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Aug 24, 2018

What Would YOU Make With This Lemon-print Fabric?

When life gives you lemons...

What do you make with them?

Do you like this lemon-print lightweight cotton poplin fabric I bought recently, readers?  There's a bit of a story behind it.  On MPB Day a few weeks ago, I was very smitten with the lemon-print dress one of the attendees, Julie, was wearing.  She had made the dress herself from fabric she had found at -- I think I'm getting this right -- JoAnn Fabric.

It seems lemon prints have become very popular of late.  Here are a few lemon print garments I found online.

Below, a blouse from Dolce & Gabbana.

Here's a women's blouse from Banana Republic:

And a men's shirt from Banana Republic:

This seemingly impossibly-low-price shirt is available on Amazon:

Here's another cute men's shirt with a strong citrus fruit vibe:

Anyway, I looked online for a lemon print I liked.  There was this (below), from Art Gallery Fabrics (designed by Bari J. Ackerman) and sold on, but it looked too painterly for me.  I wanted a more literal print.

I found the fabric I finally purchased (top photo) on eBay, and it shipped directly from China.  Two yards cost less than $19 with free shipping.  It took ten days to arrive, which isn't bad when you consider the distance.  While it isn't the highest quality cotton, it's not bad either, and it looked much better after I had machine washed and dried it (and ironed it, natch).

Now I'm wondering what to make with it.  It looks identical to the fabric used in that Amazon men's shirt photo (the one selling for $17.70).  There's a short-sleeve version too.

I think I have enough fabric for the long-sleeve version (I have 2 yards and it's roughly 56" wide) but if not, I could definitely make the short-sleeve version, which might actually be preferable given the print.

Somehow, seeing that Amazon shirt in what looks like the same fabric selling for less than $20 kind of saps my enthusiasm for making a shirt that looks virtually identical.  Originally, I thought I'd jump right in and start cutting but I've decided to wait a bit and see how I feel.

In closing, what would you make with this fabric?

Have you ever purchased fabric directly from China and do you think it's any worse than buying Chinese-made fabric at a fabric store?

Have a great day, everybody!


  1. Oh, memories of Italy. Long- or short-sleeved, I envision it with white trousers and sandals, worn while sipping limoncello with a rocky seashore backdrop. La dolce vita perfected. :)

  2. Definitely a shirt but what about a popover placket summer shirt which works with the lemon vibe. Or convertible collar a la magnum PI !

  3. There's NO way that Amazon shirt is going to fit as well as one you make for yourself! Just because Amazon is inexpensive doesn't mean you shouldn't make a bespoke shirt from (possibly) the same fabric. If you don't want it to look identical, make a Hawaiian shirt style or something with an asymetrical opening. You could use decorative top stitching, big bold buttons - have fun with those lemons!

  4. I don't think it's worse than buying a fabric imported already by a store - fewer middle men maybe?

  5. I vote for lemon lounge pants! Your blog is fantastic, really enjoy reading your posts.

    1. "My lemon lounge pants" I would love to say this and I would love to hear this being said.

  6. I'd make a skirt:

    Your shirt would not look like the Amazon shirt. Look at those wrinkles.

  7. Make whatever would be most fun to design, to sew, and to wear. And it will be really yours.

  8. Ute as the lemon dress and purse looks with those lemon yellow shoes, the fabric screams “tablecloth” to me.

  9. Vest jumps out at me.

  10. Vintage Dresses, got one with yellow lemons and one with pink lemons on navy.

  11. At 56" it's probably not wide enough for you to squeeze out a casual men's jacket, so maybe a long sleeved shirt with patch pockets that you wear as a jacket?

  12. Look at your photo of the screen again - that is aliexpress, not Amazon.

  13. I first thought Nehru jacket but you don't have enough fabric. Then I thought chef's shirt...since it had food on it. No matter what you make with it, throw a "yellow party" where guest wear bright yellow garments or call it a "fruit salad" party to celebrate the end of summer with spiked fruit punch and watermelon and use it as a tablecloth first and then turn it into something crazy like a sarong man's skirt...Lordie, the possibilities are endless!

  14. Peter, I got the impression early on that you had in mind some gathering with a lemon theme. (This having been inspired by Julie's dress and accessories on MPB Day.) Maybe go somewhere for tea?

  15. How about a classic camp shirt (like the citrus guy above), and/or a patio shift for Cathy (Mia-married-to-Frank styling)?

  16. Not to put too many ideas out there
    but my first thought was a vest...more specifically a double breasted waistcoat with a shawl collar...
    Then I googled double breasted color blocked...and well... rabbit hole.

  17. How about a guayabera? The tucks would break up the lemons a bit and also give a shirt a tropical flare!


    i vote for kaftan. by the way, that shirt has no cuffs. how odd! not at all up to the usuall peter-made quality.

  19. i love the fabric but they look like quinces to me !! i think a nice loose shirt

  20. Kitchen curtains. Or a shower curtain.

    Scale of print screams "kitchen" to me.

    Or perhaps that is the little demon who sits on my left shoulder ... hard to tell.

  21. I can’t wait to see what you make! I have the identical print, but in silk charmeuse from Tessuti in Italy that my granddaughter got me while visiting Europe. It’s beautiful, but it was expensive and I don’t want to make something I’ll regret.

  22. I just made a stretch sateen lemon print dress from a 1950s pattern and I love it. Can't wait to see what you make!


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