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Fabric for Summer Pants

My white Eureka! Pants and a Tabula Rasa Tee
My white Eureka! Pants and a Tabula Rasa Tee.  Just looks like summer!

What are some good sources for pants fabric?  This question came from one of you and it seemed timely to think about summer pants fabric in particular.  Summer is fast approaching here in the northeast, so light weight pants are on my mind.

I feel fortunate that I do not have to dress professionally on a daily basis and even more so in the summer.  Summer pants tend to require more regular cleaning so washable fabrics are ideal, though often not office appropriate.

My favorite summer pants, which can be dressed up or down, are made with cotton birds eye pique (preferably with a little spandex woven in).  I have pique Eureka’s in black, navy, and tan.  Whenever I see good quality pique that is sturdy enough for pants, I buy enough for 2 pairs.20160531_111138 (450x800)

Cotton sateen is also a good choice for summer pants.  You can find these fabrics in a lot of colors and in colorful prints, usually with a bit of stretch in the weave.

Sateen selection at A Fabric Place.
A sampling of the Sateen selection at A Fabric Place.

Cotton or cotton blend poplin and seersucker have been stitched into summer pants forever.  Linen is also a tried and true choice for summer pants if you don’t mind looking a little rumpled!  Some linen blends or linen look-alikes are less wrinkly, but if they are polyester they will be less breathable.  They make me hot.

Monica in her faced pants with Elastic inserted in the back.
Monica in her faced pants with Elastic inserted in the back, very professional!

The trend for wider leg pants allows you to make pants in drapey solids and prints.  Rayon is a wonderful choice and comes in interesting prints and batik dyes.  Next month we will offer tips on widening your Eureka! Pants legs to achieve this fashionable look.

When I reflect on the pants I have worn out over the years, cotton lawn prints, cotton chambray or light weight denim, and crinkly cotton gauze can be added to the list.

We are fortunate to have A Fabric Place nearby where there is always a fine selection of pants fabric.  A Fabric Place also has an online store, called Michael’s Fabrics.   Call them at 410 828 6777 and they will create a swatch set of great summer pants fabrics just for you.  Tell them your color and fabric choices for a complimentary swatch set.

More great pants fabric at A Fabric Place.

Big box sewing stores like Jo Ann’s often have fabric that works well for summer pants; you just have to look carefully.  Jo Ann’s seasonal collections this year feature some fun printed cotton sateen and rayon.  Check the bottom weight and linen sections for solid colors and drape the fabric in front of you to check for opacity and drape.

Another online fabric source we like is Sawyer Brook.  The Sawyer Brook website has a nice feature, draping the fabric on dress forms so you can better assess its nature.  For a small fee you can receive regular swatches in the mail.  Their fabrics are always good quality and many are office appropriate.

If you want rayon summer pants, Sew Batik has a nice online store with terrific garment weight rayon in prints and mottled solids.

photo pants pocket last one
Cotton sateen pants with summer pockets

Make sure your pants fabrics are woven densely enough that you can’t see through them, or consider underlining your summer pants in cotton batiste or broadcloth.  See our previous Sew! Let’s Get Dressed posts on white pants and underlining pants for additional tips.

Once you have acquired some fabric, prewash it before you cut and sew.  Consider adding some fun summer details.  Shorten the length of your Eureka’s for a cropped look.  Read last year’s blog posts on adding a slit if you wish.  Carrie is thinking about making shorts with her Eureka pattern.  Stay tuned for the results of that experiment.

Close up of the slit in the green linen pants.
Close up of the slit in the green linen pants.

What summer pants have you made that you love?  Where do you get your fabrics?   Share your sources and photos of your pants with us and we will post them to Facebook.  You can see how I use pants in my wardrobe by checking out all my Me Made May photos on Instagram, or be inspired with new pants styles on my Pants Trends board on Pinterest.

If you are entering the Pattern Review Pants Contest with pants made from the Eureka! Pants that Fit pattern, don’t forget to send us a link to your entry to get your free gift of a Eureka! Details pattern.  Be sure to tell us whether you prefer Sporty Details or Trouser Details.  We hope to be hearing from lots of you in the next couple days as the contest wraps up!

Happy Sewing, RAE

P.S.  We are letting you in on a secret.  The first Sew! Let’s Get Dressed Retreat will be held here in Baltimore August 22-27.  We are still finalizing the details, but if you are interested in moving your Fit for Art wardrobe to the next level, plan to come sew with us for 2 or more days.  Carrie and I will be by your side each day to help with fitting, variations, design ideas and more.  Fun trips for fabric shopping will also be included.

Rae conferring with Jane at a pattern testing event in 2014.
Rae conferring with Jane at a pattern testing event in 2014.


4 thoughts on “Fabric for Summer Pants

  1. Rae, You couldn’t have been more on-time. I NEED summer pants and have my Eureka pattern almost completely fit correctly. Wonderful article that I am going to take with me to the fabric store. Thank you!!

  2. Great post. I see on Michaels website that the cotton pique is “dry clean only.” Do you wash yours?

    1. Yes, I do wash mine. But I pre wash it before I cut and sew. RAE

  3. I just used a cotton/linen blend which I repurposed from thrift store curtains that I bought to use for mock-ups. They might become my some of my favorite casual summer pants.

    I entered them in the Pattern Review Pants contest at

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