As we continue on with highlighting woolens, I thought it would be great fun to feature a fabric every Friday. There are many varieties of wool out there and if I do say so myself, it’s awesome to know what you’re buying or what you have already. Today, I’m giving it up to wool gabardine.


Let’s break this all down now. Wool is the fiber type – I’ll be going over different kinds of wool fiber next week, so then you’ll be a wool ninja! – and gabardine is the weave structure. Do y’all know what weave structure is? I don’t know if you’ve ever actually seen a weaving loom, but I’ve seen several. Strange, strange coincidence is that here in Utah, there are a lot of ladies who weave their own cloth. It’s fascinating really. I can’t tell you all the gory details about weaving (because I don’t know any!), but I do know that there are basic weave structures and one of them is twill. Gabardine is a twill. This basically means that when you look at it closely, the yarns look diagonal – like denim! Yes, denim, that fabric your jeans are made of is a twill weave.


The thing that is different about wool gabardine is that it’s always drapey. I have to be honest and say I’m not exactly sure what gives gabardine its drape, but it’s got nice flow. Wool Gabardine is a medium weight fabric and works nicely for jackets, pants, dresses and skirts. Think suiting.


Remember these pants? Those are a luscious bright red wool gab. You’ll find that with wool fabrics, you can do a lot of different things design/sewing wise. For example, the same wool fabric that can be used to make a flowy dress, can also be used to make a tailored jacket. This is the lovely thing about wool – its versatility.

Have you worked with wool gab before? Do you have wool gab in your stash?

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

  • Sue - I love this idea Fabric Friday. I’ve been looking for websites that provide you with a list of fabrics and what type of garments you can create with it. And here you are showing us a garment as well with valuable tips on the fabric! Many thanks. Looking forward to next Friday.ReplyCancel

  • laura - The wool gabardine I ordered from your shop during the black friday sale has just arrived today actually! I’m trying to decide how to pretreat it now.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I find that wool gabardine is actually pretty forgiving with a pre-wash. For this tightly woven fabric I wash in cold on gentle cycle and hang to dry. Give it a good iron and you’re ready to go!ReplyCancel

  • Tina - Sunni, thank you so much for all this fabric information. I love it!!!! I have wondered what the difference was between some of the wools & this post, along with the others, has been so great. Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to inform us. By the way, I ordered some of the cotton jersey fabric from you & love it. Can’t wait for things to settle down so I can make a Renfrew T shirt with it.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - So glad you’re loving the cotton jerseys Tina! Means a lot to hear you say that. Also glad that people are finding this info useful. I’ve found that so many customers who come into the store don’t know what certain fabrics are – not a bad thing at all – but when you know, and especially when you’re ordering online, you know what you’re purchasing. Really helps a bunch!ReplyCancel

  • Candie - I love anything wool. Thanks for this!ReplyCancel

  • Sewer - I’ve taken a few high-end tailoring classes. We were always instructed not to us gabardine because it is an unforgiving fabric and unsuitable for people without a lot of experience. Flannel or tweed were recommended instead. I prefer those two to gabardine, which for my taste is too hard and slick for the clothes that interest me.ReplyCancel

    • Sewer - “not to use”ReplyCancel

      • Sunni - Yes, I can definitely see this. It is unforgiving because it will show every single blemish you made where tweed or flannels won’t necessarily. But I still love the occasional gab for a pair of trousers or even a nice skirt or structured sheath dress. I find that gabardine holds up quite well to a lot of wear and tear too. I’ve worn my red trousers quite a bit – even laundered them quite a bit too and they look like I just made them.ReplyCancel

  • LinB - Twill has good drape because it has an automatic bias woven in — those diagonal lines that show up on the surface because of the offset at the beginning of each row of weaving. Denim is typically a twill. You may notice that your denim jeans tend to twist at the seams — a twill weave is the usual reason. Wrangler jeans used a broken twill for many years, specially woven by Cone Mills for them. The break in the twill meant that the fabric was very stable, yet still had the drape of a regular twill. (Well, as good a drape as an all-cotton 16-oz fabric could have.)

