Have you ever looked for a list of garment patterns for which you can use quilting cotton?
I’m consciously trying to work through some stash fabric and, as a relatively new sewist, I have the inevitable stack of bright, fun and attractive quilting cottons that are just that bit too stiff and unyielding for many garments. It’s a common problem for us newbies and I have an impressive array to get through. Sadly, I’m not in any rush to make a quilt, and there are only so many cotton clothes you can make a little boy (they just ain’t that practical). Home décor is definitely an option, but there must be more I can do with cottons than make napkins for aunties, right?
Never fear – help is at hand! When I searched online to find some women’s patterns I could try with some of my cotton, I couldn’t find any specific list. There are some very useful articles about using quilting cotton generally (linked in relevant section), but no actual list! So I decided to have a trawl through the website of as many indie companies as I could think of and list some ideas. If you know or have personal experience of using quilting cotton successfully with a project that’s not listed, let me know and I’ll happily add it to the list!
Edit: Thanks for all your suggestions here and on Instagram, which have been duly added. Keep ’em comin’! 🙂
Honestly, I was blown away by how many patterns are around that either specifically list quilting cotton as a recommended fabric or look like they’re a pattern that would work with it. However, I must first add a few notes:
- All quilting cottons are not equal. The majority of mine are Cotton and Steel or similar quality, so while undeniably still mid-weight cottons, they are very soft and nothing like those cheap scratchy calico/muslin types in the bargain bin at the big box stores. Don’t do it!
- Even if your quilting cotton is a quality fabric, there are significant differences in thickness and drape. Think about the garment you’re making and which end of the spectrum is going to work best.
- Definitely do consider a lining for close-fitting skirts. Cotton can ride up – if you’re wearing tights it’s a guaranteed PITA.
- Quilting cottons are often referred to as “medium-weight cottons”, so if you see this in the recommended fabrics, there’s a good chance your quilting cotton will be just fine and dandy.
- Using a novelty quilting cotton does result in a certain look that can sometimes whisper (or shout) homemade. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and can in fact be pretty cute, but if it’s not the look you’re going for, choose your pattern carefully. In other words, if you’re already a sewist who is a bit sniffy about quilting cotton, this list is unlikely to change your mind. 😀
- Finally, I haven’t made many of these, so I can’t guarantee they will look… cool. The ones I have made turned out just fine, but use your discretion.
Alright, enough waffling – let’s take a look at what’s out there! I’ve listed these by company/brand, since, after a bit of internal debate, it seemed the most logical way.
Liesl + Co.
Wow – I didn’t realise how many Liesl + Co. patterns give quilting cotton specifically as a bona fide recommended fabric. What a treasure trove! I have already made one of them in quilting cotton twice, and I have at least two other of these patterns in my sweaty palms. They may just have jumped the queue a little…
Two great shirt patterns right off the bat with the Liesl + Co Recital Shirt and the Classic Shirt sewing pattern. I’ve seen great versions of the Classic shirt on Facebook and I really love the little pintucks on the newer Recital shirt, although they might be better for lighter weight cottons.
Four other patterns comprise the Terrace Dress, the Cinema Dress, the Late Lunch Tunic and the Everyday Skirt, the latter of which I’ve made twice now and both times with quilting cottons. They’ve both had plenty of wear and it’s a lovely comfy pattern thanks to the clever half-elasticated, half flat waistband. No lining required either! I can recommend this one for sure.
Sew Over It
Quite a number of good options from Lisa Comfort at Sew Over It as well. The Ultimate Pyjamas and Lulu dress specifically mention that quilting cotton is a great option. Think how many fun novelty prints you could use on the pyjamas? That could be a great stash buster for those crazier patterns in your collection!
The Tulip skirt has medium-weight cotton listed as a fabric, so quilting cotton should probably be fine, and any circle skirt should also be suitable, so I’ve listed the Full Circle Skirt. Just be aware it will have more body than, say, a rayon/viscose or lawn skirt.
Colette Patterns wrote a nice article naming several of their patterns they think would work well with quilting cottons. Among others they suggest the Zinnia and Ginger skirts, the Aster top and even the Moji trousers for some casual loungewear pants. Not entirely convinced about the last one (pyjamas I’m thinking), but I’m keeping an open mind!
Although not mentioned, I personally made the Colette Beignet with quilting cotton and it’s one of my favourite projects ever. The Beignet is a lined skirt by design, so it works well.
Since the article was published, there have been many more Seamwork patterns added to the roster and here are some that should work. The Lynn dress and Patsy skirt both mention the fabric and I’ve made the Sonya dress myself and think quilting cotton would work here too, as long as it’s fairly soft. I used some for the contrast parts and it was good. More recently, we’ve seen the Natalie shirt, which has a simple boxy shape and the Adria crop top.
One more from Colette, as swarmofchickadees dropped by to let us know she had good success with the Colette Rooibos pattern!
Fancy Tiger Crafts
Here are two more patterns, this time from Fancy Tiger Crafts, that I’ve made myself from quilting cotton, and the results were A-OK. The Fen dress is a loose boxy style and the Sailor Top has a wide facing that sets off the gathered body very nicely.
Blueprints for Sewing
This indie company has a distinctive ethos and style, which is that its designs are inspired by or based on various types of building/architecture. Perhaps this lends itself to the structural qualities of quilting cotton as most of their patterns are suitable for the fabric. Owner/designer Taylor talks about using it in this interesting article.
