There is something magical about walking into the races wearing your own design.

Picture it. You’re wearing a dress, fitted perfectly to your body shape. It’s a personalised design, true to your own individual style. A dress made specially, just for you.

A couple of years ago, I started having my racing fashion outfits made. I soon discovered that wearing my own creation made me feel extra special.

Not only do you feel proud (and rather clever) that you have brought your own idea into life; you have complete freedom as to the style of your dress.

And the all-important fabric choice.

Which brings me to this Buying Guide- for race wear fabrics!

So, what will it be for you? Do you choose a flirty delicate silk or a vibrantly printed jacquard? An exotic guipure lace, an intricately embellished mesh or laser cut leather… the possibilities are endless.

race wear fabric guide silk jacquard mesh leather lace guipure

Image credit: @modaoperandi, @elleaus, @decorte_laser

What Race Wear Fabrics are Suitable?

When choosing fabrics for the races it’s best to keep in mind that you want a medium weight fabric that will hold a great shape, as a lot of race wear is structured.

Popular race wear fabrics are cotton, linen, silk, satin, lace, jacquard, embroidered fabrics, wools, velvet and knitted fabrics.

Anything that looks beautiful (and is sew-able) will work!

I have even used upholstery fabric before.

Maticevski used a modern sports mesh in his ever popular ‘Sanctuary Gown’.

Maticevsk sanctuary gown mesh fabric race wear

Image credit: Maticevski Blog

And one very creative entrant, Natalie Zielke, even used a Kmart doona cover as fabric to make her race dress!

race wear fabric pattern from doona cover

Avoid stretchy, thin fabrics for race wear though. You don’t want a dress that clings too tightly to the body.

Creating a WOW Factor

I design my own outfits around the WOW factor. You can create WOW through the design of your outfit, or through fabric choice. Colours, pattern, texture, or the way you mix them together.

Ashleigh Robson and Chloe Moo both caught the judges attention in their eye catching fabric prints and bold colours.

The wow factor in Gracyn’s outfit is not just the beautiful silhouette but the print of her skirt fabric. It is the main feature and what makes it stand out.

Gracyn, print, silhouette, race wear fabric, skirt

Image credit: @ontrackontrend

Both of these dresses below are made from the same pattern. I use my race wear fabrics to make them look interesting and couture like.

custom race dress bespoke race wear fabric

You can use most fabrics throughout all seasons, but coming into Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer, there are some Fashions on the Field rules to adhere to.

Fabrics for Different Seasons

FOTF criteria usually states to dress for the season and the weather.
This can be done through your colour choice, your fabrics, your millinery and accessories.


For A/W, use a heavier fabric such as a jacquard, wool blend, thicker cotton, tweed, leather, velvet, or you can even mix in a heavier lace or some fur trim.

Choose warm colours and rich jewel tones such as navy, copper, emerald green, burgundy, deep purples, mustard or steel greys. Stay away from anything too bright or that has a summery vibe.

An A/W look can come purely from the design, so you don’t have to use a heavy weight fabric if you live in an area that doesn’t get cold. A warm-coloured cotton, in a long sleeve design, will still look Wintery without over heating you.

Be smart, and plan for the usual temperature of the season in your area. No good turning up in head to toe leather, with a fur shawl, in Queeensland.

Click here for more tips on dressing for the winter.


Spring/ Summer is a fun season to dress for. Your race wear fabrics can be bright, with an array of prints and colour blocking.

You can incorporate sheer panels, soft laces, light silks and cottons, or brightly embroidered linens.

For Spring Racing, avoid any fabrics that are too dark or heavy. Leather is usually an A/W fabric, but a trim here and there is fine. Or choose a light colour.

Where to Shop for Race Wear Fabrics

There are many great fabric stores around. Below are 9 of my favourites. I hope they help when it comes to finding the perfect race wear fabric for your next custom made dress.


spotlight fabric store race wear




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When you head into a Spotlight store you can find almost everything you need to kit out your home. Kitchen and dining spaces, lounge and bedrooms, bathrooms and laundries are all covered by your local Spotlight store.

Fabrics Stocked:

Cotton, silk, chiffon, satin, georgette, wool, linen, lace, faux leather, upholstery.

Price Range:

Low to mid


There are a number of Spotlight stores throughout Australia- click here to see your closest store: – Phone 1300 305 405.

Online Store:

Shipping Costs:

  • Flat rate of $8.99 on standard delivery products within Australia with signature on delivery
  • International shipping not available
  • Allow 2 to 5 business days for delivery

Returns and Exchanges:

Spotlight will not accept the return of cut lengths of fabric, lace or ribbon.

Photos of Race Dresses made with Spotlight Fabric:

Catherine Gabriel race wear costume skirt floral

Image credit: @catherineagabriel

race wear fabric spotlight

Image credit: @spotlightstores

Tessuti Fabrics

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Tessuti Fabrics is now recognised as one of Australia’s leading retailers of quality and designer fabrics. They offer customers a unique and stylish range of quality stock and designer ends.

They purchase from some of the most celebrated local, interstate and international designers including Cue, Zimmermann, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana and many, many more.

Fabrics Stocked:

Cotton, Linen, Silk, Lace, Liberty, Italian and patterns.

Price Range:



  • Tessuti Surry Hills, 110 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills, NSW, 2010. Phone 02 9211 5536.
  • Tessuti Chatswood, 20/369 Victoria Ave, Chatswood, NSW, 2067. Phone 02 9415 3357.

Online Store:

Shipping Costs:

  • Orders under $150 flat rate of $10 within Aus, $30 Worldwide.
  • Orders over $150 free shipping within Australia and worldwide *exceptions apply
  • Allow 2 to 5 working days shipping within Australia
  • Allow 5 to 15 working days shipping worldwide

Refunds and Exchanges:

They don’t offer refunds or exchange for incorrect purchases once the fabric has been cut, or for discounted remnants or Tessuti Patterns.

Photos of Race Dresses made with Tessuti Fabric:

race dress fabric stores tessuti

Image credit: @ontrackontrend

print-race dress tessuti fabrics

Image credit: @ alicebright___

Alla Moda Fabric

alla moda logo fabric store race wear

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Alla Moda is home to the world’s most beautiful fabrics, including the latest from haute couture designers such as Chanel, Valentino, Emilio Pucci, Missoni, D&G, Stella McCartney and more.

Alla Moda imports the current European fabric collections, keeping ‘fashion forward’ and one season ahead.

Fabrics stocked:

Linen, wool, Italian silks & satins, cotton, lace, embroidery, trims, embellishments and bridal fabric.

Price Range:

Mid to very high


Alla Moda Fabric Collection, Shop 5, 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, Queensland, 4006. Phone +617 3257 7253.

Online Store:

Alla Moda don’t have an online store.

Photos of Race Dresses made with Alla Moda Fabric:

fashionable_free_me race wear floral fabric

Image credit: @fashionable_free_me

PetaC thedetailsgal fabric race wear print

Image credit: @petacdressmaking (left), @thedetailsgal (right)

Darn Cheap Fabrics