Tropical Wool Suitings
by Shannon Gifford
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  • WTropical Wool Suitings

    If you are looking to make a classic, trans-seasonal garment which will last for years, choose a tropical wool suiting as your fabric. This fabric is light in weight, and behaves beautifully while sewing. Tropical wool is timeless and elegant, and very easy to sew. Some modern wool suitings are blended with lycra for comfort. Because of its stability, it is a good beginning sewing choice. Because of how it performs, it is a favorite choice of advanced sewists, as well.


    Dry cleaning is recommended for wool suitings. If you must machine wash, use a delicate cycle and lay flat to dry.

    Needles and Thread:

    Size 75/11 universal needles work very well in tropical wool. Use cotton, cotton/polyester, all polyester, or silk thread.

    Seams, Seam Finishes, and Hems:

    Straight seams, 2.5 length, are excellent seams in this fabric Hems can be done by hand or by machine, using either a topstitching hem or a blind hem. Seam finishes can be accomplished with a 3-thread balanced serger stitch, or by zigzagging over the edge of the seam allowance. You may also choose to bind the seam allowances with rayon seam tape or bias strips of thin fabric. Of course, if your garment is lined, seam finishes will not be necessary.


    Your interfacing choice will be determined by the type of garment and the positioning of the interfacing. A weft-insertion interfacing is an excellent choice for a classic, tailored jacket. For a softer, lighter feel, use so-sheer or Touch of Gold. For a sew in interfacing, use silk organza, washed cotton batiste, or hair canvas, depending on the location in the garment.

    Pattern Suggestions:

    Tailored garments such as jackets, suits, pants, skirts, classic sheath dresses. Some creative, avante-garde type patterns will work well in these fabrics. Check the envelope for 'wool suitings' as a recommended fabric.

    Creative possibilities:

    Embroidery on wool suiting adds a feminine touch to wool suitings. Choose a tone-on-tone design for a subtle touch, or use an array of bright colors for a bohemian look. Or add a soft bit of color by stitching contrast lines of top-stitching across the fabric. Wool suitings will often have interesting selvedges which can be used as trim.

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