Fabric Ideas for the Felix Dress

Fabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline StudioFabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline StudioFabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline StudioFabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline Studio

Fabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline Studio

Okay are you all ready to talk about Felix fabric?! Because I am! I’ve been getting a lot of questions, so we’re going to cover a lot in this post, starting with the basics – the difference between weight and drape.

Drape vs. Weight

While drape and weight are often related, they do not always go hand in hand. Of course a heavy denim will be quite stiff and a lightweight silk charmeuse is going to be about as soft as fabric comes, but there are exceptions to this rule. Think about cotton lawn compared to a cotton gauze. They may weigh about the same but the gauze will have great drape while the lawn is very crisp. Another example is silk chiffon vs. silk organza – they both may seem like lightweight options but the drape of the two is nowhere near interchangeable. Silk organza is often used as a sew-in stabilizer, which makes a lot of sense when you think about its drape. It will add structure to something like a wool gabardine, a fabric that is much heavier than organza, but has much more drape.

Selecting a Self Fabric

If you’ve read the product listing for the Felix dress, you know we recommend the following for your self fabrics. Again, the self is the main fabric in a garment, so in this case it’s the outer fabric.

Lightweight fabrics such as cotton voile or batiste, handkerchief linens, rayon and rayon blends, and silks. Avoid fabrics that are stiff or tightly woven, as this dress requires fabrics with drape.

One thing these fabrics have in common is that they’re all soft fabrics. None of them are tightly woven, or super crisp. Nor do they have a lot of heft to them. You can see this in our samples by how they hang on the body.

Fabric Ideas for the Felix Dress | Grainline Studio

1. 100% rayon: This particular print seems to be sold out everywhere I’d previously seen it but I found something very similar at Hart’s Fabric.
2. 50/50 blend of rayon and linen from Stonemountain & Daughter
3. 100% linen from Robert Kaufman

One reason we picked these fabrics for our samples is that you can see a gradient from straight rayon, to a 50/50 rayon/linen blend, to straight linen. As the garments go from left to right the silhouette of the dress changes and starts to hold its shape every so slightly more as you move towards the linen.

The first image in this post is the Felix made up in Spoonflower’s crepe de chine. This fabric works well weight wise and the bonus is that you can design your own fabric! I didn’t design my own because I know where my talents do not lie. You can find this awesome print here, or upload your own designs.

Fabric Drape Examples

Lexi and I spent Monday cutting and photographing some 12 x 12″ swatches of various fabrics to give you an idea of why we recommended what we did, and why certain fabrics may have been omitted. All of these fabrics are either ones we recommend or fabrics we had on hand that people specifically us asked about. Each swatch is hung from a piece of thread to show off its natural drape. Hopefully this helps provide some clarity on fabric selection!

Felix Dress Swatches | Rayon | Grainline Studio

Rayon Challis

Felix Dress Swatches | Silk Crepe De Chine | Grainline Studio

Silk Crepe de Chine

Felix Dress Swatchs | Linen Cotton | Grainline Studio

50% Linen / 50% Rayon

Felix Dress Swatches | Handkerchief Linen | Grainline Studio

Handkerchief Linen

Felix Dress Swatchs | Cotton Batiste | Grainline Studio

Cotton Batiste

Grainline Felix Swatchs | Cotton Rayon Lawn | Grainline Studio

55% Cotton/45% Rayon Lawn

Felix Dress Swatchs | Essex Linen | Grainline Studio

Essex Linen

Grainline Felix Swatchs | Liberty Lawn | Grainline Studio

Liberty Tana Lawn

Felix Dress Swatches | Coated Linen | Grainline Studio

Metallic Coated Linen

You can see the first two rows of fabric have the most drape, and are all fabrics we would recommend using for the Felix dress. Three of those swatches we did use for our samples, the white handkerchief linen is a different colorway of our blue sample dress. I didn’t have enough leftover of the blue to cut a proper sized swatch.

Rayon Challis is a great choice for the Felix. It has a similar drape to silk but is popular because it’s easier to handle and sew, and also comes in a wide variety of colors and prints at the moment.

Silk Crepe de Chine is another good choice, as is silk charmeuse. They both drape beautifully and have lovely movement on the body. Double Georgette is another great fabric choice.

Rayon Blends are going to be a solid choice in most cases. You can see how the addition of rayon in both the rayon/linen and the rayon/cotton blends resulted in those fabrics being much less rigid than their full linen or cotton counterparts.

Cotton Batiste, Gauze & Voile are somewhat loosely woven, resulting in a softer, less crisp fabric that could work for this dress.

