Substrate Series: Double Gauze

We are so excited to be partnering with Colette Patterns for a fun and informative Substrate Series! Learn all about a specific fabric substrate here on the Cotton+Steel blog, then pop over to the Colette Patterns blog to see how it sews up into garments. Yay knowledge!

So what is a substrate, exactly? In fabric production, substrate refers that the material that a design is applied to. This can mean the fiber content (cotton? linen? rayon?) but it can also mean the weight and weave structure.

Today’s featured substrate is double gauze.

Whisper-soft, cloud-like, high snuggability, something you want to squish your face into - yes, these are all qualities of a baby bunny. They are also the qualities of double gauze.

Double gauze has been growing in popularity recently because it is so comfy and soft. It has the much-loved, broken-in feel of your favorite shirt or quilt, and you can find it in both prints and solids. In 2014, Cotton+Steel released Bespoke, an exclusively double gauze collection, and since then has included several double gauze prints in each new release.

Below is a video all about that double gauze collection:

What is Double Gauze?

So what is double gauze, exactly? Before we talk about double gauze, let’s first discuss gauze.

Gauze is a very loosely woven fabric that can be made from a variety of fibers. (Cotton+Steel double gauze is all made of 100% cotton.) The loose weave gives the fabric a very soft drape, and it also means that a single layer is rather transparent. Gauze is a very old textile; it is thought that the English word “gauze” can be traced back through the centuries to the placename Gaza, an area in the Middle East that was once known for silk gauze production. The Arabic word for raw silk is “qazz,” which also can be traced back to the word Gaza.

To create double gauze, two very thin layers of gauze are combined to create one textile, hence the double. They are connected every centimeter or so by a single thread that is woven from one layer through the other and back again. You can actually see these threads as a faint grid on the wrong side of the fabric.

You can easily see these two layers if you look at a cross section of the fabric, and you can even start to pull them apart a little bit.

This double-layer weave structure does a few things. First, it makes the overall fabric much more opaque. Second, the tiny bit of air trapped between the layers creates a lofty, spongy effect, especially after the fabric is washed. It’s almost like an extremely thin quilt - two layers with a little space in between, tacked together in intervals. Major snuggle factor.

Working with Double Gauze

Because Cotton+Steel double gauze is 100% cotton, you can wash it in the washing machine, then either cool tumble dry or line dry. We recommend prewashing before you sew anything, especially a garment, as it might shrink a little bit.

The two layers can make double gauze feel a bit wiggly when sewing. The best remedy for this is to take your time while working with it and pin where necessary. You can also press the fabric with a some spray starch or pressing spray to make it feel a bit sturdier. Because of the looser weave structure, double gauze will fray more quickly than some other fabrics, so be sure to finish any exposed raw edges. Also, staystitching edges before sewing zippers and necklines will help keep the looser weave from stretching out.

So what to make with double gauze? A lot of things! Any garment that you want to be lightweight, soft and drapey is a great choice - blouses, shirts, skirts, summer dresses, pajamas. Double gauze makes the dreamiest infinity scarves, too, and the softest, most snuggly quilts. Do keep in mind that double gauze has a very soft visual look, so if you are trying to make something that you want to have sharp, defined edges - for instance, a crisp button down shirt with an angular pointed collar - using double gauze is going to make all the details a little rounder and a little less defined.

  photo by Colette Patterns

photo by Colette Patterns

Want to learn more about sewing with double gauze? Head over to the Colette Patterns blog to see their post featuring their Crepe Dress pattern stitched up in a Cotton+Steel double gauze from designer Kim Kight’s newest collection, Rotary Club, as well as tons of great sewing tips for working with double gauze.

Cotton+Steel Spring 2016 Substrates

Our Spring 2016 fabric collections will start hitting shops this month, and as usual they contain a mix of quilting cottons and other substrates. We thought it might be helpful to list all of the substrates in one place for anyone that might be wondering which of the prints are not quilting cottons. We've divided them into categories, so let's start with canvas!



Cotton+Steel canvas is made from a custom blend of linen and cotton and has a heavier feel than quilt weight. Its natural unbleached color lends a warmth to the prints, and after washing the linen gives it a wonderful texture. Our canvas is great for bottom weight garments like skirts, shorts, and structured dresses; totes, purses and any other bags; home dec projects like pillows and curtains; and upholstery projects. You can also incorporate it into quilts with no problem.

TOP ROW (L to R):



  • Folk Horse - Coral from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • Cicada Song - Mist from Raindrop by Rashida Coleman-Hale
  • Cicado Song - Pear from Raindrop by Rashida Coleman-Hale


Cotton lawn is a 100% cotton fabric made from lighter weight threads than quilting cotton, yielding a lightweight, soft and crisp fabric. Lawn can be used to make beautiful lightweight summer quilts (check our our #lawnquilt hashtag on Instagram!). It is also wonderful for light weight garments like shirts, blouses, dresses and linings.

TOP ROW (L to R):

  • City Toile - Navy Metallic from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • City Toile - Pale Blue Metallic from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • City Toile - Peach Metallic from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • Flamingoes - Ivory from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond




Rayon is a plant based fabric that is beautifully fluid and drapey. It can be machine washed on cold, and it's best to let it hang to dry. It's great for flowy garments like skirts, dresses, blouses, and the totally-on-trend jumpsuit.

TOP ROW (L to R):


  • Birch Floral - Periwinkle from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • Birch Floral - Navy from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond
  • Birch Floral - Enamel from Les Fleurs by Anna Bond


Double gauze is made from two very thin and loosely woven layers of cotton that are tacked together by a single thread every 20 threads or so. These two thin layers create a small air pocket, making the fabric very light, soft and slightly puffy. Double gauze makes beautiful baby clothes, blankets, shirts, dresses, and the dreamiest, most snuggly quilts.

TOP ROW (L to R)

  • Happy Garden - Tangerine from Trinket by Melody Miller
  • Happy Garden - Frost from Trinket by Melody Miller
  • Space Thistles - Blue from Rotary Club by Kim Kight
  • Space Thistles - Pink from Rotary Club by Kim Kight

We can't wait to see what you make with our newest fabrics. Be sure to use #cottonandsteel when sharing on social media so we can see your projects!


Drumroll please...

The winner of our #lawnquilt contest is Sarah Schraw (@sarahschrawdesigns)! Sarah made this AMAZING quilt completely out of our solid lawns:

Sarah's quilt will be on display in our booth at spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City. She'll also be receiving a fat quarter collector's box, a fat quarter bundle, a C+S coloring book and a case filled with Sulky thread. Congrats Sarah!

We were so happy to see all the other #lawnquilt entries as well, and wanted to share some of them here.

@alexouq's entry is so beautiful! It's inspired by moroccan tiles and features some incredible appliqué:


This is @septembermiller's third quilt ever!

We love this gorgeous wall hanging-sized quilt by @london_and_granger.

@mustlovequilts made this awesome modern color blocked quilt:

Look at this ship (and octopi!!) by @rosalia712! Teehee!

This pinwheel quilt by @kbrusven is soooo pretty:

Check out the quilting on @stephaniecappsdyke's quilt:

@mysweetlittlelife mixed lawn with double gauze for extra softness!

@hixsonir's Lawn Pawn quilt is super creative:

Thanks to everyone that entered! And we hope everyone keeps making lawn quilts!!