a lightly used silk blouse and a fairly pliable fabric, I use the blouse to line the jacket, having trimmed the collar and cuffs off first. Saves time and helps to keep space in the wardrobe!

    I also line the collars of purchased raingear with a matching/contrasting fleece fabric if the manufacturer has not already done that. Makes it a lot more comfortable to wear.

    Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your posts.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - These are AWESOME tips Stillsewing! Love, LOVE the silk blouse idea. I’m going to have to do just that. Thanks so much!ReplyCancel

  • Alice - Sunni, you stated that you pre-wash your wool; how do you do it? Gentle cycle? Hand wash? How do you dry? Also, Connie Long’s lining book is available on Amazon; however, they are used books. Thank you and your readers for the great tips.ReplyCancel


This is an old skirt. You’ve seen it here and here if you’ve been reading me for a long time. And then if you took my Craftsy class, you probably wondered about this top. I received several questions about it – I still do – and so I thought I should probably let you know all about it. I don’t know why I didn’t blog about it when I made it except to say that my life has been nutty for the past couple of years. Time is something that I don’t have enough of in any given day. Who does? Making the time now, that’s for sure!


So this blouse was made to go with this skirt because I’ve had a devil of a time finding anything that I liked this skirt with. I’ve made a couple of things now for it and I’ve also purchased a couple of things too and so, I wear this skirt a lot more often than I did, which is good because I love it. Back to the blouse: this is a vintage pattern. I know, I know. This couldn’t be worse news for everyone because every time I wear this top with this skirt, I’m always asked what pattern it is. It’s McCall’s 6020, View A. Really, really cute no?



In point of fact, I made this so long ago I don’t recall anything really excitingly crazy about the pattern. I opted to line the thing using this method for the bodice and then I self lined the peplum in this same fabric. No lining in the sleeve.


Additionally, I’ve had loads of folks ask me about this fabric. It’s a Liberty of London lawn. Not sure if you can still get it, but if you’re looking for something that’s fairly similar, there’s this lovely Art Gallery Cotton Voile in the shop. And if I didn’t know better, I would say these Art Gallery Voiles are almost identical to Liberty lawn in quality, but at a lower price point. If you follow me on Instagram (and you totally should!) then you’ll know I’m making another McCall’s 6649 out of it.

Funny thing: I purchased the Liberty of London fabric online specifically to go with this skirt, not knowing if it really would match or not. I rarely do that, if ever because of course, computer screens do weird things to color the world over. But it worked. A client once told me the best thing I’ve ever heard. “It doesn’t have to be matchy matchy, it just has to go together.” Very wise words of wisdom, don’t you think?

Now, off to have a cheeseburger, a Dr. Pepper and give myself a pat on the back for finally blogging about this cute little blouse.

  • Florianne - I love the fabric you’ve chosen ! It’s a really pretty shape.
    It reminds me of this blouse : http://www.burdafashion.com/fr/Magazines/burda_Style/105_Corsage/1270777-1000019-1812785-1812787-1812798.htmlReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh yes! You could definitely do a similar one, if not identical with a few alterations using this pattern. Thanks for this link Florianne!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - thanks for the link to the quick-lining article, I will definitely be trying itReplyCancel

  • sallie - Oh wow Sunni! This is just delightful! The colors are the sort that I dream about! And the shape of that top is just perfect. The whole look is fantastic. Especially with those boot (have I mentioned how much I love those boots?)ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Thanks Sallie! I know, I’m loving these boots too. I seem to be wearing them everyday. Yesss!ReplyCancel

  • Elle - LOVEEEEE. You’ve done several of my favorite things here: used Liberty lawn to make something beautiful but NOT cutesy, and used a vintage pattern to make something that feels fresh and modern! I love everything about this top– you’ve really inspired me to plunge back into my sea of vintage patterns I’ve been too afraid to touch.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh thank you! This means a lot! I’ve been thinking a lot about my style over the past few years and I love wild/crazy prints, but sometimes I look like a wild/crazy person when I wear them. I’ve been trying to really focus the art of utilizing exciting prints with solids and neutrals. And I’m loving the word “fresh.” I feel good about fresh and modern. No to the cutesy!ReplyCancel

  • Ani - Possibly bizarrely personal question that has an actually (moderately) decent basis for being asked: How tall are you?

