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Choosing the right fabric: Peony


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The Peony dress is such a fun, simple pattern! You can make so many different color variations and add embellishments to it. Next week we’ll be showing you some really neat things you can do to make the dress extra special. But before all that, let’s talk about choosing the right fabric to get you started.

fabric drape

A light to medium weight fabric works best for the Peony dress. We talked a little bit about drape when choosing fabric for the Jasmine blouse here. Use a lightweight fabric if you want your dress to be quite drapey. The skirt will have more structure and stick out a bit with a medium weight fabric. The choice is up to you! Both drapes look good, it’s simply a matter of what you want.

types of fabric

We used wool crepe and plain weave silk for the fall photo shoot. They are both very similar in weights. Because the wool was lined, it had some extra boost in the skirt. While the pattern doesn’t show you how to fully line a dress, you can read about how to do so in this excellent book, Easy Guide to Sewing Linings by Connie Long. Nice cotton flannel, wool gabardine, wool crepe and wool challis are some great fall/winter fabrics. You’ll need to line these fabrics because wool is itchy and flannel will stick to your legs without a lining. Other than perennial favorites, rayon and silk, for a more year-round fabric choice, look at cotton blends such as cotton/silk, cotton/rayon, or cotton/wool. So many fabrics will work with this pattern, it’s hard to narrow it down!


  • find a fun vintage rayon print on sites such as Etsy
  • color block with a different color skirt, bodice and belt
  • match the pocket lining with the belt
  • make the cap sleeves in chiffon with a matching chiffon belt

If you’re planning on making the dress, we’d love to hear about your fabric choice in the comments. Do you have any fun ideas for the dress?

Some related posts you may be interested in:

Caitlin Clark   —  

Caitlin is the Colette Patterns design assistant. You can follow Caitlin at her blog, the story girl.

Comments 14


This one is def in my fall challenge. I bought a pink cotton from art gallery that coordinates perfectly with my daughter’s first birthday dress. Ideally I would love a silk cotton blend, but I simply don’t have access to “real” apparel fabric shops and trying to match colors online was too difficult and too time consuming. (plus silk + small children aren’t the greatest fit.) I think this will work very well and I can’t wait to get started!

Sewing Princess

Thanks for the book on lining…I am currently going crazy with lining the vent on this skirt


I actually started sewing this yesterday in a lightweight purple linen! As I was starting to put it together, I realized the cut of the top reminded me of one of my favorite cotton jersey shirts. Do you think this pattern would work in a knit?


Hi Leslie, that’s a tricky one. I think that you could use a double-knit fabric with this pattern because it isn’t as stretchy as a regular knit. It might be a bit bulky with the gathers and the darts, though. It’s difficult to switch patterns meant for wovens to knits because they are created differently. You may have to make the pattern smaller if you use a knit. Let us know what happens if you try it out!


I actually just finished sewing the Peony dress yesterday! I made it in a Sunflower Yellow Kona Cotton as part of my Fall Palette challenge. I made a yellow belt for now, but plan to find some chocolate brown fabric and make a different belt for a nice contrast (the yellow needs it). This dress came together so nicely! I plan to take pictures tonight after work for the challenge thread and my own blog.

I also bought a Black Pique and plan to make another already! Thanks for the book on lining I think that is the one thing I would change about the previous version instead of using the tacked down facing on the bodice I would just line the bodice area.


i thought about using kona cotton for the peony dress but thought it may be too stiff. if it works out i may use it too as i’m having trouble finding reasonably priced gabardine in the color(s) i want (plum or eggplant).i’m looking forward to seeing your dress.


Sarai, I have a question regarding the finished garment measurements found on the site. I was curious as to the finished length of the dress. The finished length states 25″ for size 16. Is that the finished size for the skirt or bodice portion of the dress? Do you have a full finished dress length I could see?

Thank you,



Can’t wait to make this dress – thanks for the fabric info and for the recommendation for that lining book! My patterns arrived yesterday – hmmmm….


Hi Sarai,
Peony dress is interesting! I like this pattern!


I just got my pattern for this dress in the mail! Can’t wait to get started.
I am planning on working on it next weekend. However, for the fabric I have selected a lovely wool blend in a pretty gray color. Thinking of black belt for contrast. The wool has a bit of a stretch to it though. So hopefully it all works out ok.
I’ll let you know how the strech works. :)

Love the classic lines of this dress. Reminds me of Audrey Hepburn.


I love the peony but I’ve been wondering what it will be like to move around in the longer sleeved version. I’m not used to woven dresses with a fitted bodice and long sleeves. Is it hard/does the fabric move in strange ways when you do things like, hold your arms forward, or above your head?

(Sorry for the weird question. I really don’t know this!)


I cut this and Jasmine out on Saturday night, but haven’t started sewing Peony yet. I bought black cotton poplin from Denver Fabrics, thinking the poplin would be a bit stiffer–I wouldn’t say I was disappointed when it arrived, but it took some creativity to figure out how I would make a non-transparent dress! I’m doubling the thickness of the bodice fabric and figure I’ll wear a slip so no one sees my undies. Hopefully it turns out well–I’m really excited to make it and wear it, especially with a cardigan and one of the million pairs of tights I bought this weekend! (Fall, where are you?)


Would cotton sateen with a little lycra work for this dress? I have been considering the following…

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