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Choosing the right fabric: Rue


Shopping for fabrics for your next big project is arguably the best part of sewing. Of course, we’ve got to talk fabric and supplies for Rue! This delightful little number is especially fun to talk about because it is so versatile and can be made in such variety of fabrics.

Choosing Your Fabric

For versions 1 and 2, choose a medium weight woven fabric. It is important to find a fabric with a good balance between structured and light. Fabrics that are too heavy will lay stiff and awkwardly from the form, but fabrics that are too light may lack the needed structure for the bodice shaping.

Medium weight is a broad term for all sorts of fabrics and Rue is designed to accommodate that spectrum. For instance, flannel will have a much different drape than a shirting. Both of these fabrics are a great choice for Rue and in the fitting post in the Rue Sewlong, we will discuss tips for using differing weights of fabrics.


Rue features some very distinct style lines on the bodice; keep this in mind when choosing fabrics. If your fabric’s design is really busy the style lines may get lost. If that’s what you’re going for, that’s great, but if not, you can opt for piping the style lines to bring more attention to them.


Your lining choice will depend on which fabric you choose as an outer fabric. I always go for what I love and know, cotton voiles and lawns. Both of these substrates offer breathability and are soft on the skin. I’ve noticed that when I’ve lined dresses in synthetics, I get uncomfortable once I’ve been in the dress for a few hours, i.e. I get sweaty. If you do choose to use a synthetic, make sure it’s a nice quality.

Counteracting your lining weight with your main fabric weight can sometimes be handy. For instance, if your main fabric is a flannel or wool, try lining with a silk in order to avoid adding unnecessary bulk to your Rue.

One of my favorite things about a lined garment is finding the perfect pair of outer fabric and lining. Even if no one else will see my lining, I know it looks so good, inside and out!

Fabric Options

Rue has a very classic shape that can be worn in the office or out on date night. I like to think of an occasion that I’ll be wearing my garment to before I go fabric shopping. It reins me in a bit and keeps me from making duplicates in my wardrobe.

Here are a few pairings of outer and lining fabrics that could make great Rues for different occasions.



1. Metallic Blue and Green Floral Brocade paired with Estate Blue China Silk/Habotai from Mood Fabrics.

2. Manchester Metallic paired with Twist Cambric from M is for Make in the U.K.



1. Essex Yarn Dyed Linen paired with a Italian Floral Cotton Lawn, Blue from Hart’s Fabric.

2. Robert Kaufman Shetland Flannel paired with Cotton + Steel’s Hana Rayon from The Confident Stitch.

Weekend Farmer’s Market


1. Tuscany Pinstripe Chambray Linen paired with a Cotton Voile Solid from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics.

2. Seven Island Citrus Multi paired with Cotton+Steel’s Solid Lawn from Fancy Tiger Crafts.

A More Few Fabric Options

Outer Fabrics


1. Kokka, Tsumiki Border from The Cloth Pocket in Austin, TX.
2. Red Stripe Seersucker from Fabric Depot in Portland, OR.
3. Merchant & Mills Augusta Classic Check Wool Flannel from Stitch 56 in Australia.
4. Cotton+Steel Banbana Grass, quilting cotton from Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, CO.
5. Sevenberry Indigos Crosses from Backstitch in the UK.
6. Nani Iro, ‘Komorebi – Sunshine Filtering through Foliage’ from The Drapery in Australia.
7. Cotton+Steel Space Thistles, double cotton gauze from Hawthorne Threads from Red Hook, NY.
8. Jennifer Sampou Shimmer 2 Floral Fabric, from

Lining Fabrics


1. Unicorn Poly Crepe from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, CA.
2. Robert Kaufman London Calling, Lawn Flowers & Leaves Autumn from
3. Charley Harper Nurture Feathers Organic Voile from Harts Fabrics in Santa Cruz, CA.
4. Cotton+Steel Playful, Pink Vintage Floral Lawn from The Workroom in Canada.
5. Bemberg Rayon Lining from Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, CA.
6. Moonstruck China Silk/Habotai from
7. Rayon Voile from Harts Fabrics in Santa Cruz, CA.
8. Polycotton Lining from Ray-Stitch in the UK

Rue Sewalong Fabric Choices


I will be making Version 1 of Rue with Tapestry Black from Cotton+Steel. This fabric is from their new Les Fleurs Collection by Rifle Paper Co. I’m pairing it with a Cotton+Steel solid lawn in Indigo.

