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How To Choose Your Fabric: Jemima Waistcoat

How To Choose Your Fabric: Jemima Waistcoat

The basic rule of thumb when creating a semi structured (tailored) garment is, always put like for like fabrics together. Like for like fabrics simply means two or more fabrics that share many of the same properties, such as a similar weight, handle, texture, pile, etc. Fabrics that do not have characteristics in common and are completely different to each other will often pull or disfigure garments. To make sure that your waistcoat looks the part we need to carefully consider which fabrics will work for the waistcoat and at the same time make sure that they will also work well with each other. This blog article aims to make sure that your fabric choices for the Jemima Waistcoat are spot on!

The Jemima waistcoat is a classic ladies waistcoat sewing pattern with the option of contrasting collar and pocket details. Princess seams add feminine curves to this classic garment, and the multi-panelled construction allows creative freedom to play with lots of different fabrics. After all that is what Fabworks is about … fabric!

Suggested fabrics for the Jemima Waistcoat, written by Chloe; designer & creator:

The Jemima pattern requires stable woven fabrics. Below, I have written a detailed piece covering the best fabrics to use to help you to create a stunning and polished look. Featuring examples, demonstrations & sewing kits, for everything you need to get making!

  1. Wool and Tweed Fabrics
  2. Cotton Drills & Twills
  3. Linen
  4. Jacquard Fabrics

Medium weight + stable handle. Choosing a good medium weight fabric and making sure that it has a stable handle are the two most important factors here. Any flimsy, unstable or stretchy fabrics will not really give the desired effect and will be harder to sew, for this project especially.

Wool & Tweed Fabrics

Wools and tweeds when of a medium weight are p e r f e c t for the Jemima Waistcoat. In fact, medium weight wools were the first fabrics that we ever used when toiling and creating the Jemima Waistcoat sewing pattern. Specifically, the Marled Melton and Thistledown Marl Heart of Huddersfield wools were our inspiration for launching The Pattern Stash at the very outset. These woven woollen fabrics boast palettes that are both bright & colourful as well as featuring more muted tones too.

The properties of medium weight wool fabrics are ideal because they are stable and structured and help to create a sculpted silhouette, that is easy to sew with, and will also give a polished overall look. With so many colours and coordinating palettes to choose from you are spoilt for choice. If you are a lover of the countryside and equestrian style, mix & match our sublime range of wool tweed fabrics, sporting your Jemima Waistcoat with your crisp white shirt and jeans.


Wool Tweeds are stable and made from breathable natural fibres that are natural temperature regulators and give versatility against the elements. These fabrics will keep you warm and cosy but will also adjust to the surrounding temperature too. Use your Jemima Waistcoat as a cosy woolly under-layer underneath coats and jackets for snug warmth in the colder months. When it’s springtime and the sun is shining, a woolly Jemima Waistcoat as your outer layer will keep the breeze out but still give you a versatile comfortable style!

The lightly textured demi-bouclé Thistledown Marl wool fabrics work great when teamed with each other, as they are all of the same weight and hold the perfect properties for semi-tailored styles such as the Jemima Waistcoat. Go bright and colourful with the 6 rich jewel tones to create bold block designs, or harmonise your Jemima with any of the beautifully soft 6 pastel shades. Use another gorgeous collection of wools such as the Marled Meltons, for styles with less attention on fabric texture and more focus on intriguing colour palettes. Equally serviceable with good structure and hard-wearing properties.

Tap here for Thistledown Marl & Marled Melton fabrics that are perfect for making the Jemima Waistcoat

When it comes to wools & tweeds; colours and designs are vast. The Jemima Waistcoat is also an ideal stash buster because of its relatively small pattern pieces. Wouldn’t a patchwork style multi-panelled waistcoat be absolutely fabulous?

We love the vibe and colour palette of Nature’s Larder Check – Yorkshire Tweed. This multi-tonal checked beauty encapsulates all that is wonderful about wool, from the natural fibres to its stunning colours. Soft and durable wool fabrics are all ideal for the Jemima Waistcoat, we particularly love the stable handle and versatile weight of Nature’s Larder that will work perfectly when paired with other wool fabrics, as well as cotton drills & twills or denims too, to create stunning luxurious bespoke designs.

If you want us to do the fabric choosing for you, purchase a Jemima Waistcoat Sewing Kit that has everything included for a fun afternoon’s sewing project.

Cotton Drills & Twills

Cotton drills and twills are known for their hard-wearing, stable, washable and practical properties. Available in a range of plain colours; versatile but not too loud. A sewing staple that will not push your sewing skills to their limit, but will still create luxurious and classic styles.

Start by choosing your favourite or most worn colour palette. For example, if you absolutely love blue and lilac tones, choose a darker fabric for the body of your waistcoat to create a figure flattering effect, then using a lighter tone to create the contrast collar and pockets. You can also incorporate a medium weight cotton drill or twill that features a design, to draw attention to the contrast more. Using two different fabrics gives you plenty of scope to play around with how you choose to position the fabric on each panel of the garment. Our front runner for practicality, composition, handle, colour (and value for money) simply has to be the exquisite Blueberry Twill - Linen & Cotton. Boasting a close and super stable weave, this fabric exudes quality and practicality due to its strength, stability and versatile handle, as well as being breathable and made of only natural fibres. When used for the Jemima Waistcoat its rich blueberry colour will look very smart especially with the fabric’s subtle lustre that gives an air of sophistication.

