In my first post 10 Tips For Sewing Beginners I mentioned how I could do an entire post just about fabric, well here it is! I wanted to do a beginners guide that would help someone who is fabric shopping for the first time learn about different fabric types and how to pair them with projects.
Fabric Types –
Here are some common fabrics you will come across while shopping
Batik– A fabric dyed using a removable wax where the dye is not wanted. I have tried this fabric dying process and is it really cool! There are some very beautiful cotton batik prints out there.
Challis– Soft lightweight fabric that usually comes in prints.( one of my favorite fabrics to work with for apparel)
Chambray- lightweight woven fabric with visible white threads across a colored surface.
Chiffon– sheer lightweight fabric made from silk or rayon. frays like crazy so be sure to finish raw the edges.
Crepe– Thin lightweight fabric with a crinkled surface
Cotton– Fabric woven from natural cotton fibers
Denim– Heavy weight twill weave fabric
Flannel- Soft woolen fabric
Georgette– Thin dress weight material
knit– Fabric made with cotton,rayon,or polyester and Lycra that allows it to stretch.
Organza– Material made of silk or silk like fabric.
Satin-Smooth fabric with a sheen on one side.
silk– Made from the fine threads of the silk worm
Synthetic fabrics include– nylon, rayon, spandex and polyester.
Twill– Medium or heavy weight cloth with ribbed texture
Velvet– Densely piled fabric with a soft textures surface and plain back.
Wool– Fabric made from the hair of sheep.
some self explanatory fabrics are Coating, Suiting, and Shirting.
After all that shopping, once you have your fabrics it is important to wash them before you do any sewing. Some fabrics shrink after washing and drying. I always used to skip this step and I learned my lesson when a button down shirt I made for my boyfriend shrank and became unwearable!
This depends on what type of fabric you have, for instance fabrics like silk are usually dry cleaned or hand washed . I would say wash and dry your fabric in whatever way you plan to care for your garment. Most times I hand wash and hang dry. But a few knit items I throw in the dryer.
How fabric choice can change a garments look.
Choosing the right fabric for your projects will ensure you get the look you want. You can also change up the look of a pattern just by using a different type of fabric.
A simple pencil skirt can be transformed into something casual and unique, edgy ,or classic and professional.
A midi circle skirt can also be molded to fit your style.
Skater dresses can present so many possibilities, That is one of the reasons it is my favorite style of dress to make. It is so easy to switch up the look.
Resources For Buying Fabric
Living in New York City I have had the privilege of visiting the garment district. There are so many stores I haven’t visited that I can’t make any recommendations yet. But that will be coming up later! As for online sources I will share some of my favorite sites to buy fabric below.
Fabric.com- Great prices , free shipping on orders over $35
Girl Charlee– great place to find stylish and trendy knit prints
Wanderlust Fabrics– small selection, but definitely worth checking out to find some unique prints.
The Fabric Fairy– my go to for quality swimsuit fabric in beautiful prints.
Fashion Fabrics Club– low prices and a wide selection.