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4 Lessons I Learned about Sewing with Seawool

Fielder Dress out of Seawool
My Merchant & Mills Fielder Dress out of Seawool keeping me warm on a winter’s day.

I have a new favorite fabric. Its name? Seawool! 

The Discovery

A few weeks ago, I decided to film a Ribbed Neckline Tutorial using the M&M Fielder Dress pattern. I needed to pick a woven fabric to complement the precut ribbing I intended to use, so – on a whim – I selected the Black colorway of the uniquely named ‘Seawool Melton‘, just in from Robert Kaufman.

I have two beautiful daughters, a husband, and and amazing fabric store, so to say that choosing this fabric for my Fielder was the best decision I ever made would be an overstatement – but only by a little bit!

Why 'Seawool'?

An environmental home run by Robert Kaufman, Seawool is made from post-consumer oyster shells (hence the ‘sea’). After being crushed, the shells are mixed with plastic (PET) from recycled water bottles and spun into a yarn that is naturally anti-static, anti-odor, anti-bacterial, and quick-drying!  On paper, this fabric sounds less-than cozy, but in reality it is SO soft and incredibly warm! What’s more, it’s two-toned, so there’s also a fun option to color-block when sewing with this fabric.

The only drawback is it doesn’t come in enough colors! Here are the three colors Robert Kaufman currently manufactures:

You better believe we carry them all! In addition, we took the leap and purchased a few Seawool Flannels, which are made in the same manner as the Meltons.

4 Sewing with Seawool Lessons

When sewing my Fielder, I discovered four important things about this awesome fabric: 

  1. It can be washed and dryed by machine on warm. It doesn’t shrink at all. Plus, it gets softer and fluffier with every wash and dry cycle!
  2. You should iron it on a medium (wool) setting. I tried a hotter iron, and the fabric got a little shiny (the shine went away after the fabric cooled). I switched to a lower setting and used a press cloth to protect it from direct heat, and the problem went away. 
  3. Seawool is a woven fabric with absolutely no stretch along the lengthwise or crosswise grains. It does stretch a little along the bias. Most wovens stretch some along the crosswise grain, but this Seawool does not. Therefore, if you’re making a skirt or pants out of it, you’ll want to make sure there is plenty of room for your tummy, because you won’t be able to count on any extra give in the fabric!
  4. Seawool frays, so you’ll want to finish all your edges with a zigzag stitch or serger. French seams are another good option.

Jumping on the 'Shaket' Train!

In a nutshell, Seawool is a joy to sew with, and it’s low-maintenance. It’s perfect for dresses, skirts, pants, or shakets (a shirt/jacket combo)! I think my next ‘wool of the sea’ project will be a chic shacket!

My top three options are the Liesl and Co. Classic Shirt; a TSW Frankie Shirt; or the Jalie 3130 Women’s Shirt. Which one would you choose?

Happy Sewing!

~ Kate

10 thoughts on “4 Lessons I Learned about Sewing with Seawool

  1. Jeri Fisher says:

    Kate, I have to agree! I purchased some cozy teal seawool and can’t wait to make my cropped jacket! Thanks for carrying such a wonderful selection of apparel fabrics! You and your staff are the best 🙂

  2. Margaret Folsom says:

    I pick the Frankie shirt. I want to make one of those when I get ready for another fabric and pattern binge.

  3. Shannon Reimers says:

    Thanks for the Seawool post! I have been contemplating it and now I learned some good things about it…in addition to the recycled materials!

  4. Laurie Boyd says:

    Kate,

    The seawool dress is really lovely, quality fabric and well constructed. Another winner from The Confident Stitch.

    Picked up my printed corduroy from your shop on Friday. The person working in the store was as excited as I was about my purchase. The store was buzzing with happy customers. Thanks for your beautiful fabric and great customer service.

  5. Nori says:

    Hi Kate, I just discovered Seawool and was so happy to see your post! Do you think this fabric would work as an interlining on a wool coat, or would it be too thick? The wool blend coating I have is fairly thin, and the lining I picked is rayon/lyocell, so I’m trying to figure out what to interline with to add some warmth without adding a lot of stiffness. Thanks for your help!

  6. Nori Laslo says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I just discovered Seawool and it’s really helpful to hear about your experience with it. I agree with Margaret that Frankie looks like a perfect choice. 🙂 Do you think it would work for interlining a coat to add warmth? (My apologies if this comes through twice–I tried to post yesterday but I think I messed something up.)

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