    There are cotton twills and silk twills as well as woolen ones. Silk faille and rep, used in tie making, is a form of twill weave, for example.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Didn’t even think about the bias woven in! Thank you LinB! Fascinating about the Wrangler jeans too. I love knowing stuff like this!ReplyCancel

  • Katie - Love those red pants! Wool gabardine is one of my favorite materials to work with. It looks so classy but easy to sew up!ReplyCancel

  • Sue Parrott - Wow those pants are awesome! I love sewing with wool. You can pretty much mold it any way you want!ReplyCancel

  • Leah - The most stable weave is the basic one over one under. Twill weave goes over two under one and that pattern moves diagonally across the fabric. This makes the fabric less stable and more drappy.
    I’m loving this series, we all learn as we go along.ReplyCancel

  • Gail - There is nothing like wool gabardine, especially for tailored pieces. Love your red cropped pants.ReplyCancel

  • Joen - No I don’t have a wool gabardine stash but I’m sure going to start one!ReplyCancel

  • bibliotecaria - I would add that wool gabardine is probably more drapey than something like cotton denim because of the difference between cotton and wool (cotton is inherently more stiff until the plant fiber breaks down, which is why cotton and linen and other plant fiber cloth gets softer over time) and the density of the sett. (The sett is how many strands of fabric per inch in the cloth. When you read about thread count, that is related to the sett of the weaving.) I would be curious to know, as one who DOES weave, what is the sett density and wool yarn weight for gabardine.ReplyCancel

I’ve been meaning to continue this series for some time and well, good gravy, life has happened! Thank you for your patience as we’ve been working behind the scenes here for new and upcoming things. I have been wanting to get back to my blogging habits for awhile now. I love connecting with others that sew on this level and I miss it terribly! So with that, we can now resume this regularly scheduled program on working with wool!

I think we’re all wanting to know more about fabrics so that we can arm ourselves with this knowledge when we go to the fabric store. It also helps (tremendously) when you’re purchasing goods online too. So today, I thought I would take a minute and give some thoughts on fabric care for woolens.


When I talk with people in real life about fabrics in general, there is a lot of misconception about fabric care. And I get asked about how one should care for a certain fabric all the time, so I’m going to give you some of my thoughts and some facts that will hopefully help you out with caring for your wool fabrics/garments. First some facts about wool.

  • Wool is a protein. It’s the hair of any animal that has been spun into yarn and from there woven or knitted into cloth.
  • Moths love protein for their babies. Moth adults will lay their moth larvae in wool cloth (or fiber/yarn) and their younglings will hatch and eat the wool. It’s a good source of protein after all!
  • Wool shrinks a little in cold water and a lot more in hot water. Wool felts when agitated in hot water. Depending on the weave and type, some wools felt more than others.

One of the biggest misconceptions about wool is that you can’t wash it. If you’re careful, you can care for your woolens at home. For the most part. Consider wool fabric yardage for a moment. If you’re thinking about pre-laundering wool fabric, consider what the fabric is going to be and from there, pre-launder/shrink according to how you will launder the final garment. My thoughts are:

  • garments with a lot of internal structure, ie. jackets & coats, should be dry-cleaned sparingly. To pre-launder these, I spray down the fabric yardage with a water bottle and stick in the dryer for 20 minutes (or stick it in the dryer with a wet cloth). Works especially wonderfully right before you’re ready to cut.
  • skirts, blouses, dresses and pants can be hand washed in cold water, hung to dry and from there, ironed (I also do this sparingly). I do the same with fabric yardage before cutting.


If you’re unsure what a certain wool will do, the absolute safest route is to take a swatch of your fabric and wash it the way you plan before pre-laundering the whole yardage. If you’re satisfied with the swatch outcome, go ahead and launder your full yardage. Whatever way you choose to pre-launder, consider using shampoo on your wools instead of laundry detergent as detergent will erode the wool away over time. Wool is technically hair so it benefits from a little shampoo anyway! (This one is worth a try too as it’s specially made for wool and from personal experience, it’s lovely to use!)