    I’m 5’2″ and when I try to wear a pencil skirt longer than my knee, I look like a kid trying to wear mama’s clothes. I want to envy your tallness but then I realized that I don’t know if you are tall and maybe there is hope for me after all? I haven’t tried to actually *make* one since I figured it would be a waste of fabric. And I actually just discarded the longer parts of the pattern I love, which I never do. That just shows how distraught the longer pencil skirt makes me…ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Hi Ani! If there was one word that I feel describes my body best it’s “average.” I’m average in just about everything. I feel like I’m an average height – 5’6″. But I will say that for my shape and size most of my length is in my torso. I have shorty legs.
      Have you tried pegged pencil skirts? Where the hemline of the skirt curves in toward your knees. I’ve found that this makes a difference for me. I look kind of stumpy in pencil skirts otherwise. I do look a bit better in shorter skirts if I’m wearing flats (above the knee) and with a bit of a heel, the below the knee skirt looks nice. Just some thoughts for you!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - I’m so glad you are blogging more of your garments again because I’ve been going through a bit of a funk about what to wear at work, etc, and the things you make are exactly the sorts of things I want. This is inspiring! Beautiful pieces, you look so grown up but fresh and fun at the same time!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Why thank you Kelly! Means a lot read this! I’m so glad people are enjoying my makes – makes me feel good about what I make! I wouldn’t say that I have my style completely figured out. I still leave some room for adventure and change. But I will say that I feel like my style is a mix of sophisticated, fresh and a bit tailored. I love loud colors, loud prints and I like mixing and matching these with neutrals.ReplyCancel

  • Evie - I love this color palette! The pocket on that skirt is really fun. I’ve got one more to finish in a series of wool pencil skirts that I started last year. They’re seriously the best. It’s nice to see some of your wardrobe again! (Although I have seriously been enjoying your Wool series).ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Oh thank you! More Working with Wools coming right up! It’s nice to see my own face making an appearance here too. Favorite part of this skirt: the pocket! I LOVE that pocket! Sigh. It’s just so….. clever and sweet.ReplyCancel

  • April - Love the colors of both skirt and blouse, and the simplicity of the blouse!ReplyCancel

  • Ann T. - I LOVE your blouse and you in it. As I studied the details, I realized that I simply had to have that pattern. I quickly checked around the usual sources, knowing that I would not be the only one looking. I am delighted to say that I found the pattern on eBay, but sorry to say that it is a size 12, whereas I need a larger size. Oh well, I am motivated to make a few adjustments so it will fit. Thank you for the continuing inspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - If you’re looking to grade up, may I seriously suggest Joi Mahon’s new book, Create the Perfect Fit. I need to do a post about this, but it is a GREAT book for taking any size pattern, getting your own body measurements and altering the pattern to fit you. Seriously, any size pattern, not just a size or two away from your current size. Highly, highly recommend.ReplyCancel

      • Ann T. - Thank you so much for the referral to Joi Mahon’s book, which I found on Amazon.com for a good price. As I was perusing the online sample, I recognized the author’s photo. In the most recent Craftsy sale, I purchased two of her fitting courses. Making a blouse like yours out of my too-small pattern is just the inspiration I need to tackle fitting, once and for all.ReplyCancel

  • Teri - This outfit is so pretty! The colors of the top and the skirt are both so great. Thanks for sharing the details.ReplyCancel

  • Alice - It’s so pretty! I actually assumed it was an Alma blouse, and even though its not it should be pretty simple to make something similar using the Alma!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Agreed! Cut off Alma at the waist, add a peplum and instead of sewing the vertical darts in the front and back of the bodice, gather them into the peplum. Would be the same. exact. blouse. Plus it would be fantastically drafted from one of Tasia’s amazing patterns. Love that lady!ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca - Thanks for the photos and insights. I also just noticed you received a “Best of Blogging” Top 50 award from BurdaStyle. Congratulations!ReplyCancel

  • Rochelle New - Mmmm cheeseburgers… that’s what I’m having for lunch too lol! The top is beautiful! At first I thought it was a version of the Alma blouse by Sewaholic, but I do love a good vintage pattern too. The fabric is fantastic and really matches (or should I say goes together) with the skirt perfectly!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - Yes, I think you could easily make this blouse from the Alma. If we ever meet, it’s cheeseburgers on me! Yay! I’m such a garbage gut!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon P - Beautiful! what a flattering blouse. Just something else pushing me back toward wovens. I had a knit binge, but I may be over it now! I too love the fabric, but I will have to take your tip on the Art Gallery voile!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni

      Sunni - This Art Gallery Voile is really something. Really. I’m loving the prints and truly, it’s a very fine cotton voile that is just like Liberty of London. Still love Liberty, but I’m loving Art Gallery too. Magnifique!ReplyCancel

  • Camilla - The colours of your outfit are a feast for the eyes. I love the colour of your pencil skirt and it totally goes with that adorable blouse. It’s going on my wishlist.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - Stunning blouse – love the Sunni colours. I think this pattern could be easily drafted.ReplyCancel

  • Rory - Squee! Nicole Needles also made this top not too long ago. Look at this — http://nicoleneedles.blogspot.com/2014/08/minerva-bloggers-network-russian-dolls.html. I loved it so much that I bought the pattern. I love seeing how different sewists make up a pattern. Your version is lovely and has further convinced me that I love this pattern.ReplyCancel

  • Mary W - I love the shirt! So much that I went in search of the pattern. So bummed that I couldn’t find it online anywhere. Then I thought I could check Burda… and found something that could work. But then I went in to my sewing room and decided I should look through all of my existing patterns to see if something could work. I got freaked out and all goose bumped when I found the exact pattern in my size, in my stash! My sister found two adorable little vinyl storage cases of vintage patterns at a thrift store and when they moved out of the country she gave them to me. It was so meant to be! I’m on the perfect fabric hunt. I’m going to give view B a whirl. Thanks for the inspiration!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - Wow! You really should’ve posted about this top sooner ‘cos it’s beautiful and works really well with your skirt. I’ve never used liberty lawn and I think it’s time I did as I’ve seen some really nice things made from it that always inspire me. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - I love the blouse! Vintage patterns have much more interesting details than current ones. The print and colors are fantastic with the skirt.ReplyCancel

  • Beverly - What kind of closure is on the back? A long zipper? A side zipper? I am wondering if the cinched in waist makes a back opening necessary. That is really a cute blouse and I would like to try to draft something like it but I can’t imaging the back. Also what is the Alma pattern that people are talking about?ReplyCancel


I hope you didn’t think that I had abandoned Fabric Fridays around here. I was down and out for two weeks during the Christmas/New Year hubbub and well, you know. Stuff. Now, we’re returning to some regularly scheduled postings. Fabric Fridays are here to stay! They are fun for me to put together and they remind me that a) I have an overwhelming stash of pretty gorgeous fabric (bad Sunni!) and b) it’s nice to pull out this stuff and remind myself what I was going to make and try to start making all the things! Today’s fabric: Wool Flannel.


In point of fact, this is not a fabric I see very often. Sure, I see my share of cotton flannels, but wool flannel is a different story. You know the fiber type that we’re looking at today is wool, but let’s take a closer look at what flannel is.


Flannel is associated with a cloth that is soft, warm and a bit fuzzy. I’ve seen flannel in a semi-loose plain weave structure and also a twill weave – I usually see plaids in the twill weave. Flannel is typically brushed on one side or both. If you think of this on a larger scale, it’s basically a fine tooth metal brush machine that rubs the fabric to create a fluffiness. The brushing of the cloth makes the staple fibers (the yarns the fabric is woven together with) puffy – the same idea as ratting your hair! The puffy fiber then fills in the loose weave of the cloth and makes it more dense and well, soft. How was that for an explanation?


I have to be honest and say that I don’t know why we don’t see more wool flannel about. Maybe you see more of it where you are in the world. I’ve made one thing out of a lovely fuchsia color – this pencil skirt. I wear it a good amount and it was a lovely sewing experience. Wool flannel is very easy to work with.

Wool flannel has a nice structured hand for the most part, but I’ve also seen a few that are bit more drapey and on the finer/thinner side. Wool flannel works nicely in lots of different projects – coats, jackets, slacks/trousers, skirts and even shirts. I know one lady in particular who still makes her man those classic Pendleton knock-off wool flannel button-up shirts.

What’s your take on wool flannel? Have you ever sewn with it? Have some in your stash?

For more about Wools, visit the Working with Wool Section!