If you are going for a more informal look then the UK Woodland Camo - Military Grade Twill is a fantastic choice that’ll go with anything! Greens, browns and all the colours in between will help to break up any obvious contrasts, whilst the fabric’s stable handle, medium weight, and added polyester content mean that any camo and khaki palette Jemima Waistcoats can be worn for all occasions.

Featuring UK Woodland Camo with Mossy Wood Twill + added dark green leather for the ultimate coordinating utility style using cotton drills & twills

If you want us to do the fabric choosing for you, purchase a Jemima Waistcoat Sewing Kit that has everything included for a fun afternoon’s sewing project.


We all love linen for its supple, lightweight, textured properties; dressed up for formal styles or dressed down for casual and comfy makes, still with an element of sophistication. Jemima Waistcoat + linen fabric will make the perfect versatile top layer to wear with your fine shirts and blouses throughout the spring and summer months. Warmer climates and summertime are definitely when you want to be bringing the linens out – these breathable fabrics are a must! Alternatively, use your linen ensembles as an extra layer that is lightweight and easy-wear, when you are sitting out on a chilly summer’s evening.

Using linens and linen-like fabrics is a great alternative to classic wools / tweeds as there is still great texture, handle and stable properties whilst not having the same traditional style of what we consider as a waistcoat. Less fussy, sophisticatedly styled and using classic fabric favourites.

Linen / Linen-like fabrics + Wool Tweed: There’s nothing to stop you wearing this through all four seasons.

With spring and summer just around the corner, try one of our suggested linen-look fabrics (that actually has a viscose composition) in this soft cool blue, for a more relaxed summer style: a cool, soft and comfortable handle fabric, with the look of linen. We have teamed the soft supple Cool Blue with textured medium weight wool tweed Nature's Song, for a truly complimentary style that uses similar weight fabrics together and gives a slight quirkiness with textural detail, coordinating colours and something not so run of the mill.

For some real outrageous colour, we suggest swapping the cool blues for rich spicy oranges: Spice Market Linen-Look Viscose is perfect for sunny summer afternoons, paired with smart trousers or a soft flowing skirt. Use alongside the rich checked tweed Nature’s Larder Check for soft comfortable styles; the combination of cool linens teamed with warm woolly fibres make it ideal for all weather and all occasions.

If you want us to do the fabric choosing for you, purchase a Jemima Waistcoat Sewing Kit that has everything included for a fun afternoon’s sewing project.

Jacquard Fabrics

Jacquard fabrics are fabulous, these superb textiles have intricate & silky designs woven into them and are often reversible, with contrast features on both the face and reverse sides to create visually stunning and perfectly coordinating ensembles. Using a jacquard woven fabric on the Jemima Waistcoat so that you can make those subtle contrasts on the collar and pockets have standout yet coordinating features, that will give a classy and sophisticated look. One of our favourites, is Jacquard Palm Tree Sprigs; it is stable and features a soft luxurious drape. The fabrics properties are ideal for elegant waistcoat styles and will create a polished professional finish along the centre front edge and lapels on the waistcoat. Feature bright colours alongside the darks for a spectacular coordinating contrast.

Other superb and subtly detailed light-medium jacquard woven fabrics that you can also try, for both occasions or everyday wear: Perfectly Paisley Jacquard – Sapphire and In The Spotlight - Silky Jacquard – Navy.

Let Us Do The Work For You

If you’re still undecided on which fabrics, or how to style your Jemima Waistcoat, Take a look at our Springtime Sewing Kits. Chloe, the creator of The Pattern Stash (she eats, sleeps & breathes the JW) has put together a collection of 6 fabulous sewing kits to help get your spring sewing plans together. Featuring coordinating colour ensembles, these sewing kits come with everything you need for a fun afternoon’s sewing project. A colour palette to suit all tastes!


All sewing kits are available to order at Fabworks Online and Fabworks Mill Shop. Within the 6 different sewing kits you will find our favourite fabrics that we have mentioned above, for assured colour coordinating styles that are ever so harmonious and will get your sewing brain in gear.

Each sewing kit consists of 3 x 1 metre lengths of fabric (2 x outer, 1 x lining) – take your pick which is the main and which is the contrast. Or if you are looking for a real challenge; mix it up and interchange fabrics for different panels for an extremely bespoke me made style. The options are endless!

Click here to buy the Jemima Waistcoat sewing pattern on its own

Be sure to check out our social media @thepatternstash on Instagram for more unique looks, fabric suggestions and colour combinations.

If you have your heart set on a lighter weight fabric than what is advised, worry not – you can still add structure to your fabric by simply adding an iron-on interfacing.

More articles from The Pattern Stash on the way, including a guest feature from creative extraordinaire and Fabworks' friend: Sarah Webb.