Seersucker

By | September 29, 2016
Up-close view of seersucker fabric. Source: Wikimedia

Up-close view of seersucker fabric. Source: Wikimedia

Seersucker is a light-to-medium weight fabric – usually made from 100% cotton. When woven, varying tension on the warp yarns creates a bumpy, textured surface to the finished fabric. It often features a striped or checkered pattern. With striped seersucker, the stripes always run along the warp, parallel to the selvedge edge. It’s somewhat similar to plissé, although the latter acquires its texture from a chemical treatment, not from the weave itself.

Don’t try to iron seersucker smooth. It’s not physically possible. Ask me how I know this. (In my defense, I was about seven years old at the time.)

Traditionally, seersucker is used for lightweight suits and dresses. The texture and fiber makes it very breathable and it doesn’t show creases easily because it always looks a bit rumpled. The bumpiness allows air to circulate more easily and is one of the reasons the fabric is so suitable for summer wear.

When I see this fabric, I always think of the seersucker suit worn by the mayor of Amity in Jaws and how very retro it is. The fabric is coming back into fashion and apparently the hipsters are discovering seersucker suits for themselves. I’m not terribly familiar with anime, but I’m sure at least one anime character out there runs around in a flirty seersucker dress. It’s a very light-hearted fabric, in my opinion.

Seersucker suit. Source: dessy.com

Seersucker suit.
Source: dessy.com

Because it’s cotton, you’re going to want to wash the hell out of it before you cut it – but only put it through a warm water wash unless you’re really sure how the dyed yarns are going to do in hot water. It can be a bit pricey because the weaving process takes more time than usual. That said, I usually see it for $7 – $10/yard.

A universal needle and all-purpose thread will do the job when sewing this fabric.

 

 

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