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Choosing Fabric and Interfacing

Hi, Caitlin here! How’s your Rooibos Sewalong planning going?

Today I’m going to talk a little bit about fabric and interfacing choices. These are just some general guidelines to consider for this project, not hard and fast rules. For some more info about different types of fabrics, check out the fabric series I wrote earlier this year.

The Rooibos dress is structured and fitted throughout the bodice. The skirt is a little wide so it’s not figure-hugging but it is relatively fitted through the hips.

Because the style is tailored, this means that it will fit relatively close to the body and benefit from a fabric without much drape. A very drapey fabric will have a very different look that may sag from the weight of the design lines. A medium weight fabric is the best choice for this style. With this in mind, let’s figure out some good fabrics for the Rooibos.

Linen and Cotton Fabrics: If choosing a stretch, choose one that has very little lycra in it. When using a stretch fabric, fitting can be a little tricky because the fabric stretches, so the less stretch the better. Twill tends to have a thick feel. It will drape a bit stiff and will contour well with those bodice design lines. Thicker shirtings would also work very well. Before choosing a shirting fabric, check its transparency in case you need to add lining. Other lovely choices: sateen, polished cotton, linen, poplin.

Wool Fabrics: Since wool fabrics tend to be rather thick, look for light to medium weight wools such as gabardine or suiting. Gabardine is great because it resists wrinkles. You’ll probably want to line your wool dress unless you plan on wearing a slip beneath it. Wool can be quite itchy even if it has a soft hand. Other lovely choices: heavy crepe, wool blends, double knit.

Silk Fabrics: Crepe de chine is one of the most easily found silks but it is quite drapey. This dress needs something stiffer. My suggestion is to look for a twill or lightweight dupioni. Both of these weaves have a stiff drape which works well to keep the pattern’s structure. If choosing dupioni, take care not to choose one that is too thick as the skirt will stand away from the body. Other lovely choices: suiting, shantung.

Interfacing: When choosing interfacing, go for something that is the same weight or a little lighter than the dress fabric. If using a stretch fabric, use knit interfacing. Heavy interfacing on a lightweight fabric can cause sagging because it pulls down the the non-interfaced fabric. It can also feel hard or darken the fabric because heavier interfacing tends to be opaque. When you buy your interfacing, have a sample of your dress fabric handy. Be sure to ask for help if you need it!

For those of you participating in the sewalong, what fabrics are you thinking about using?

Or, if you’ve made this dress before, do you have any recommendations for others?

The Rooibos Sewalong

  1. Announcing the Rooibos Sewalong! (42 Comments)
  2. Design details and inspiration (17 Comments)
  3. Choosing Fabric and Interfacing (20 Comments)
  4. My fabric choice (15 Comments)
  5. Making Your Muslin (19 Comments)
  6. Rooibos Full Bust Adjustment (17 Comments)
  7. Rooibos Small Bust Adjustment (11 Comments)
  8. Grading for larger hips (5 Comments)
  9. Curved seams and finishes (21 Comments)
  10. All-in-one facing and piping (15 Comments)
  11. Sewing the pockets (9 Comments)
  12. Finishing and Hemming (5 Comments)
  13. My completed dress! (29 Comments)
  14. Your Rooibos projects (5 Comments)



I have two lovely wool suitings – one red and one cobalt blue. I’m torn between the two and think I might need to make dresses out of both.

After I posted all that inspiration the other day, I really want to do one in a bright jewel tone like cobalt blue. Maybe later in the year!


I’ll stay close to the pattern picture regarding my colour choice. I’ve chosen navy wool suiting as my main fabric
and a white silk/cotton satin for interfacing .
Hope this will work out. I’ll plan to change the bottom part of the dress to a pencil skirt to make it more formal. Hopefully I’d be able to figure this out. Can’t wait to start.


I am planning on using a chocolate wool flannel suiting with a watery greens/cream/browns mosaic cotton for the trim and contrast.

That sounds really pretty. Chocolate brown is such a wonderful color for Fall, I wish it suited me more!

I have so much fabric to choose from! But I decided to go with a lightweight fashion denim and I’ll be making the lining/piping out of this tealy green color. I sounds odd, but they go together well and I’ve wanted a denim dress for awhile. I’ll do a blog post on it soon :)

I don’t think it sounds odd at all! Teal and denim seem like a good match. And I really liked the denim version I posted in my inspiration post!

I think denim is so cool because it totally transforms the look of just about anything you make with it.

I think I’m going to stay with a classic black for this one (because I would like to wear it often and not have problems matching and all). I just bought some cotton twill to do the job. I’ll try to find a nice print in my stash for the contrast fabric.
I also have this shirting cotton in my stash that has a small stripe on it. Would this dress be suitable for stripes? The shirting cotton is not too thin or sheer, so I think it would be ok in that respect, but I haven’t seen any Rooibos done in stripes, so I’m a little hesitant (even though this would be for a future dress).


I WANT to do a purple/plum with an orange featured paisley and orange piping, but I SHOULD stash bust, and have nothing like that on hand. I better look through my boxes and see what I can come up with.

That sounds so fabulous! Love orange and plum. I’m having the same issue… but I’ll be good and do some stash busting :)

is there a good way to figure out if a cotton is light or medium weight? i have some in my stash i’d like to use. it’s a bit heavier than a quilting weight fabric, but not by a lot. also, thanks for the info about the interfacing, i was wondering what sort to use.



Hmmm. I’m thinking of trying to stash-bust by making custom piping, but I’ve never done it before. Any idea how much fabric would be needed to make the 2.5 yards of piping called for in the pattern?


This is such a useful and informative post! I’m actually planning to s myself a macaroon this fall but it seems like the same kinds of fabrics would be appropriate – is that correct? I have a cotton sateen stretch in was thinking of…

Angelina S.

I ordered this silk/wool blend suiting: I haven’t received it just yet and I’m hoping it’s a suitable weight. Still haven’t picked a contract fabric though. I just can’t decide! Do you think that I should line it or will the silk blend be soft enough? I’ve never worked with wool or silk before and I’m scared! haha

I’m so excited about this sew-a-long. I got my patterns in the mail today!

I don’t know what fabrics I’m going to use yet, but Steffie- I have a post on my blog on how to make 5 yards of bias from a fat quarter.
I think you’ll find it really helpful when making your piping.


Ooh, thanks Nicole! That definitely helps to give me an idea of what’s needed.

I’m not sure what fabric I’ll be using yet. I have several with prints in my stash but I really feel that I want a solid. I haven’t received my pattern yet so will make a decision when it arrives.


Would a light corduroy work for this dress? I am new to making clothes and picking out the right fabrics. I am excited though once I pick something!


I’m looking at a mid-weight cotton sateen that has 3% lycra in it. Is that too much stretch?


I’m looking for an interfacing in a natural material such as wool. Is that possible to find? And then maybe use a waterbased glue?!