  • Tia Dia - I have no wool flannel in my stash, and, come to think of it, have never handled or seen any if it should be a nice “fuzzy” fabric like the very popular buy-everywhere cotton flannel. Does it pill and wear like cotton flannel?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh no, it does not! A fine wool flannel is nice and soft, doesn’t pill and will last forever! I’ve worn that fuchsia pencil skirt quite a bit now and no pilling.ReplyCancel

  • Susan - I have a lovely pair of grey pinstripe flannel pants, trouser style and cuffed, which never go out of style and seem to be appropriate for such a wide range of situations in that mid space between casual and dressy. hardly ever see wool flannel for sale in regular fabric stores, only those which specialize in woolens, esp. men’s suiting.

    One of my very first sewing projects for a day-to-day wardrobe (i.e., not formal dresses for graduation ceremonies) was a Viyella shirt, which was a washable wool/cotton flannel mix, so soft, warm and comfortable. Oh how I loved that shirt and wore it until it was threadbare. Viyella fabric is no longer made, and I’ve not seen a wool flannel that I’d be comfortable wearing as a shirt.

    Susan, on a cold snowy day in OntarioReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Viyella sounds intriguing. Such a shame it’s not made anymore. Time to break out the flannel pants for your cold snowy day! Wishing you a warm fire!ReplyCancel

    • Sue - Hi Susan, I’m in England (the old one!)not Ontario, but I have just washed a lovely piece of viyella fabric (over 3 yards) which would easily make a shirt of any size. It’s a tartan design, red and dark blue with a little green. I also love viyella and made a floor length scarlet dress from it in my teens. I was wondering what to do with this piece, when I spotted your note. Do let me know if you’re interested. It used to be a voluminous Laura Ashley skirt, so has a couple of seams running acrossways (at the yard and yard and a third mark) but they wouldn’t be a problem with a shirt pattern. Best wishes, SueReplyCancel

      • Susan - Ah, I would love a piece of Viyella, especially from a Sue in England — is that really what you are offering?
        It’s been snowing nonstop here in Kingston… SusanReplyCancel

        • Sue - Oh yes, completely serious. Unfortunately, I was thinking optimistically about the cost of postage. The viyella is still wet, so weighing was educated guesswork, but I looked at Royal Mail and the competition – and the cheapest on postage alone was over £40!

          It’s the first time I’ve tried to send anything to Canada, so you may know of a parcel company which beats everyone. Do let me know, if so. I was going to suggest a reasonable amount for the fabric (£25) but the cost of posting on top may make it prohibitive for you.

          I did measure up the damp fabric to check dimensions, just in case. There are three separate pieces (each 36″/yard wide, the old-fashioned width) and each piece is a yard and at least 6″ long (two of them are slightly longer).

          Hope we can find a solution. It would be nice to get you kitted-up for that long, hard Ontarian winter.

          Best wishes, SueReplyCancel

  • Juebejue - thank you for fabric Friday so far! Very educational. I haven’t seen wool fannel, sounds like something I want to try!ReplyCancel

  • Lady ID - I only ever see the inexpensive flannel but I admit I haven’t LOOKED for wool flannel. Seeing your skirt though, it’s pretty. It may be too warm for LA but hmm….ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Speaking of LA, I do believe B. Black and Sons is located there. They boast a gorgeous amount of wool, including wool flannel. Bought my fuchsia flannel (the skirt above) from them.ReplyCancel

  • Polly - Thanks for this series of posts. I definitely want to branch out into using more different fabrics. Can I ask how wool flannel compare to boiled wool?ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Great question Polly! Well, boiled wool is actually boiled and agitated – a process called felting. It’s actually wool that has been shrunken. Wool flannel is brushed instead of going through a boiling/agitating/shrinking process. The brushing fluffs up the fibers making the cloth more dense and soft. Hopefully this explanation helps!ReplyCancel

  • Ginger - I LOVE wool flannel! It’s so nice and warm, and holds up better than cotton flannel, in my opinion. I used it recently to interline a jacket and really liked it for that… it’s warm, but also drapey.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh, never thought of doing this, but this sounds uber warm and lovely! Yum!ReplyCancel

  • EmSewCrazy - So, it looks like normal flannel but with more body? I think I have a bunch of it. I just bought a storage unit of fabric and it’s high quality stuff. There was a bunch of stuff that sounds like this… It feels like flannel but is way too firm and just better made feeling and looking that flannel… Are there any other ways to tell something is wool flannel?

    • Sunni - You could do a burn test. Wool turns to ash, is hard to ignite and when burned it smells like burnt hair. Remember that burning smell from your curling iron days? Yup, that’s what you’ll smell.

