Another look at suiting
I think many apparel sewists (including me until recently), tend to overlook suiting fabric because we’re not actually making a suit. But suiting fabric can be so much more!
As my projects have started to branch out, I find myself frequently looking for fabrics that (1) have the weight and opacity of bottomweights, (2) have more drape and fluidity than your typical twill or denim, (3) come in a variety of solid colors, and (4) are easy to work with and don’t require frequent washing.
It turns out that suiting checks all those boxes!
Let’s take these shorts I made from the Luna Loungewear (affiliate link) set (pattern by Love Notions). This pattern is designed to be pajamas, and they make greeeaat pajamas! But I wanted a pair of casual easy-to-wear shorts for my upcoming trip to Barcelona (eeeee!!!!) that looked somewhat dressy and wouldn’t scream tourist.
I knew I wanted a dark, flowy bottomweight fabric. I considered rayon challis, which would have plenty of drape and be relatively dressy. Ultimately I decided against it because I wanted something a little sturdier than challis that wouldn’t have challis’ tendency to stretch with wear and handling.
I briefly considered cotton bottomweights like twill , but those tends to have very little drape and I wanted these shorts to have some movement. Shirtings were another possibility, but again I wanted something a little thicker so I didn’t have to worry on days I wore patterned underwear.
Ultimately I decided on this black textured poly/rayon suiting from Cali Fabrics. (Note: I seriously considered using this 100% rayon crepe suiting for these shorts. I made a pair of harem pants with this fabric and loved it so much that I went back and bought 4 more yards! There’s still over 90 yards left, but be sure to leave more for me 🙂 )
The suiting was perfect for these shorts! It’s easy to work with and wear, and has exactly the weight and drape that I wanted. They’re really comfortable and flattering, and paired with a great top and flats, they definitely don’t say “annoying American tourist” to me.
A pair of casual shorts certainly isn’t the typical application for suiting fabric, but sometimes it pays to think outside the box 🙂
Now I tend to go straight for the suitings section when I’m looking for a drapier bottomweight fabric. My favorite suitings are rayon or wool crepe, though many have some polyester content as well. That used to be a big turn-off for me, but I’m developing a more open mind for particular applications 🙂 Particularly since suitings don’t require frequent washing, so long as I use them for garments that don’t heavily depend on the fabric’s breathability (for example, I wouldn’t make a summer maxi dress from poly blend suiting — it would be too hot), it usually meets my needs quite nicely!
4 thoughts on “Another look at suiting”
Very cute! i’ve never considered suiting, but you’ve convinced me!
I’m glad! I love working with suiting!
Your shorts look perfect! I’m having the exact same problem – how to recreate the look and feel of rtw pants. Opacity, stretch, recovery, weight, feel… there are so many factors to consider when sewing shorts/pants. I still haven’t found my perfect fabric, but maybe I’ve been searching in the wrong fabric section? Thanks for sharing!
It can be really tricky since we home sewists don’t always have access to the proprietary blends they use in RTW. But sometimes thinking outside the fabric box (so to speak) can help!