We are excited to be partnering with our BFF, Cotton+Steel for a fun and informative Substrate Series. Devon, who you might recognize from our Sewalongs, will be teaching you all about how these fabrics are made and what’s so great about them over at the Cotton+Steel Blog. On the Colette side of things, we will be sharing our techniques for sewing these fabrics and which patterns work well with them and why.
What’s a substrate you ask? A substrate is a material that underlies something else. In the fabric industry, it refers to the type of fabric in which a specific design is applied. This term is closely related to fiber, but even more specific and applies to weave, weight, and fabric construction as well.
Today’s featured substrate is double gauze.
Oh, double gauze! This snuggly, dreamy fabric is one of our favorites at Colette, and Cotton+Steel’s collection of designs are just too good to handle. Double gauze used to be hard to get your hands on, but these days this gorgeous substrate is in quilt and fabric shops all over!
Double gauze is a soft, lightweight, and slightly airy fabric. It’s made from two thin and loosely woven layers of cotton that are basted together every ⅜” or so. These stitches form a subtle grid over the entire fabric that can hardly be seen from the right side. Because there are two layers woven together, the fabric has a nice weight and feels substantial. Double gauze makes beautiful blouses, dresses, skirts, and the coziest loungewear.
Taylor’s Crepe is sewn up in a double cotton gauze from the Rotary Club collection by Kimberly Kight, Space Thistles in Blue.
It’s always a good idea to prewash your fabrics in the way you intend to wash them after your garment is constructed. Cotton+Steel recommends that double gauze be machine washed cold and dried cool or hung to dry.
This is the amount of shrinkage that occurred on a 5″ square of double gauze after washing cold and drying cool.
Gauze loves steam! Your iron’s heat should be at the cotton setting (medium) and there is no need to use a press cloth!
Surprisingly, the two layers of basted together gauze don’t slip and slide too much when cutting. Like always, use a nice and sharp rotary blade. Mark your notches with a water soluble pen or chalk instead of clipping them. A clipped notch may get lost in the loose weave of the fabric.
Basting stitches and tailor’s tacks are our favorite ways to mark double gauze. The supple weight of the double gauze holds the tacks in place and with thread marking there’s no fear of the marks not coming out.
An iron-on lightweight interfacing that feels similar to the weight of the double gauze and matches the dominant color of your fabric. On the Crepe, we used a tricot fusible interfacing, that had a bit of stretch to it that allowed the fabric to still have movement. You may also use sew-in interfacing if that’s your thing, but keep in mind that you’ll be adding a third layer of fabric into the mix.
Double gauze is on the heavier end of the lightweight fabric spectrum, a polyester or cotton 50wt thread, will work best.
You should choose your needle size based on the type and weight of thread that is being used, as well as the fabric that is being sewn. A 70/10 or 90/11 needle will pair well with the 50wt thread and the fabric’s weave. Make sure to use a brand new needle, a dull needle will snag your fabric and cause runs.
Double gauze has a tendency to unravel, finish seams with a serger or french seams when possible. Flat felled seams are a great solution if you are worried about the fabric warping. This seam will add some stability and structure while also hiding those pesky raw edges.
If you are going to be finishing with a zig-zag, using a 3-step zig-zag instead of a 2-step will give you seam finish a bit more umph!
A 1/2 “ then 1” hem will give the double gauze the room it needs and keep those edges from fraying. A rolled hem, by machine or serger are too fine for the loose weave of double gauze.
When choosing patterns for double gauze, styles with some volume and a fair amount of ease work well. Structured patterns can work, but the inherent qualities of the double gauze will make them look more relaxed and casual.
The Crepe dress is the perfect dress for double gauze. Double gauze is malleable and this dress is a curve-hugger with ample ease. The wrap of the dress takes advantage of the slight stretch of the fabric and the weight of the double gauze adds structure to the fullness of the skirt.
Instead of struggling to get perfectly crisp darts from this slightly shifty fabric, try choosing a garment that is shaped with gathers, like Dahlia. In this dress, the bust and skirt are shaped with soft and cooperative gathers rather than pesky seam lines.
Also, the use of double gauze in an unlined garment will be silky smooth against the skin while being thick enough to hide unwanted lines. Hazel is an unlined dress with a gathered skirt and a flattering V-seamed bodice that lets you play with color blocking and border prints.
Both of these dresses have a nice body grazing silhouette that is neither too tight or too structured.
- Fine glass head pins will be your best friend when sewing with double gauze. Because you are pinning through two layers of loosely woven fabric, there is more danger of snagging. The fine pins will wiggle their way easily through the layers. Glass head rather than plastic is always our preference. Plastic melts, glass doesn’t. Safe sewing is happy sewing!
- A walking foot will help you evenly feed the layers through your machine.
- I know we sometimes ignore it, I’m guilty too, but stay-stitching is a must when working with double gauze. Necklines, armscyes, and waistlines will stretch and you should staystitch these curves immediately after cutting them.
Make sure to hop on over to the Cotton+Steel blog today to learn more about this fabric substrate and their production process.
To celebrate our collaboration with Cotton+Steel, from now until July 29th at Midnight, PST, the Colette patterns featured in this substrate series are 15% off.
No promo code needed.
Stay tuned as we dive into some more Cotton+Steel substrates in the next couple of weeks!