Sewing with the Deadstock Heavy French Terry

Sewing with the Deadstock Heavy French Terry

Let's talk about sewing with heavy french terry. I currently have this Japanese Heavy Cotton French Terry in stock in two colorways. I had it a while ago in a dark olive colorway.. basically whenever I see this kind of deadstock fabric up for grabs, I will get it for the shop because it's hard to find in the fabric world at this level of heaviness / 100% cotton (yep, no spandex).

Yes - this fabric is super heavy and that's why I love it. It's almost 15 oz/ sq yard which is as heavy as the quilted cotton jacquards, a jacket making fabric, for context. That's why I love it - instead of a thinner slouchy sweatshirt, you can make an elevated / structurally interesting sweatshirt or shacket (shirt jacket) that highlights the seams / style lines and is still super breathable (thank you 100% cotton). Don't get me wrong - I love classic terry / fleece with spandex too but sometimes when you sew as much as I do, you want something a little different / special!

I sewed up the Wren Fleece by Daughter Judy in our Sage green colorway and am also wearing my beloved Persephone pants by Anna Allen in a washed bull denim. 

Sewing Tips:

-are you scared of sewing with knits? You can basically sew with heavy 100% terry like it's a woven since there is no stretch so there is nothing to fear - this fabric is super stable and won't get all weird and shifty.

-use wonder clips if you have them to help you deal with the thick layers (pins are fine too but clips are easier). 

-I used Gutermann polyester sew-all thread and recommend it. I wouldn't recommend cotton thread, it won't be strong enough for this fabric in my opinion. You could use topstitching thread too for topstitching. 

-choose your machine needles carefully and please please please use FRESH needles!! Did you know its recommended to change out your sewing needles after 8-10 hours of sewing? Dull sewing needles will certainly break with this fabric. My friend Katie broke a needle and one of mine bent at the end of our projects due to the needles dulling down. 

-needle recommendation: I used the heaviest ballpoint / stretch needles I could find which was "Schmetz Stretch 90/14" - you do not want "jersey" or thin stretch needles! My friend Katie used a heavy duty universal needle and was fine but I recently had a failed terry knit project (different fabric) where the universal needle punched holes in the fabric so I was a little more cautious and wanted to use heavy stretch needles just to be safe. 

-hand crank over the thick layers!! I was sewing too fast over thick layers when I bent my needle and my machine jammed. Do as I say, not as I do, wink wink. 

-find a rib knit for your cuffs/ neckline, maybe matching or contrasting? Katherine of @seamscience used the terry (in a past colorway) for her cuffs and found it just *barely* possible to stitch through those thick layers to do the cuffs. This is the matching rib I used for my sage green wren fleece.

-have fun with your pattern choice!! The sky is the limit, you could use this fabric for many woven patterns if they have enough ease to account for the heft of the fabric (which means don't make a super tight woven garment because the fabric is thick). This can be used for some stretch patterns but you may need to size up since there is almost no stretch.


Let's talk pattern ideas!

Matching Sets:

Vero Beach Set by Hey June Handmade (campfire / beach vibes)

Lara Lounge Set by Swim Style 


Toaster Sweater by Sew House Seven

Wren Fleece by Daughter Judy

Pogonip Pullover by Friday Pattern Co.


Over Shirt by Modern Sewing (for a cozy "shacket" - shirt jacket vibe)

Den Jacket by Chalk & Notch 

Maker's Overshirt by Matchy Matchy Sewing Club (I would never take this off if I made this - I think it would be kinda modern and an unexpected fabric/pattern pairing!)


My friend Katie of @girlandboyd sewed up the Pogonip Pullover by Friday Pattern Co. in the Cinnamon colorway. 

What would you make with a heavy cotton terry? Let me know if you have any more questions!


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