Yesterday, I wore this dress. I made it a few years ago; this is actually a terrible photo of me in it from 2007, hence the short hair. I don’t really wear it much because I prefer brown in small doses. But pulling it on made me realize that I really really need to sew with seersucker more often.
The striped fabric for this dress was cut on the bias, and the stripes were then matched at the center seams to form chevrons, which are quite flattering. Chevrons that point upward also have the advantage of drawing the eye toward the face, which is always nice. And the bias cut eliminates any need for closures (other than that top button at the neck, of course).
But what really makes this dress shine is the seersucker fabric. It is so comfortable, light, and airy. The slight sponginess of the fabric makes it incredibly comfortable, and the cotton makes it easy to wear and easy to clean. Not only that, but the natural wrinkles make it a good choice for travel (though it still may need a steaming from time to time). What could be more perfect for summer?
Seersucker is a light cotton fabric woven in such a way that crinkles develop throughout. It’s often made in stripes and plaids, but all sorts of patterns exist. Originating in western India, it became popular more recently during Britain’s colonial period. In the US, it is often associated with southern menswear due to its popularity in the hot and humid summers there. In fact, I just learned that the US Senate actually holds an event called Seersucker Thursday in June, in which seantors don the light fabric.
So, in honor of my renewed love for seersucker, I thought I’d share some lovely fabric choices with you all.
These traditional seersuckers above are from Denver Fabrics and are all under $5 a yard.
This vintage transportation themed print is adorable.
Lovely sailboats in a fresh print.
A very springtimey floral.
This pretty Japanese seersucker is on sale and comes in a couple colorways.
The seller of this fun print says that it is travel themed, but to me it appears to be traffic cop themed. Weird, but cute.
Generally, seersucker is pretty easy to sew and doesn’t require special treatment. Because it’s a cotton, you should certainly prewash for shrinkage.
The only really tricky part is pressing. If your fabric is a real, true seersucker, then that crinkly texture comes from the way that it is woven: threads pull in such a way that the fabric wrinkles. So even if you press a seam and it loses its texture, the crinkles will return once it’s been washed and dried.
But there may be some fabrics that are not “true” seersuckers, and have been artificially crinkled through other means. these can lose their texture when pressed, so it’s best to test this out on a swatch before you sew. To be safe, you may want to use a light touch when pressing, and just use the tip of the iron on your seams.