Fabric Selection - A Quick Guide For Beginners
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Published by TOP4 Team
Whether you are an aspiring fashion designer or a hobbyist who wants to create costumes and dresses for your young one, one of the most important things that you need to learn and master is fabric selection. For most beginners, a trip to the fabric shop can be both exciting and confusing. Here's a quick guide that will make fabric selection a little easier for you.
Types of fabrics
Fabrics are classified in a variety of ways. Fabrics can be either knitted or woven, sourced from animals or plants, or man-made. Here's a brief list of some of the most common fabrics and their qualities.
Cotton is one of the most versatile fabrics used, from handkerchiefs to jeans and even bags. Cotton is a woven fabric and other types of fabrics like denim and corduroy are made from cotton.
· Cotton jersey
When fine cotton thread is machine woven, you get cotton jersey. This fabric is commonly used in making T-shirts because it is comfy and stretchy. Note that this fabric may not be easy to sew.
If you are looking for a fabric that is easy to sew, consider linen. However, this fabric can be expensive and has a tendency to crease.
Silk is used in sewing dresses, undies and blouses. Like linen, silk can be expensive and difficult to sew.
Coats, suits and posh skirts and pants are often made out of wool. This fabric is expensive and is typically dry-cleaned.
· Synthetic fabrics
Polyester and polycotton are not only cheap. These fabrics are also crease-resistant and light-weight.
Best fabrics for beginners
As a beginner, you will definitely have your fair share of mistakes. That's all right — even the best tailors and dressmakers made mistakes when they were starting out.
However, to prevent yourself from blowing your budget, you should start out with fabrics which are both easy to work with and cheap. Your best bet would be cotton, linen or a blend of both. Avoid using fabrics with patterns as much as possible as these can be challenging to create a layout for. Finally, you may want to avoid using heavy fabrics like denim which can be challenging to sew.
Ideally, you should buy fabrics once you have a sewing pattern. However, it is fairly common for people to fall in love with a fabric sans a pattern. In such a case, you may want to buy at least 3 metres of that fabric to give you ample room once you decide what to do with it.
When you are shopping for a fabric, stick to those recommended at the back of a pattern envelope.
If you see a fabric that appeals to you, unroll it and drape it. Note its feel and visualise if it works with the design you have in mind. Check the label and look at the care instruction. Again, if you are a beginner, you should choose fabrics that are easy to work with and care for. Finally, check the pattern envelope again to determine how much fabric you'll need.