This is the second part of a two part blog series about the Peach Patterns Mama Leilani Top & Dress PDF Sewing Pattern. In this part we're covering everything you need to know to choose the best fabric for your top or dress. The series also covers pattern options, sewing tips, design inspiration and blog reviews in Part 1 (here).
The key to getting a great finished top or dress with the Mama Leilani pattern is choosing the right fabric. The main feature of the design is the ruffle overlay and in order to create the pretty folds you are aiming for with this feature its important to use a fabric that will behave in the right way when being worn. This is especially so with the women's dress as there is the added consideration that the overlay needs to drape over our curvier figures.
The rayon fabrics pictured here are (clockwise from upper right):
Watercolor Burst Rayon Challis in Blue/Coral from Style Maker Fabrics
Premium Floral Picasso Rayon Poplin from LA Finch Fabrics
Turquoise Digital Boho Rayon Challis from LA Finch Fabrics
Ginger Yellow Rayon Fabric by JPFabrics on Etsy
The favourite fabric choice for this pattern is undoubtedly rayon (also known as rayon challis or viscose) as it will give you the optimum drape and flattering silhouette. All of the big chain fabric shops and loads of online sellers now carry rayon in a huge range of both prints and solid colours. Rayon can be a little more challenging to cut and sew than cotton. The best tip for cutting your pattern pieces when using rayon is to find as large a surface as possible and spend extra time smoothing your fabric out and aligning the selvedges. Use plenty of pins AND fabric weights. If the fabric does shift a little and you find your matching pieces are slightly different, pin them together and trim them to match before sewing.
Silk or Crepe
The silk and crepe fabrics pictured here are (clockwise from upper right):
Crepe Amaranthe from MaaiDesign
Designer Silk Crepe de Chine from Cali Fabrics
Telio Moda Crepe Bird from Fabric.Com
Savannah Crepe Ivory from Fabric Godmother
If you are up for a challenge and want to create a pretty, special occasion dress you may want to have a go at using silk or crepe for the pattern. The advice about cutting and sewing fluid fabrics (see rayon) applies even more here!
Cotton, Voile or Lawn
The cotton fabrics pictured here are (clockwise from upper right):
Paisley Block Print Cotton from IndianStores on Etsy
Textured Printed Tencel from Spotlight
Parakeets Cotton Lawn from Fabric Godmother
Art Gallery Sage Voile Painted Night Desert by Bari J from Fabric.Com
If you are going with a cotton fabric, avoid any mid weight to thicker cottons such as patchwork, quilting weight cotton and broadcloth. Instead choose soft and light weight options like voile or lawn or tencel. Indian style block print cottons are another fabulous choice as they usually come on a base cloth which is super soft to touch and comfortable to wear.
No matter which fabric you choose, don't forget to wash and press it before cutting your pattern pieces. Many of the fabric types discussed here will shrink after washing and this is especially so for rayon.
Image at left: by Susana of Suco by Susana Image at right: Sew Squirrel
You won't regret having a go at making a Mama Leilani Top or Dress with Adjustable Straps. It's easier than you think and there's an additional full photo tutorial in the pattern to show you exactly how to do it. Here are some links to suppliers who sell the ring and slider hardware you'll need for this option:
I have used and recommend Sew Squirrel.
Europe and the UK:
English Couture Company
Evie La Luve DIY
Studio Costura Shop on Etsy
A search on Etsy for "rings and sliders" and/or "bra making hardware" will bring up several US sellers of these supplies. Arte Crafts is one we found which offers a good range.
Another tip shared in the Peach Patterns Sewing Group is to recycle rings and sliders from old bras or lingerie that you’re no longer wearing.
And that's about it for now! I hope you've enjoyed reading this series and if you make yourself a Mama Leilani Top or Dress please hop over and share it in the Peach Patterns Sewing Group and/or on Instagram with the hashtags #peachpatterns and #mamaleilani.