Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Double Faced versus Double Cloth

I think there is sometimes confusion between "double cloth" and "double faced" fabric. The best definitions I found were in the book "Sew Any Fabric" by Nancy Zieman and Clair Schaeffer. Double cloth is a reversible fabric which can be separated into two pieces of cloth with completely different weaves, colors or patterns. Like this burgundy/oatmeal wool. If you look closely you can see the black threads that hold the two layers together.
Double cloth fabrics are particularly attractive when used for unlined garments. Two good articles about sewing double cloth are Sewing Double Cloth by Claire Shaeffer in the Feb/March 2008 Vogue Patterns magazine. Back issues can be purchased at the Vogue patterns website. Anna Mazar wrote an article on Reversible Techniques for Double Cloth that was in the March 2006 issue (123) of Threads Magazine. Ralph Rucci is a designer that uses this fabric in very unique garments, as Mem commented on the last post.

Double faced or two faced fabrics are reversible fabrics with two attractive sides that can look the same on both sides or have different colors or patterns. Unlike double cloth, they cannot be separated into two pieces of cloth. They also are well suited for reversible and unlined jackets and coats. But very different sewing techniques are used for the seaming and edge finishing of these two fabrics.

My purple fabric is double faced. I chose to use both sides of the fabric for the same jacket, but it will not be reversible. I also plan to line it because the fabric is wool and itchy. I did not line the pants and they are really uncomfortable to wear. I have to insert a lining before I can wear them for any length of time. I have always wanted to make an unlined/reversible jacket, using double faced fabric, from one of the Vogue patterns by the designer Adri. Like this one, Vogue 1055.Her jackets are unlined, with one piece collars. All the seams are finished by turning under the raw edges of the seam allowance and top stitching or with bias binding. So one side of the jacket would be all one color but the other would have the 2nd color showing as part of this seam finishes.

Purple Progress

I chose to sew jacket design 4 from the previous post. I still like the others a lot, but plan to make them in different fabrics. Option 1 in a tan/black linen for summer and Option 2 in a two color grey wool.
The jacket I chose is proving to be rather labor intensive. I had to make two jacket fronts, one a no collar "v" neck, and the second with a collar and lapel. The lapel front is laid over the "v" neck and they are attached to each other at the princess seam and the shoulder seam.

This means there are up to 3 layers of fabric on the front shoulder area and at the princess seam. The Burda directions were difficult to understand, but once I realize that I had to make two separate fronts, and how they were attached to each other, it became much clearer. The instructions for applying the front zipper are different than any method I have ever used before or seen in a RTW garment. It says "make rectangular faced slots for the zip in the front facing edges." and then goes on to give step by step instructions to do so. Like you would make for an exposed zipper. But just in the inside. On the outside the zipper teeth are hidden under the fabric on either side of the center front seam. I would think a slot in the facing would leave the back of the zipper teeth exposed to catch on a blouse or against bare skin. I plan to try it first on a sample to see if there is an advantage or more professional look to this method. I will take pictures.


  1. Thanks for the explanation on the two types of fabric. I have worked with double faced and used both sides but not yet with double cloth. Your jacket is looking good.

  2. I didnt know that although I was in a fabric shop a few days ago and tried in vane to separate 2 layers of fabric to no avail , Now I know why .I also didnt know that Adri was female !!Soooo much to learn!
    I have had similar problems with wool pants and made some lingerie fabric ( anti Static) elastic waisted under shorts( Bermuda length) The concept is like wearing a slip and works really well and you dont have to clean your trousers as much .