There’s not just fabric and garment care to think of with wool, but also how to keep those pesky little moths at bay! I store my wool fabrics and wool garments in plastic tubs with cedar balls. You can also use cedar hangers in your closets when wool garments are in use. Cedar wood is something that repels moths naturally without leaving the horrid chemical stench of moth balls. Another thing to keep in mind is that carpet beetles love to eat wool fabrics/garments too (I’ve had this happen more times than I care to admit)! Keep your woolens picked up and off of the floor. Before I add a new piece of wool to my stash, I always either let the wool take a tumble in the dryer or a give it an overnight in the freezer as this will kill existing moths/creatures in the fabric. From there, I’ll add to my stash. This way a new wool fabric won’t infect my existing wool fabrics with moths.

Keep in mind that wool fabric that is folded and put in a tub may start to fade and loose its color over time. I’ve found this to be true with light colored woolens in particular. When they’ve been sitting in the same position for too long a time, they fade in the creases of the folds! It really makes the fabric unusable unless you’re only thinking about using it for tiny items, like doll clothes. Use your stash! And you might consider going through your stash each year and refolding the pieces differently.

What are your thoughts on caring for your wools? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings and things that you do differently, or in addition to!

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

  • g - Great postReplyCancel

  • Katie - Just a heads up. An overnight in the freezer may kill off some but it won’t kill off pests, you need a longer freeze – at least 48 hours – for that (I find an oxygen deprived environment is better but how many people have a CO2 chamber at home?)

    MuseumPest has a nice section on how to freeze for pest management http://museumpests.net/solutions-fact-sheets/solutions-low-temperature-treatment/ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh thank you for this! Usually my wools end up in the freezer for a long period of time anyway because I always – always – forget that I’ve put them in there.ReplyCancel

      • Amanda - (Possibly a dumb) question for you ladies who freeze wool but do you place your wool in a plastic bag or something before putting in the freezer? I only have one of those little ones on top of my fridge and I’d have to cram it in there with frozen food and containers, so I’d think it would be nice to have it separated somehow LOL.ReplyCancel

  • Ramona Putnam - Thanks so much for this post!! Great info.ReplyCancel

  • Kristi - I was just thinking that I needed to learn more about caring for wool after I found a cashmere sweater with holes in it after storing for the summer. Great post! Thanks!ReplyCancel

  • JenL - I’m still recovering from a horrible moth event that was discovered the winter before last. Lost so many of my favorite things! The moths seem to particularly enjoy my Uniqlo cashmere sweaters : ( One thing I learned –via experience and research– is that cedar alone is not effective. The chemical in cedar can kill moths, but only at a very high concentration that is not possible with a few cedar blocks/balls. Cedar hangers should probably be considered as primarily decorative. Yes, some of my eaten sweaters were stored with cedar blocks.

    After the moth tragedy, I have changed how I store wool. I now put it in sealed plastic bags. (The damaged garments had been stored primarily in zippered canvas boxes). Before putting wool clothing away after the season I rotate it into the freezer for about 5-7 days each. Not positive that works, but I think it can’t hurt too much. Also, it is a very good idea to launder or dry clean before storage – moths are apparently attracted to the residual sweat, etc., that may be in wool clothing. Shampoo is a great idea. I like Euclan too.

    Also, I invested in clothing moth traps. They are basically glue traps with a hormone bate and you have to get the ones that are specific for clothing moths. This won’t get rid of them, but it can alert you to the problem. Clothing moths are very small, not like the usual pantry moths or the ones that fly into the house during the summer. The traps are really the best way to find out if they are living in your closet. After living in the same place for a decade, I’m not sure where my moths came from. I suspect they travelled on a piece of clothing or fabric that I bought. I hadn’t bought any vintage or thrift store items at that time, but I would now not put them in my closet without both freezing and, of course, cleaning.

