Sewing Clothes with Quilting Cottons – Part 1

Quilting cottons are inexpensive as fabric goes, come in a huge variety of fun prints and colorful solids, and are very easy to sew. Don’t let the “quilting” part fool you – you can sew clothes with quilting cottons too!

With some thoughtful pattern selection, you can have great results using quilting cottons for clothing. Obviously, don’t choose a pattern that needs stretch, because quilting cotton has none. Also, it has a fairly stiff drape and stands moderately away from the body, so patterns that need a slinky, flowy fabric are not a good match. For women, shorts and simple structured skirts are good choices, as well as simple tops or dresses, especially those that have bust darts for shaping. For men, Hawaiian-style shirts and boxer shorts work well and you can really have fun with some of the prints!

For children, the choices are much broader. Kids don’t have a lot of curves to fit, they outgrow clothes before they can wear them out, and they are ideal candidates for loose, simple clothing. For all these reasons, quilting cottons are great for children’s dresses and tops, skirts, rompers, hats, shorts and more. You can even make pants, but be aware quilting cottons won’t stand up to a lot of knee-wear from active kids. 

The Potato Chip Shorts and Pants pattern for kids is a perfect pairing for quilting cottons, especially in either of the shorts views. The pattern has simple lines and needs no stretch. I really like how these look in this smooth, deeply colored Robert Kaufman Kona cotton with secret printed-cotton pops of color inside the waistband and pockets. 

The printed quilting cotton also worked perfectly for the placket and collar on the polo shirt. This particular shirt pattern – Cee’s Tee by Tie Dye Diva Sewing Patterns – is a kids’ polo shirt pattern specifically designed for these elements to be made from woven fabrics, and the rest of the shirt from knit. The Bright Blue Wide Stripe Jersey Knit is perfection for the body of the shirt, my son loves that the heathering gives it a lived-in look. I love that it’s lightweight but also maintains an expensive feel – not sheer or clingy, just perfectly cool and soft. I wish I had gotten another yard of it – guess it will just have to go in my next cart!

Originally I planned this short-and-polo-shirt outfit to include this awesome numbers-print quilting cotton for my math-headed kid, but also I was lucky enough to grab a coveted Cali Fabrics quilting cotton remnant pack that happened to have the gorgeous batiky-tie-dye looking print included and I knew I had to pivot. I’ll use the numbers print for something else … maybe a bucket hat to cover up the desperate need for a haircut?

Quarantine hair, don’t care

Cool, comfy, and his favorite color, blue (could you guess?). I think I hit all the right notes with this set!

I made a lot more with my quilting cottons haul, so I’ll be back soon with more of my makes and my top tips for sewing with quilting cottons!

Jen H, from Tie Dye Diva

Jen creates PDF format sewing patterns for women, children and babies at

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