In Sewing

Bearing Sea Blue


After my last experience with Organic Cotton Plus I was very pleased to accept the offer to team up with them again and review some more products. You’ve already seen this dress in casual action in my recent post, but I wanted to show the versatility of this particular fabric and how easily it translates to a dressier look.


This fabric is their organic cotton sateen in Bearing Sea blue. The photo on their website does nothing to help sell this fabric. The color, drape, and quality is absolutely beautiful in person.

The name of the color is initially what drew me in. I had my choice of any fabric on the website to review but the name “Bearing Sea” just stuck with me. Where the photos of this fabric don’t do much to represent it well, the name absolutely does. It is exactly the color I imagined. It’s a “shifty” blue that subtly changes color in different lighting. It has a gorgeous buttery sheen (like a proper cotton sateen should) and is equal parts tranquil and moody like its namesake would imply. It’s not quite a navy blue (though I would say it’s slightly darker than my photos are representing), or a slate blue, but something in between. It is a lustrous, profound blue.

With a deep blue such as this you’d expect the color might run in the wash, so I tested the amount of potential bleed by washing it with a white sheet. Much to my surprise, this fabric did not bleed! Not even slightly. Now, I don’t recommend washing your blues with your whites (especially since dye lots with naturally colored fabrics can vary) but I just wanted to mention that I thoroughly put this fabric to the test. I washed it on warm with a cold rinse in the permanent press cycle and tumble dried it on regular and it looked the same before and after. Folks, this is why I love cotton. It’s just practical.


One thing I noticed about this fabric when I received it is the weight. Both this fabric, and the Harmony Art fabric I used before, are listed as 4.5 ounces a square yard but the Bearing Sea fabric feels slightly lighter. For example: I would definitely use this fabric for a blouse or men’s shirt, but the Harmony Art fabric I would not (though I can only vouch for that one particular print I used). However, both fabrics would be perfectly suitable for dresses and skirts. The slight difference in weight is obviously not a negative selling point, it’s just something I noticed. This fabric, like the Harmony Art print, is 110″ wide, so I made this dress out of just one yard and still had enough fabric left over to make my own bias binding for the arm holes and neckline. (Keep in mind though that the factory fold line is only 36″ long. I refolded my yard along the 110″ length after washing in order to get my dress pieces to fit.)


The thread color Sapphire Blue matches wonderfully and is equally a joy to sew with as the fabric itself. The thread is highly comparable to Gutterman’s cotton thread, but I swear you can see a difference in the organic. There’s just something about it that feels better when you’re threading your machine. Perhaps that’s all in my head (we tend to think organic food tastes better because it’s organic) but the actual fact is my stitches were straight, uniform, and even. It’s just good thread! (the white thread shown below is not from Organic Cotton Plus)


The final notion I got to review was the 7/8 inch organic cotton ribbon in white. The first thing you’ll notice about this ribbon is it’s very matte. I have a hard time shopping for ribbon at Jo-Ann’s because it’s difficult to tell whether they’re appropriate for sewing or are meant to be used for decoration only. Those ribbons feel a bit plastic-y and fake. This organic cotton ribbon is none of those things. It looks natural and raw in all the best uses of the terms. The color is a natural bright white, like the color of dried bone, not an artificial paper white. It’s a great compliment to the blue of the fabric. I received 4 yards and had enough to trim the bottom of my dress, make a waist belt, and a pretty ribbon rose with the extra left over. I would recommend pre-washing the ribbon as well. I did not, and therefore my hem is ever so slightly puckered from washing and drying the finished dress after construction. 


I think the rose looks great on a belt and also as a hair adornment. You can notice the nice, tight twill weave of the fabric in this shot. This kind of weave makes the dress lightweight but not at all transparent.


The dress pattern I used is the Lisette Continental and is incredibly simple to make. It’s only the front and back pieces sewn together at the side, with some bias binding to finish the neck and arm holes. As I mentioned, I made this dress and all the binding with just one yard of fabric. That’s pretty amazing. (I feel like all fabrics should be 110″ wide now!) I wanted to use a simple silhouette to show off this fabric since it doesn’t take overly complicated sewing to make it worthy of wearing to a wedding. …which I did.




So the bottom line is this: Yes this fabric, ribbon, and thread was sent to me for free in exchange for a review, but these words are my own and I would never agree to “push a product on you” if I didn’t feel it was worthy of doing so. I’ve already convinced Florence she needed this fabric in her life before I even shared these photos, and I know she won’t be disappointed when it arrives at her doorstep. It is, in all honestly, one of the best fabrics I’ve ever worked with and I don’t think I can say anything better than that. I’m a lover of cotton fabric. It’s the only fabric I truly enjoy wearing and I think anyone who believes sewing with “plain ol’ cotton” is a cardinal sin should really give this fabric the opportunity to change your mind.

I dare say it’s extraordinary.



p.s. More photos of this wedding to come! There were goats. It was amazing.