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what pattern for for what fabric?

Pernelle | Posted in General Discussion on

Where can I get expert advise on what patterns to use with my various types of fabric. I’m a reasonably able sewer but I want to make sure I have matched the right pattern/style with the fabric. IE: I was recently given some Indian cotton fabric, (dark brown, med weight, with irregular beige diamond-shaped spots, 4 yards)  knowing who bought it for me, at some cost. I don’t quite know what to make with it.  The pattern may be a bit  busy for my “waspy” 40+ slender pyramid with round seat type frame but I want to do something special with this material. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.



  1. sueb | | #1

    Your best bet is to look at the pattern envelope for the suggested materials to use.  That's going to give you your best advice on which fabric is suitable for the pattern you've chosen. 

    1. Pernelle | | #3

      Thank you Sue B. for responding. I will indeed, consult the back of the pattern which brings me to another question. I have looked over the pattern books at Jo Ann (all that is available locally) and found nothing even close to the mid-weight, ethnic/ rustic fabric that I'd like to use. Do you know of any reliable off-the-beaten-track pattern sources, on-line perhaps, that may offer something a bit different?

      Thanks again for taking the time to answer.


      1. Pernelle | | #4

        OK...so, I'm little inexperienced with this process but quickly learning to appreciate it.

        Janet: Thank YOU for responding as well.

        I think the coat idea is interesting and will look into patterns that might led itself well to this variation on a ethnic/earthy poka dots. 

        1. edgy | | #5

          I don't know if you look at any fashion magazines, but it IS possible to interpret those wild garments that usually have a few in ethnic fabrics.Otherwise, try style.com and look at the shows. Look at each pic and think about how the fabric pairs w the style.nancy

      2. sueb | | #6

        Waechter's silk shop has some independent pattern designers that might be closer to what you're looking for, especially the folkwear patterns:


        also try:  http://www.patterncompanies.com/

        also you might want to check out these books at your local library:

        The Folkwear Book of Ethnic Clothing : Easy Ways to Sew & Embellish Fabulous Garments from Around the World  by mary parker

        Cut my cote by Dorothy Burnham

        Hope this is helpful !

        1. Pernelle | | #7

          WOW! Thank you so much for that  web site, Weachters... It is just the ticket for my indian fabric and other things I've wanted to make.

          Thanks again,


          1. sueb | | #8

            terrific, glad I could help !

  2. sewpro | | #2

    It sounds to me like your fabric doesn't move much, so I think you'll want to make something that has a trim silhouette. Is it a good color for you? If not, consider using it away from your face, as in pants. Otherwise, maybe an unlined long unconstructed coat that could be worn over beige pants and a tank top for summer. Just a few thoughts... Good luck, Janet

  3. mem | | #9

    It sounds to me as if you need lots of ideas and that you arent very comfortable with this fabric as it isnt YOU????? I had a similar experience and went surfing the net and looked at independent pattern companies and actually ended up making pants with a plain jacket which I trimmed with  the ethnic print . It actually looked great and expanded my horizons as to what is ME . TRy googleing sewing patterns and then you will find heaps of ideas . The fabic sound as if it needs to be a slim sillouette but have simple design lines as otherwise you will cut up the patterns too much.

    1. Pernelle | | #10

      mem: Your insight  into this fabric/pattern issue is uncanny. I'm absolutely thrilled that to be getting all these wonderful suggestions from such apparently wise and generous folks such as yourself. WOW, who knew?

      Thank you,


      1. Teaf5 | | #11

        These other pattern sources sound ideal for authentic ethnic fabric! However, when I'm given fabric that doesn't quite fit my usual comfort zone in clothing, I look for ways to use it in my home or office. Four yards is ample for a tablecloth and napkins, a simple window treatment, one side of a duvet cover, or a couple of throws. For my office, I have made runners for the top of file cabinets, a shawl to wear in chilly a/c, and a wall hanging that fills a blank wall and absorbs sound. Once I made a tote bag from one yard and gave away the rest; the bag reminds me daily of the gifter, and my friend enjoyed her piece, too.

        1. Pernelle | | #12

          Teaf5: Thank you for that. I may have enough for  a simple shift and a handbag. Cool!


  4. ruffle | | #13

    Have you thought of a tablecloth or place mats?

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