    Thanks for raising the topic!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh JenL, this is awful to hear about! Thanks so much for your info. I actually had no idea that there were these little moth traps you could get. Very interesting! Going to have to do some more research and find some for my fabrics. I had a most beloved cashmere sweater eaten. So sad! I also do not put any wools in with other wools unless I have taken the time to freeze, pop in the dryer or clean first. Too dangerous! Thanks so much for your input!ReplyCancel

      • JenL - I had to do a lot of research after that huge loss. I just how someone else is saved from the same trauma!ReplyCancel

  • Didge Russell - Hi Sunni

    Thanks so much for the very valuable information on caring for wool. I will be using your recommendations from now on as I have found in some fabric shops, even though they will tell you to pre-wash the fabric, according to instructions on the label, this doesn’t always turn out. I bought a very expensive woollen material a while back and followed the pre-wash care instructions and found that the woollen crepe looked as though it had been the oldest material with no crepe texture left. I did take the fabric back and got a refund, but you have really highlighted to me that you can’t always follow what the store or even the label says to do!!! Thank you so much, you have saved me many $$$$$$ and also frustration at having to throw out garments etc.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I would definitely recommend the swatch test first. It’s just such a great idea and helps eliminate ruining fabric or garments, especially ones made from wool. Thanks so much for your input!ReplyCancel

  • Tammy R. - Thank you for posting this. It is all useful information, including the comments.ReplyCancel

  • Tilly - So many great tips – thanks Sunni!ReplyCancel

  • Tracy - Regarding your comment that folded wool fabric stored in tubs will fade in the folds – does that only apply to clear tubs or even opaque tubs? I currently keep them rolled up in opaque tubs.ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - I’m not exactly sure about this one. I think you might be OK with the opaque tubs as I’ve found that the “fade in the folds” happens when it is exposed to light. That’s been my experience anyway.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly - This is great, thanks Sunni! I’ve bought some wool fabrics recently, and I wasn’t sure how/if to prewash them. Although I don’t have many wool clothes in my wardrobe at all, I’m now slightly worried about the cashmere jumpers I bought from the market and put in the wardrobe…may have to try giving them all a freeze to be on the safe side!ReplyCancel

    • Sunni - Oh yes, please do! It’s much better to be safe than sorry in this case!ReplyCancel

  • Francesca - The freezing tip is brilliant! I read that the slightest amount of dirt on anything wool will attract moths – especially people dirt:) – so I never store anything without washing or cleaning. I keep sweaters and scarves and accessories I’ve used separate from the unused ones so I won’t risk putting anything away unwashed. Or wash things for nothing, because overwashing is not good either…..ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Some really great tips, especially for storage – I find wool yardage sometimes hard to find so I admit I do stash it – I store it in a big plastic bin but I will have to take some more care to re-fold it from time to time to avoid the fading; did not know that was a possibility! Thanks!ReplyCancel

This is the tiniest peek into my sewing room today. One of these days, I should show you the whole joint. Not because it’s really spectacular, but because I’m asked about it quite a bit. I’m grateful – beyond measure – to have my own dedicated sewing space. I know many don’t have that and I totally feel for ya sister – I’ve been there!


Maddie, from Madalynne, sent me this uber lovely photo art print that she created from a series of photos that she’s been taking called the way sewing used to be. There are several more that I would love to have from her shop, so I did the only thing a girl can do and bought a couple more that are on their way to me as I type. I was so impressed with this one, had to have more, what can I say? The nice thing about these prints is that you can get different sizes and when you’ve got a small space and not a lot of wall space, a small print to jazz up the digs is lovely. Maddie has an incredibly artful eye for all things sewing and it comes through in these photos. Very beautiful. It’s a lovely reminder than even though a lot of things in life can and are practical, they can also be translated into beautiful.


