Double brushed poly, or DBP, as it's often abbreviated to, is a relatively new fabric base available to the UK market, so when I was offered the chance to sew it up and review it I was very excited! I sewed up a sample from a lovely custom fabric company, Lulus Fabrics UK, and as usual, I like to test to the max! I washed it, tumble dried it, checked for colour running, fading and shrinkage and sewed it up into various different garments to test how it sews, stretches, wears and looks! Here are my projects, thoughts and findings....
Fabric Details - So what is DBP?!
DBP is a 210gsm 150cm (60") wide, 4-way stretch, knitted polyester and elastane mix fabric which has been through a brushing process on both the right and wrong sides to give it the softest, almost peach skin like, feel. This brushing process also gives the fabric an amazing drape to go with it's great recovery.
The first thing I did upon receiving the fabric was measure it. My sample measured 160 (including white selvedges) x199cm (approx 63x78") and I couldn't see any flaws upon inspection. I then needed to wash and dry it. I decided to cut a small rectangle from the corner to leave unwashed to compare colours before and after and because I wanted to really test it out, I washed at 40 degrees with a colour catcher and even tumble dried for maximum effect!
Despite the deep blue stripes being right next to white, there was no colour run at all, the colour catcher came out still white and the unwashed sample I saved is, to my eyes, exactly the same colour as the washed fabric!
Once washed and tumble dried, my sample measured 157x198cm (approx 55x77.5") which is just 2% shrinkage in width and 1% in length, practically none at all and well, well, under the 10% I normally expect!
What did I make?
I really wanted to test the fabric well, so I started with making garments which would show its drape. I knew the first thing I wanted to make was a maxi dress. This is one of the best garments for drapey fabrics, really showing off how the fabric hangs and moves, I then went with a top which combines woven and knitted fabrics to test how that worked and then something which you might not usually have thought of for DBP, a raglan sweatshirt.
Ever since I made my first Uptown Downtown maxi last Summer, I have been itching to find the right fabric to make another! This seemed to be the perfect one! I did a little pattern hack to add some subtle colour blocking down the sides of the front pattern piece and elongated the front and back facings as mentioned in the original blogpost. I paired the DBP with some 'Ink Blue' Viscose lycra fabric which matched the blue stripes well but also drapes well. The DBP sewed up really smoothly even without my walking foot. I found the end dress was just a little shorter (around 5cm) than the previous version I sewed which seems to be because the fabric isn't so heavy but the drape was amazing and suited the dress very well.
Another way to test the fabric was to gather it and mix it in with woven fabrics, for which I immediately thought of the Vienna Tank I made last year which combine both of those! I also need to take a moment here to admire my centre front seam pattern matching, which took longer to sort out than making the entire top! Again, as per the maxi dress, the top ended a little shorter than my previous one, with the unhemmed length being the same as the hemmed length of my first version but otherwise, the gathers were very easy to achieve neatly and the DBP joined with the woven poplin without shifting.
The inspiration for this actually came from seeing a raglan sweatshirt in a high street shop window. When I asked a question in a few Facebook sewing groups about what people sew with DBP, a sweatshirt was not on the list. I decided to try it out anyway! Teamed with some fleece backed sweatshirting and ribbing, this raglan was so easy to make and is actually a Tami without a hood! I just measured the neckline and made a neckband 75% of that length and attached it on! The DBP makes a fab contrast front panel for this sweater though and is actually a surprise favourite of all 3 garments I've made from this beautiful fabric so far!
How did it sew?
In all three garments I made, the DBP sewed up really nicely. I used a rotary cutter and didn't find the fabric egdes curled at all unlike common in cotton lycra blend knits. It was stable enough a fabric that I only needed a few ballpoint pins to hold it in place and the sweatshirt I sewed without any pins. I used a stretch needle in my sewing and overlocker machines and had no skipped stitches at all. It has a nice amount of 4 way stretch to it but isn't as heavy as some of the alternative fabrics I would usually use for drape so a little extra length to compensate could be a good idea. I really enjoyed sewing with it and will definitely buy and use DBP again in the future.
Where can I buy it?
Hi! I'm Sarah and I live with my 2 boys and my Husband in East Anglia, UK. I enjoy sewing for my family and it is my aim to have a completely MeMade wardrobe for us all!