For Version 2, for my main fabric, I choose Rosa in Peach, also from the Les Fleurs Collection. I’m pairing it with a Cotton+Steel solid lawn in Peach.

I will be cutting the Side Front Bodice in a contrasting fabric, Shot Cotton in Tobacco. My hope is to counteract the cutesy-ness of the floral print by mixing in this bold neutral.

Want to learn more? Join the Sewalong!

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Join the Sewalong coming soon to! You can follow along on the web, or sign up there to get lessons delivered by email.

Katie Whittle


Katie teaches new skills through in-depth tutorials, sewalongs, and articles for Seamwork Magazine and The Colette Blog. She's all about encouraging sewers to try new techniques and create a personalized wardrobe that makes them feel great!



September 13, 2016 #

I’m relieved to see that RK Shetland flannel in your fabric suggestions – I was wanting to use that and afraid that it would be too bulky. Thank you!


September 13, 2016 #

The flannel would work splendidly! I would recommend using a lighter lining to counteract the bulk from the flannel.


September 13, 2016 #

I’m so excited!! I bought a gorgeous seersucker in France about 8 years ago with a stripe that I’ve been torn as to what to make ever since. This is just perfect. Can’t wait. Eeeeeeeeeek


September 14, 2016 #

considering the directional print on the Les Fleurs fabric, have you bought additional yardage? Are you planning on using the directionality as a design feature?


September 14, 2016 #

You mention on pattern double gauze is ok, what would be a suitable lining fabric?


September 14, 2016 #

Hello Ninon! I would suggest a lining with a bit more structure, such as a cotton lawn, rather than a silk. I would interface the main fabric’s side front bodice pieces to keep them from stretching but there is no need to interface all your pieces.


September 14, 2016 #

Would using a red velvet for the center bodice be crazy? I’ve never used velvet so I am really unsure!


September 14, 2016 #

Silk is a great lining fabric for cotton flannel, but if you’re going to use it on wool, be aware: Silk + wool + cold, dry weather = static electricity.
Working in an office in Yakima WA one winter – I wore a silk blouse and (unlined, so it contacted the blouse) wool skirt, and got sparks off the photocopier. It had been acting up for weeks and that day decided to run properly, so a couple of us decided I had shocked it into compliance, but still. Not fun.


September 14, 2016 #

Oh no Sandy! Thank you for your insider tip!


September 14, 2016 #

Question the needles that are recommended? It says an 80/10. I can only find 80/12. Is that one ok?


September 14, 2016 #

Hey Courtney! Your needle selection depends on your fabric. We recommend using a size 80 needle for mid-weight fabrics. Your comment just brought a typo to our attention, on the pattern it should read 80/12 not 80/10. We will fix this problem as soon as possible.

Donna B.

September 14, 2016 #

Hesitant to use 100% cotton (“quilting cottons”) for clothing. Don’t cottons come out of the dryer all rumpled and unwearable without ironing? They used to, back in the day. I don’t want to have to iron anything so I search out poly/cottons. There are so many pretty or fun “quilting cottons” I’d be happy to use for dresses and skirts (love your choice of the Cotton + Steel print) if I knew they would be wearable right out of the dryer. What is your experience with today’s cottons? I’d be happy to hear what everyone else has to say about cotton fabric. Thanks. –Donna B.


September 15, 2016 #

I used a bemberg rayon lining under suiting fabric for a cool weather version of Rue. I really like the crispness and wash ability.


September 17, 2016 #

I found a really pretty corduroy floral at Jo-Ann fabrics. I quilt and I’ve made Halloween costumes for my son, but I’ve never attempted making anything for myself. I’m a bit nervous! Because the corduroy is 100% cotton, I chose a 100% cotton sateen. The sateen almost seems a little heavier weight than the corduroy.

I’m so new at this and choosing fabrics for clothing. Does this sound like it will work?

Thank you.