They would make great gifts, don’t ya think? Hint, hint. I can honestly say, I think every sewing enthusiast would find a little pleasure in putting one of these prints in her/his sewing space. Just had to share. It’s been quite a space of time since I actually thought about making my sewing space more beautiful (instead of just able to fit more fabric!!!). Now hop on over and think about a print for yourself, eh? Tis the season to be nice to yourself! Selfish sewing and selfish sewing space beautifying, coming right up!

xx, Sunni

  • maddie - Sunni, you are a gem. Thank you so much for the shout out. #thewaysewingusedtobe has become quite a passion and I love investigating the clever, beautiful and artful package design of sewing’s yonder years, not to mention the now obsolete sewing notions. Hope to see your space when it’s fully decorated!ReplyCancel

Approximately one year ago today (December 1 to be precise), I took ownership of a brick and mortar shop. Oh goodness, it’s been a roller coaster ride full of highs and lows. But for what it’s worth, we’ve made it! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in the next few months (we’re changing a host of things around here) but for now, it’s definitely time to celebrate.

Cyber Monday Ad

So to celebrate, we’re having an online shop sale! Yay! For today, tomorrow and Monday, you can save 25% on all purchases from our store by using the code THANKS2014 in the discount code section at checkout. Additionally, if you spend over $100, you’ll receive free shipping (U.S. and Canada) or a flat $20 shipping charge for international folks. Please note this sale only applies online. Thanks so much everyone! The mister and I wish you a very merry as you go about your holiday bustlings.

  • Kate McIvor - One year! I’m proud of you, Sunni! I hope I can follow in your excellent footsteps!ReplyCancel

  • Julie - Just placed my first order with you, wahoo! I’ve been following your blog for almost 2 years….
    My in-laws are from Layton- would love to visit your store one day when I’m in UT!ReplyCancel

  • Kath Dee - Congratulations on your 1 year anniversary Sunni. I hope next year has more highs than lows.ReplyCancel


It’s been sometime since I renovated the online store and it was needing it. For the past several weeks I’ve been working on putting together a new site and hopefully enabling a better shopping experience for you. Today it’s time to unveil the updated online store front to you! Yay! Since we’ve now added a lot of fabric to the online store, it was time improve several things. First of all we have improved shipping rates. These still might need some fiddling, but they are better. This is a very good thing and hopefully you’ll notice that you aren’t paying out the yin-yang for shipping. Additionally, to be able to get fabric samples out to you more efficiently, we are charging a small fee (only 15 cents a sample – no shipping charge!) and now you can just go into each fabric you want samples for and add them to your cart. Didn’t know that we offer a sample service? We do! We’re working on more ways of improving the online shopping experience of buying fabric and this is just the beginning. Though its not a new idea, it’s one we plan to improve and get you excited about in the ensuing months. We’ve got lots and lots of ideas for our fabric coming up. Oh goodness! It’s very exciting!


There was a surprising response to my wool crepe post and it got me thinking a lot about having a fabric and notion guide that is connected with the shop. So now, if you’re thinking, “I have no idea what this notion does or what that fabric is like” the fabric and notion guide can help you out. This is brand new, so bear with us as we keep working on that, but it should be awesome.

There were a lot of updates on the shop owner end here, so please bear with us as we work out any kinks and if you’re having any troubles, don’t hesitate to drop me a line (or leave a comment here). I hope you find the new online shop nice to navigate and easy to use.

We have several more exciting things coming to the online shop in the next while. I’ll definitely keep you posted. For now, enjoy the new site and know that we are back open for business! Hip Hip Hooray!

  • Nakisha - Hey, I made the Burda Style Illusion jacket from that same winter white/colorful plaid! It *IS* perfect for a coat!ReplyCancel

  • maddie - Sunni, the updates and site look great! Keep up the progress!ReplyCancel

  • Amanda - Really happy to hear this!! I’ve always been impressed with the quality of both product and service from your online store, and will definitely continue to rely on it as a resource especially now with improved shipping :) Cheers, and will look forward to seeing what new things you have coming! :)ReplyCancel

  • Nilla - How exciting! I’ve never bought fabric online, but I’ll definitely check out the fabric guide at least :)ReplyCancel