Essex Linen is a fabric we got a lot of questions about in our inbox over the weekend. I would not recommend it for the Felix dress, it’s much too rigid in my opinion. It works great for something like the Farrow Dress, for example, but it’s going to be tent-like in a not great way in this situation.

Cotton Lawn is another I’ve been getting a ton of questions on, and this is a great example of drape vs. weight. Yes, cotton lawn is a very lightweight fabric, but due to the weave it’s also a very crisp fabric, meaning it has less drape than other softer fabrics. Cotton lawn makes an amazing Archer Button Up or Willow Tank, but the crispness of the fabric won’t give you a silhouette that looks like our samples.

Coated Linen This one landed in our email a few times and while we totally agree that this would look amazing in theory, in reality it will probably be less awesome. You can see just how little drape it has in the image above, you can probably imagine how that would fall in a pattern meant for a soft fabric that collapses in on itself a bit.

Selecting a Lining

Felix Dress Downloadable Sewing Pattern | Grainline Studio
Felix Dress Downloadable Sewing Pattern | Grainline Studio

Now that we’ve walked you through self fabrics you can probably see why we included a full lining with this pattern. While you can likely get away without a skirt lining if your fabric is opaque enough, you’re probably going to want one for the bodice. And you know if we hadn’t included one you all would be emailing me asking how to add one 😉

As far as what fabrics to look at when selecting a lining, we recommend the following in the pattern:

Lightweight linings such as rayon, rayon Bemberg, or silk. You can use the self fabric for the bodice lining, but we highly recommend using fabrics that won’t cling to the body and skirt for the skirt lining.

For our samples we used either lightweight rayon or silk habotai. I pre-washed both on cold before cutting so not only do I not have to worry about mixing fiber contents, but I also just toss my Felix dresses in the washing machine rather than hand washing or dry cleaning. You can really use any sort of lining you can find, including poly and acetate linings, but I don’t prefer those as they hold more static electricity than other fibers and I just cannot get on board with static electricity!

I hope this post lends some clarity to the types of fabrics you’ll find the most success with when making the Felix dress. If you have any questions on this or other fabrics, just let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to get you on the right track!

Patterns Used in this Tutorial

30 replies on “Fabric Ideas for the Felix Dress

  • lschense

    I assume that wide stripes, such as those used in one of your samples, are pretty hard to match because of the design. Can you verify this?

    Reply
  • kssews

    Oh gosh I cannot see coated linen working with this pattern!

    I used a tencel chambray and it has enough structure that it’s okay unlined but enough drape to do what the pattern is intended to do. Just waiting til I can get pics of it finished 🙂

    Reply
  • Angelika Schneiderat

    I bought a light blue fabric today, 70% rayon, 30% linen – just washed it and hope it’s lightweight enough. For the lining I choose a very thin cotton in light blue. I have never seen anything with a lining, so I’m hoping for the best… I will probably only line the bodice though, as my fabric is definitely not see through. I love the pattern and am very excited how it will turn out!

    Reply
    • Jen

      I think you’ll likely be just fine, that sounds like a good blend from here at least. And don’t worry about the lining, it’s all written into the pattern instructions so there’s zero guesswork!

      Reply
  • Rachel

    I bought a 100% crinkle linen, it says it’s light-mid weight. Do you think it will be lightweight enough or is it a bit of a risk. I copied the description of the fabric below 🙂

    “Linen woven fabric with a gauzy crinkle texture. Lightweight and breathable, perfect for a relaxed fit summer garment.

    Content: 100% Linen

    Width: 135cm / 53″

    Weight: 150gsm, light-mid weight

    Opacity: Semi-opaque

    Drape: Fluid”

    Reply
  • Judith

    Thank you so much for this post, Jen! I am a novice sewist and it is so helpful to see this comparison. I will be referencing this many times!

    Reply
  • Catherine Fowler

    I am ahead of the game/tutorial here but I lengthened the bodice by 1″ for a long torso. There was no shorten/lengthen line on piece 5 (left front neckband). Now that the neckband is cut and sewn together, it is clear that there should have been a lengthen/ shorten line. Is that correct?

    Reply
    • Jen

      It depends where you lengthened through. If it’s through the point below where it joins the bodice (where our current lines are), you shouldn’t need to. If you lengthened above the V then you would have needed to add one.

      Reply
  • Elisabet Carlsson

    I have a problem understanding the comparision between Cotton lawn and Cotton gauge. i guess there is something wrong in the text compairing lawn with lawn instead of compairing lawn with Gauze. Please check up and explain!

    Reply

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