Her patterns which should work comprise the Cabin shift dress, the A-Frame Skirt Version 1 and the Saltbox Top. For the latter, not only is quilting cotton a recommended fabric, it’s also a totally stash-busting pattern. It’ll be a little more boxy, but if that’s your thing, what’s to stop you?
Grainline Studios lists cotton as a fabric for the Scout tee and the quilting cotton version I made last year is probably one of my most worn tops, so I can recommend this pattern.
Grainline does not list midweight cotton as a fabric for either the Archer shirt or the straight version of the Alder shirtdress, but I feel like you could use it for them. In fact there are LOTS of quilting cotton Archers on the web if you surf around. The poplin I used to make my Alder was virtually identical to my Scout tee fabric, so I think it should work too.
The Upton Dress has cotton listed as one of the recommended fabrics and I’ve seen a few versions on the web that look great. In fact, the version Jenny is wearing below even looks a bit like quilting cotton to me? (Note: I have been informed in the comments it is not. Ah well… it looks like it, haha).
Made by Rae
Closet Case Patterns
Carolyn Pyjamas: These have quilting cotton listed and what a great way to use up some of your crazier prints! The Kalle top/tunic/shirtdress also looks like a contender to me, with its fairly sturdy hemline. I’m just not sure about the sleeves, but I think it could work? I might give it a go soon as I have this pattern.
Edit: I did give it a go! I made the cropped version with some quilting cotton and it turned out fine! I’m not sure I would make one of the longer versions with it, but it suits the shorter view, as below.
Tilly and the Buttons
Tilly wrote a nice article about using quilting cottons a couple of years back with some great tips. She mentions a few patterns in it, and specifically the Miette skirt. Others that seem that they would work would be the Domininque skirt (straight version) as well as the Rosa shirtdress.
@jessosaurusmeh left a note on Instagram that she’d had good luck with the Bettine dress, and, indeed, her version looks great!
Jennifer Lauren Patterns
Jennifer Lauren mentions quilting cottons as suitable fabrics for both her Hunter top and the Cressida skirt and I’m sure they would both look cute as that slight retro style matches up with the fabric perfectly.
Christine Haynes is known for her sweet vintage-style dresses, so it’s no surprise she has a few great possibilities for quilting cotton. These include the Varda dress and the Sylvie dress (I really like the look of this one).
I’ve seen garments made from Australian Tessuti Fabrics patterns now and again in my blog feed and they always look very polished. Brigitte was kind enough to comment below that she’s made a fab pair of Demi pants with quilting cotton, so I checked Tessuti out and there are TONS of suitable patterns – I had no idea. Their style is quite simple, sometimes boxy and voluminous, which matches the substrate rather well. Thanks Brigitte!
As well as the aforementioned Demi Pant, there’s also the Bondi Dress, the Tamiko Pant (make sure your cotton isn’t too stiff for this one), the Bella Dress, the boxy Leni Top (great neckline), the Jane Dress, the Annie dress, the Margot Pant… guys I have to stop here or it will become its own post, but go check out the website if you like their style – there are loads more.
100 Acts of Sewing
Another suggestion in the comments, it was Susan who mentioned that many of the 100 Acts of Sewing from Sonya Philips patterns are made to showcase fabrics like quilting cotton. They definitely have a simplistic, almost naïve, design aesthetic, but that, in turn, does make them perfect for this fabric. There are some really nice examples of versions people have made on the net, so I recommend having a surf around if you’re intrigued.
Deer & Doe
This French indie is very popular with sewists worldwide and with good reason. Their drafting is great and their styles have that je ne sais quoi many of us look for in a pattern.
Both Margot and best detective left comments to recommend the Chardon skirt, the Datura blouse and the Belladone dress. I already have this last pattern, so I think that’s another addition to my list!
SBCC make patterns for petite and petite plus bodies and Bonnie left a comment to say she’d had good success with their Paloma blouse. Thanks Bonnie!
I love the Finnish Named and their patterns, but didn’t find too many that I thought would work with quilting cotton. But, as it happens, swarmofchickadees has had success with the Helmi blouse/tunicdress and she’s made many a lovely version!
Margot, who has used quilting cotton for a number of Deer & Doe makes above, also let us know she’s found the Megan Nielsen Eucalypt tank top and dress works well with quilting cotton and that she’s about to try the Brumby skirt, which does looks like a contender. Which version of the Brumby probably depends on your cotton thickness.
Pauline Alice patterns
I remembered about Pauline Alice after I published the first round of these patterns and quickly checked her page out. She’s a French designer living in Spain who designs lots of really cute feminine patterns with a slight retro feel and… she has quite a few that are suitable for quilting cotton. Yay!
They comprise: the Turia dungarees, the Safor skirt, the Malvarosa dress, the Mirambell skirt, the Faura shirt and the Rosari skirt. There may even be more, but these ones specifically mention medium-weight cotton as a recommended fabric.
Kira let me know that she had success with the not one, but three Cambie dresses – particularly since they’re fully lined. Such a cute dress!
Anna Maria Horner
I wasn’t familiar with Anna Maria Horner’s patterns before Julie mentioned her Painted Portrait dress below, but it’s a great suggestion for quilting cotton – and particularly smaller pieces. Julie has also kindly linked to some tutorials in the comments if this one strikes your fancy.
Okay, I guess that’s enough to be getting on with! I hope this list gives you a few ideas for your own beautiful stack of quilting cotton garments and, as I said at the beginning, if you’ve had your own successes with the substrate or know of any other great patterns I’m missing, do let me know in the comments!