Easy fabrics to sew are great for beginners AND experienced sewists alike. Forgiving fabric makes just about any sewing technique more pleasant, and sewing with "easy" fabric usually is faster and more accurate (vs. tricky material). If you want to better understand why forgiving fabrics are so great, what makes a fabric forgiving, and which fabrics fall into the "easy to sew" camp, this post is for you.

Easy fabrics to sew are great for beginners AND experienced sewists alike. Forgiving fabric makes just about any sewing technique more pleasant, and sewing with “easy” fabric usually is faster and more accurate (vs. tricky material).

In short, you can build up your confidence with easy fabrics to sew, because your me-made garments turn out better!

If you want to better understand why forgiving fabrics are so great, what makes a fabric forgiving, and which fabrics fall into the “easy to sew” camp, this post is for you.

The Merits of Easy Fabrics to Sew

What’s the point of hitting the easy button when it comes to fabric selection? Well, let me tell you a thing or three about why you should reach for easy fabrics to sew.

1.) You’ll have a better sewing experience.

Sewing is hard, y’all. It’s not a practice for the easily discouraged. Why not make one factor (the fabric) predictable and a joy to employ? Easy-to-use fabric is important to beginner sewists, who need to build confidence with successes. Forgiving fabrics are step No. 1 to sewing success.

2.) You’ll spend less money.

Floaty, slippery silk is expensive and hard to work with. To compare, many easy-to-sew fabrics — cotton, linen — are budget friendly. Hey, if your sewing project made of (less expensive) forgiving fabric goes sideways, you’re not out a lot of cash.

3.) You’ll sew a better product.

Fabrics that are easier to work with go a long way toward a higher-quality finished garment. That’s because techniques are easier to execute and get right. Successful sewing techniques lead to successful sewing projects, which lead to a mega sewing confidence boost. 🤘💪👊🎇

What Makes a Fabric Easy to Work With?

Upon reflection, I ID’d the following as characteristics of fabrics that are easy to sew:

1.) Not too thin or thick

Thin fabrics are easy to overhandle, which can stretch them out. Thick fabrics call for more care while stitching, because you’re more likely to have skipped stitches and difficulty maneuvering pattern pieces under the presser foot and needle.

2.) Zero or minimal stretching

Take it from me. It’s SUPER easy to overstretch stretch fabrics during sewing. It takes time to build an instinct for how to handle stretch fabric while sewing, knowing when to pull and when to let the foot and feed dogs do their thing. Plus, if you botch a seam when sewing stretch fabric, there’s a greater risk of damaging (specifically misshaping) the fabric when you unpick stitches.

3.) No extraordinary presser feet necessary

If, as you research how to sew a fabric, you find suggestions for using a specialty presser foot — non-stick, walking, etc. — the fabric *might* be finicky to work with (or at least too finicky for an all-purpose foot). Pause and ask yourself, “Is buying a new presser foot or switching between presser feet going to be worth it?” It’s a personal question whose answer is based on your skill level and commitment to your project vision. (For me, dragging out all my fancy presser feet is kind of a drag.)

These Fabrics Play Nice: Top Picks for Easy Fabrics to Sew

Along with a little chat about each forgiving fabric, I’ve shared Sie Macht posts that feature the fabric as a garment. Enjoy!

Cotton Lawn

Silky cotton lawn is an easy fabric to sew - and one of MY favorite fabrics to wear.

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The hand of cotton lawn is crisp and smooth. In my mind, sewing with cotton lawn feels sort of like sewing with high-quality quilting cotton — except cotton lawn feels like it’s for apparel and quilting cotton feels like it’s for home dec. Cotton is a natural fiber and presses beautifully. Read: By Hand London Anna Dress: A Liberty-Feathered Frock

Shirting

Classic shirting is an easy fabric to cut, sew, and press.

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Shirting (usually a cotton or cotton blend) is less smooth than lawn, which makes it ever-so-slightly easier to handle because of added friction. Shirting seams don’t get bulky under the needle and presser foot, and it’s a breeze to cut pattern pieces from shirting.

Chambray

Chambray is a forgiving fabric to sew, and it's very on trend.

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I’d say chambray (think lightweight denim shirt fabric) provides even more friction than shirting (correct me in comments if you feel otherwise). Chambray usually is made from natural fibers and is easy to press. Plus, it’s one of those fabrics that gets softer with wear. And I fight anyone who doesn’t understand the awesome utility of a chambray/denim shirt.

Flannel

This collection of easy fabrics to sew includes snuggly flannel, whose surface ensure it doesn't slip away from sewists.

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You know what I love about flannel (besides wearing it)? Flannel pattern pieces stick together! Remember flannel storyboards at the library when you were a kid? Yep, same principle. The grippiness makes it easy to handle. Read: Timber! The Lumberjill Dress: Darling Ranges in Flannel

Linen

Linen is one of the easiest fabrics to sew. Its texture is mildly grippy, and it presses extremely well.

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Ah, linen! You gorgeous natural fiber, you! Linen presses like a dream; get that iron nice ‘n’ steamy for it. Pattern pieces in linen often stick together, which means there’s often less pinning when you sew with linen (especially if there are a lot of straight seams). Read: A Modern Darling Ranges Shirt Dress: Megan Nielsen Pattern Review

Ponte Knit

Despite being a knit, ponte is among this collection of easy fabrics to sew. It's very stable.

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Ponte knit is a stable double knit that usually beefier than your average T-shirt material. Its edges don’t roll like it’s cousin, jersey knit. Ponte is a great way to dip your toe into the world of sewing with knits. Read: Colette Mabel: Quality Time with My Seam Ripper

Lyocell (Tencel trademark)

Lyocell, whose trademark is Tencel, is a drapey woven fabric that's pretty darn easy to sew.

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Lyocell is a type of rayon. In my experience, it’s drapey like rayon but heavier and easier to maneuver under the needle. It’s got that rayon silkiness but it doesn’t wander all over the place. Read: Va-va-va-volume in Victory Patterns Esther Pants

Scuba Knit

Scuba knit is an easy fabric to sew, especially if you're a beginner sewist.

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Scuba knit is stretchy, but usually only when you really pull on it. It’s lighter than ponte knit, and it tends to be a bit more slippery. Like ponte, scuba tends to be heavier than your average T-shirt fabric, which makes it easier to handle. P.S. Scuba can look really cool with raw hems (which potentially means less work for you). Read: Victory Patterns Jackie dress: Diving into scuba knit

Over to you, dear readers: What is your fave easy fabric to sew? Are there any fabrics in this list to which you object? Please sound off in comments! Thanks!

P.S. If you need more fabric talk, I got you:

Go Fabric Shopping with Me! | Vogue Fabrics [VIDEO]
Cutting Slippery Fabric: How I Learned the Hard Way
Amazon Tricks for Fabric Shopping: The Ultimate Guide for Sewists
How to Choose Fabric: A Crash Course in Fashion Textiles

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