finding the right fabric: drygoods design online

Now that we’ve released our new women’s pattern collection we’re hearing from a lot of you who are eager to sew them for yourselves but aren’t sure about fabrics. Fear not! We’re here to help.

This week we’ll be running a series of posts to help you find fabrics that are suitable for each of our new patterns. And you’ll be able to purchase these fabrics wherever you live; no buying trips to New York required. (Although a buying trip could be so much fun. Maybe we should schedule one sometime?)

For our first post I’ve invited my friend Keli, who owns the wonderful Drygoods Design. Keli’s store is located in Seattle, but she has a terrific on-line shop as well.


Drygoods Design


Keli finds fantastic fabrics, and she always has her finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the sewing world.  In fact, just last week Keli sent me a package of swatches including some of the Pickering options she mentions below, and they’re delicious! Too bad we live on opposite ends of the country or I’d be hanging out at her place all the time. So here’s Keli!

* * *

Finding the right apparel fabrics, especially online, can be challenging. Even if the print and color look right, it’s hard to know if the drape, hand and scale of the fabric will do your intended project just right. With the release of the Liesl + Co. digital patterns for women, we were very excited to pull up some of our favorite fabrics for the patterns.

Our biggest challenge? Narrowing down the options for each design! Many of the prints I’ve offered up could cross over between the tops, as well as the skirt and a cape lining. Since these patterns can easily become part of your everyday wear, it was nice to bring out some fabrics that you could wear during the day and into the night.

I loved these ensembles Liesl created in this post. It made me immediately want to whip up the skirt in this print after seeing that gorgeous large scale dot. Since we’re on the subject of the skirt, here are a few options for the Everyday Skirt pattern.

Chambray Fabric

From top,  left to right: Andover Chambray in Navy (this is a new offering from Andover, and they’ve really nailed it with these chambrays from India), Pickering Lightweight Organic Denim, Pickering International Organic Cotton/Hemp/Recycled Poly Oxford in Dark Grey, and Pickering International Lightweight Organic Duck in Light Grey.


Each of these fabrics has a great balance between weight and drape. The colors make them highly versatile too!

If you’re feeling like having some fun and getting some pops of color in the skirt, go for the gold (literally with one of the prints) and try out some beautiful florals and lighter weight fabrics.


Bright Skirt Options
From left to right: Rayon Challis Dainty Daisies from Bungalow by Joel Dewberry, Nani Iro Colorful Pocho Neon Double GauzeLinework in Metallic Gold and White from Dear Stella.


The scale and drape of each of these fabrics can really work for the skirt. The rayon challis and gauze can be slightly trickier than mid- weight cottons for beginners, so have that nice iron and pins handy to reduce shifting.

The Weekend Getaway Blouse + Dress pattern has already wrapped me around its little finger, making it probably the easiest to pick fabrics for, which also means possibly too many options (if that is actually a problem!).

Once you have this pattern taped, traced and ready to cut out, you’ll want a nice balance between classic and bright versions. Here are a few options for both.

Wardrobe staples:


Basic option
From left to right: Reversible Double Gauze ChambrayPickering Organic Black and White Striped Voile,  and Pickering International Dobby Voile in Smoke.


How fun to use the reversible gauze for a pop of subtle contrast on the neck facings?

Bold, versatile options:


More Getaway Options
From left to right: Floral Gauze, Koi Way of Flowers Organic VoileCocca by Kokka Tencel Lawn Tiles,  and Liberty of London Classic Tana Lawn Wiltshire.


The Late Lunch Tunic is also full of possibility, and classic prints and scales seem to be the biggest winners for the silhouette. You’ll see some of our picks for the top and skirt too.


Late Lunch FabricsFrom left to right: Pickering International Dobby Voile in Smoke, Pickering International Organic Cotton/Hemp/Recycled Poly Oxford in Dark Grey, Cocca by Kokka Tencel Lawn Tiles, Pickering Organic Black and White Striped Voile.


The Woodland Stroll Cape has made my new mission to find more wool for the shop! For now, I am dying to see it made with either of these two fabrics, lining it with a tight floral (dare a Liberty?) or something dense and cozy like a flannel or other brushed cotton.


Cape OptionsFrom left to right: Preppy Plaids Brushed Woven in Black and Pickering International Lightweight Organic Duck in Light Grey


The bonus of the brushed woven is that you can easily make it into the Late Lunch Tunic or the Everyday Skirt by flipping it over to have a woven shirting look on the outside and the soft side on the interior.

You might have noticed that many of the selections come from a company called Pickering International. We discovered them almost two years ago and have really loved being able to have a consistent source for sustainable, classic, and versatile fabrics. In addition to wovens, you also have jersey and heavier blends. Many of the other apparel fabric options come from designers selling their mill ends and quilting fabric companies offering more substrates.

These ideas for fabric selections hopefully give you more options, but they can’t take the guesswork out of buying online entirely. Remember that in the end, you’re the customer and asking for more information before you buy is a good thing and okay to do. If you’re ever in doubt about a fabric you see online, never hesitate to email or call the site to get more information on drape, width, scale, etc. At Drygoods, we try to describe optimal uses in the descriptions, but sometimes you just need to see it and often send additional images and if needed, swatches. Most online fabric sites will send you a swatch for a nominal fee, if not free, making a bigger investment in apparel yardage worth the extra step.

Thanks to Liesl for having me on here today! Rounding up these swatches made it impossible not to start on yet another version of the Weekend Getaway Blouse and my first Everyday Skirt (I had to go for the Cocca by Kokka Tencel Lawn Tiles) just in time for Quilt Market this week.

Happy Sewing!




  1. Keli is the best! I was lucky enough to be in the shop when Keli was starting to assemble these swatches together and they are GORGEOUS. The hand and drape of the fabrics are perfect for each pattern.

  2. Jenny McCann

    I love seeing these close up. So much better “feel” than in typical online store.

  3. Dena

    Thank you so much! That helps me out immensely! I love the new skirt pattern and am excited to sew something for myself for a change. I appreciate you being so quick to come up with the online shopping sites, since I don’t live near a fabric store. Thank you again!


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