      I also notice that when you wash wool it has a funny odor, much more noticeable than any other fiber type. So you could take a sample and soak it in some water and see if it has a curious smell.

      Additionally, there’s a bleach test. If you put a sample of wool in a cup of bleach, leave it overnight and check it in the morning, the wool will have dissolved completely.

      Hopefully this helps you out. I hope you have a bunch of this in your new storage unit. Yum!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I’ve got a small amount of flaming red wool flannel in my stash. I ran out of time last winter, but this coming winter I’m either making it into a mini skirt or a shift dress, whatever I’ve got enough for. I found it in an op shop (thrift store) and its in a few pieces…… Love your cute skirt pocket!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Jealous! I never seem to find good fabric at thrift stores here. So sad. But so happy for you! Your ideas for it sound marvelous!ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - Hi Sunni:

    Really like your mustard coloured skirt but I totallllly love the black polka dotted top you are wearing with the skirt. By any chance did you make the top? If so, can you share the details regarding the top – such as the pattern and the fabric, etc.?

    I recently started to receive your blog and perhaps I missed an earlier post regarding the above mentioned top.

    I look forward to following your blog in the future. Keep up the great work on the information series on wool etc. I have a degree in Home Economics (the name has been changed) which means I took a lot of sewing and textile classes – your series on wool brought back memories of my university days.

    That’s all for now, NancyReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Hi Nancy! Thanks so much for your sweet comment. The polka dot top from my last post (Hollyburn Take 5 & 6) is a top from Ann Taylor factory outlet. I am a serious die hard for polka dots – such a happy print! This one seems to go with EVERYTHING! I purchased it pretty recently too, so I would say there is a good chance it might still be available!?!ReplyCancel

  • dani e - So maybe you have already covered my question in a previous post and if you have, I am sorry. I have been wondering about the itch factor of the wools you are discussing in these great Friday posts. Especially wool flannel and the wool jersey. I love the idea of wool but i cannot imagine investing precious time and money in a wonderful wool if I am just going to be itchy and uncomfortable wearing my garment. That pink skirt is a dream, by the way. i love that little pocket on the front.

    You are a great inspiration!!


    • Sunni - You raise a very valid point dani! It’s one I think about a lot. As far as with wool knitwear, I’ve encountered some wool knits that are itchy and some that are surprisingly soft and smooth. If you’re purchasing these online, I woud say buy a swatch and see for yourself before purchasing the yardage. The true test is rubbing the wool knit on your arm or neck to see if it itches. I used to think that you could just feel it with your fingers but that’s not quite enough.

      As for wool wovens, I would say that lining the garment is always a good idea. Like for my pink skirt above, it’s lined and it has a ribbon waistband so there isn’t actually wool touching my skin. These ideas for comfort are a topic I’m going to cover in an upcoming post. So stay tuned! Thanks so much Dani!ReplyCancel

  • Beth - I recently bought a fabric (online) described as “wool flannel suiting” and it was not brushed on either side. I was hoping to use it for perhaps a coat but it turned out too drapey. Methinks it was just wool suiting. It will probably make a nice pair of pants though :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle - Warming Crafts - I was hunting for red wool flannel a few months back on the internet and was unable to find it anywhere; I desperately want it to make a red petticoat for under my 18th century garb as apparently red flannel was warmer than grey. I’ve had to go without as I couldn’t find any wool flannel anywhere at the time. I do have a small piece of what I suspect may be a lightweight wool flannel (twill weave) in my stash, but it’s too small for a petticoat, or even a skirt so I’m going to use it for the top layer on some 1810 stays instead.
    I may not have found wool flannel, but I did find some gorgeous cotton flannel in a twill weave that I totally fell for, it’s a quilting cotton so better quality than most and I want more!ReplyCancel

  • Gail - I love sewing wool flannel. I it is very obedient fabric and the end product always looks great. I made a lovely pencil skirt in light grey that I wore to death last winter. While the garment still looks as new, sadly I’ve lost weight so will have to remake it if it is to find its way into my winter wardrobe come May.ReplyCancel

  • Anne - Now that I live in the South, I try not to own or make anything in wool. It takes a lot of care to protect wool clothing from moths and I remember how upset I was when two lovely sweaters got holes.ReplyCancel

  • Fabric Friday: Wool Melton » A Fashionable Stitch - […] melton goes through a felting process and then it’s brushed. To be honest, it’s akin to wool flannel (though flannel is a looser weave), but quite a bit […]ReplyCancel