Curious cat


Sometimes my curiosity just gets the better of me and I try something that is quite outside my normal realm.  This project was one of those instances.


In my normal course of life, I have a strong preference for natural fibres – linen, cotton, silk and wool – but after a chat with Lisa in Tessuti (Melbourne) I decided to try one of their Japanese technical 100% polyester fabrics.  The fabric I selected is called Red Lava Flow and it was the lovely colour palette that caught my attention.


What is technical polyester you ask?  Well, it is a term coined by Tessuti to describe a new generation of woven polyester fabrics from Japan.  These fabrics have have been created to even more closely match the characteristics of silk, with special attention being paid to breatheability and easy care.  Apparently, these new generation polyester fabrics are been used more and more by fashion labels, and therefore it is not surprising, that they are making their way into our fabric stores too.

Over the last few years with both my girls at school, I have more evening functions to attend.  My standard dress code for a dinner with friends or a parent function in cooler weather is dark skinny jeans, heels, a silky top and a jacket/wrap.  With only one me-made top to choose from (this one) a wardrobe gap was identified and this item was sewn to help fill it.


Since I was sewing a new-to-me fabric type, I decided to go with a familiar pattern.  This is yet another Aeolian with modified sleeves (see here and here for previous versions).

So, how do I rate the fabric?

  • Like silk, technical polyester is shifty to cut and sew
  • It presses well on a medium heat setting and copes well with steam
  • It gathers beautifully… really beautifully
  • The fabric is lovely to wear… and so far so good with regards to breatheability
  • It doesn’t crease much


So, does technical polyester have a place in my wardrobe?  Yes and no.  I would consider this fabric again if was sewing a travel wardrobe, if I fell desperately in love with a the pattern/colourway, or when budget dictates, but in my heart of hearts, if I’m cutting and sewing shifty fabric, then I’d much prefer it to be silk.

Have you tried this new generation of polyester fabric yet?  If yes, what did you think?  If no, tell me the last time you had a really good belly laugh.


Pattern:  Pattern Fantastique’s Aeolian Tee Shirt/Dress (available in PDF and Hardcopy) with modified sleeves (top length)
Size:  Small
Fabric:  Red Lava Flow from Tessuti
Alterations:  The sleeves were slashed & spread, lengthened and the curved hemline was gathered and bound with bias binding
Accessories:  Beads were a gift and shoes were a recent purchase from the Florsheim Outlet in Fairfield
Location:  Wombat Hill Botanical Gardens, Daylesford


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  • I agree with you, it is difficult to cut and sew, the results are great if you are patient and worth it. It doesn’t compare in my opinion with silk. I have your fabric and also fell in love with the print. I will probably make a flowy something or other as I don’t like it close to my body when it’s very hot, I am looking for the right pattern in a dress, I hope I find it. Good to hear another person’s opinion on this type of fabric. Thanks Anna

    • We can be fabric twins! It’s great that we can understand a fabrics limitations and work with them. This fabric is perfect for a flowy dress.

  • The top looks great–very flattering and put-together. I understand about the fabric. I just returned from a quick shopping trip and I’m underwhelmed at what’s presently available in America. I’d rather wear what I have!

    • I have to admit Sarah Jo that my interest in clothes in the shops diminishes each year. I think it’s a combination of the fact that I can make myself very wearable items and that the quality of what’s on offer keeps dropping. Plus in Melbourne there is just so much black, grey and white… which are not my normal hues.

  • I love the shape and drape of your hack! What “pattern” do you base the bottom of the curved sleeve on? (I don’t know how to phrase this.) It also looks like the top may be gathered at the neck? Lovely. But as a child of the 19**’s, I’m not sure that I can embrace “our friends Poly and Ester” (as my cotton and silk loving mother used to say).

  • They are great colours on you! I’d be fascinated to know how it’s made to be breathable….