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Top Eight Fabrics for Handmade Shirts

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Indiesew | Top Eight Fabrics for Button Up Shirts

One of the reasons I love sewing button-up shirts and shirtdresses is that there are so many choices for fabric. You can use a crisp cotton shirting for a traditional look. Choose a drapey rayon crepe for dressed-up attire. Or go with linen for a casual look.

Structured or flowy, the fabric you choose for your handmade shirts and shirtdresses will have a big impact on the final garment.

Below is a list of our eight favorite fabrics for shirt and shirtdresses. Each photo links to a Fabric Files post: an exhaustive resource on how to buy, sew with, and care for each substrate. We even touch on the history of each fabric and why some fabrics are more expensive than others.

If you're sewing a shirt or shirtdress for #shirtmonth in one of the fabric types below, be sure to check out each post! Also, we just added seven new rayon and cotton-blend fabrics to the Indiesew Fabric Shop (like the lemon print you see above).


Structured Fabrics

Linen is the OG of woven fabrics! It's made from the flax plant and is known for its breathable properties.

Linen Fabric Files >

Double cloth is a loosely woven double-sided fabric. It softens up considerably in the wash, making it comfortable to wear.

Double Cloth Fabric Files >

Chambray is a woven fabric that features a colored warp yarn and a white weft yarn. The two different colored yarns create a muted color.

Chambray Fabric Files >

Voile is a lightweight woven (typically cotton or rayon) fabric that is often semi-sheer. Voile has more drape than traditional shirting fabrics.

Voile Fabric Files >


Flowy Fabrics

Silk is a fiber produced by the industrious silk worm! Silk fabrics are woven into many subtrates and are breathable, durable, and absorbent 

Silk Fabric Files >

Tencel is a type of rayon fabric known for its breathability and absorbency. It's typically densely woven and opaque, with a suede-like hand.

Tencel Fabric Files >

Rayon challis is a soft plain weave fabric made from rayon. It's usually lightweight and flowy, ideal for hot-weather garments.

Rayon Challis Fabric Files >

Crepe has a crinkled or granular surface. This is because the yarn is twisted tightly before being woven into fabric.

Crepe Fabric Files >

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