Things You Need To Know Before Buying Fabric -
We buy fabric for different purposes - for sewing our dresses, home decor, gifting etc.. Earlier we used to buy while visiting the stores and feeling the texture (appearance and look) of the fabric ourselves. But now, fabric shopping has been a notch higher. We shop for fabric online too by just looking at the pictures and reviews of the fabric offered by the online vendors.
So, what is it that makes us a savvy shopper for fabric materials?
Let's check out these fabric buying tips for shopping online as well as offline.
- KNOW THE PURPOSE YOU NEED FABRIC FOR - We need to know what is the purpose we are going to make use of the fabric. There is a good variety of fabrics for different purposes.
- Basically, we have natural fabrics like cotton, synthetic fabric like nylon or blended fabrics which are a mix of natural and synthetic fabrics.
- As a layman, we can devise the purpose of fabric just by looking at it's fall and it's feel. If you are going to make a flowing dress, it may be perfect to have soft and shiny fabric like satin, crepe' or Georgette but to have a frock with volume you may consider Organza.
- You may easily differentiate between fabrics by just feeling them with your fingers. Rule of thumb is, softer the fabric, more comfortable it is for the skin but to make it wearable there can be more factors like adding lining (inner layer) to cover transparency of the fabric.
- If you are using some ready made sewing pattern then the type of fabric needed for the purpose would be mentioned on the back of the packing.
- If you are buying the fabric for the first time, then look at the existing piece of dress / clothing and feel to understand the fabric texture. If possible, you can carry a sample of your clothing to the fabric store.
- If you are buying online then ask the seller for sample of the fabric. If it's not possible read the reviews and check out the return policy of the seller, if the fabric did not meet your requirement.
Knit Vs. Woven - Which one to choose?
- Knit fabric - This fabric has inbuilt quality of being flexible and stretchable like the fabric we use for socks, jersey etc. Has lesser wrinkles compared to woven fabrics. Shrinks a lot so washing before sewing is must.
- Woven fabric - This fabric stretches diagonally and woven like a basket if you closely observe the threads but it stretches less than knits. Cotton, twill, satin, linen, denim, chiffon, corduroy, tweed and canvas are some of the types of woven fabric material.
How to Choose Fabric for Suit
Fabrics to Consider:
- Wool: Most preferred fabric for a good suit due to smart wrinkle free aesthetic finish.
- Cashmere: Good for casual party wear but not good enough for formal wear due to it's shiny texture.
- Linen: Ideal for summer. Creases and stains easily. High maintenance needed.
- Cotton: A comfortable fabric but creases easily and does not give a luxurious look. Good for everyday wear.
- Silk: Though expensive, it's good choice for suit if you are looking for comfort and luxury. Good for formal and informal occasions.
- Velvet: A party wear, royal or luxurious looking fabric, to stand out in a crowd.
- Polyester: It is synthetic fabric and due to it's cheap shiny look, it gives a low quality finish.
- Worsted:Worsted is a compact textile which is made by a certain way wool is spun. It is woven a mixture of ways to produce tweed, flannel, gabardine and fresco cloths. Highly durable and good fabric choice.
How to Choose Fabric For Dress
|FABRIC GROUP||FABRIC TYPES||DRAPE||CHARACTERISTICS & COMMON USES||SEWABILITY|
|COTTON||Cotton poplin||Limited drape||Natural fibre, light to medium weight, skirts, shirts, dresses||Easy|
|Cotton lawn||Very good drape||Lightweight, skirts, blouses, dresses, shirts||Easy|
|Polycotton||Limited drape||Polyester and cotton blend, medium weight||Easy|
|Cotton sateen||Drape varies dependant on weight.||Satin finish, sometimes has a small amount of stretch, skirts, trousers, dresses||Easy|
|CHIFFON||Silk chiffon, nylon chiffon and polyester chiffon||Excellent drape.||Lightweight, sheer, lingerie, sleepwear, overlay on evening dresses or blouses, scarves||Advanced|
|LINEN||Linen||Good drape.||Natural fibre, cool and absorbent. Trousers, skirts, blouses, jackets||Easy|
|POLYESTER||Poly-viscose, 100% polyester||Good/very good drape||Skirts, dresses, trousers||Intermediate - can be slippery|
|Crepe de chine||Excellent drape||Silk like appearance (silk based also available), very lightweight, blouses, lingerie, scarves||Intermediate - can be slippery|
|Crepe||Excellent drape||Various weights available, satin backed options available. Tops, skirts, dresses||Intermediate - satin backed option can be slippery|
|VISCOSE||Poly-viscose, ramie-viscose||Excellent drape||Natural fibres, often blended with other fibres, dresses, tops, skirts||Intermediate - can be slippery|
|KNITS||Cotton jersey & wool jersey||Excellent drape||Matt finish stretch fabric, tops, skirts, dresses||Intermediate - correct tools & handling necessary|
|Polyester jersey & viscose jersey||Excellent drape||Sheen finish stretch fabric, tops, skirts, dresses||Intermediate - correct tools & handling necessary|
|Scuba||Firm knit, no drape||Suitable for skirts, dresses, jackets||Intermediate - correct tools & handling necessary|
|DENIM||Stretch denim available in a range of weights||Firm weave, limited or no drape||Stretch fabric, lighter weights suitable for dresses, shirts, skirts, heavier weights for trousers, jackets, coats||Intermediate|
|Non stretch available in a range of weights||Firm weave, limited or no drape||Lighter weights suitable for dresses, shirts, skirts, heavier weights for trousers, jackets, coats||Easy|
|LACE||Available in stretch and non stretch||Excellent drape||Decorative fabric used for dresses, tops, skirts and lingerie||Advanced|
|SATIN||Polyester or silk based||Drape varies depending on weight||Luxurious fabric used for evening wear, blouses, dresses||Advanced - very slippery!|
|TAFFETA||Silk, rayon or polyester available||Firm weave, limited drape||Luxurious fabric used for evening wear||Intermediate|
|VELVET||Silk, rayon, cotton, viscose, polyester blends available||Excellent drape||Short dense pile - smooth brushed in one direction, coarse in the other. Luxurious fabric, dresses, tops, jackets, trousers, skirts||Advanced|
|WOOL||Boiled wool, worsted wool, wool crepe, wool jersey||Drape varies depending on weight||Trousers, dresses, skirts, coats, jackets depending on weight||Specialist preparation & pressing required|
Source : https://www.sewessential.co.uk/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-fabric/
What more to consider while buying fabric?
There are certain more things which you can keep in mind -
- If you are a heavier size choose a lighter fabric and vice versa. It will complement your style.
- For everyday clothing, buy a fabric which is durable, machine wash, non color bleeding and easy to handle.
- For party wear, you can choose any fabric which can be dry cleaned.
- Read the tags or instructions given on the packet of the fabric and follow.
- If in doubt, ask the seller. You may also ask your fellow buddies on Stitching Mall facebook page.
- Most importantly, Touch,Feel,Breathe to really know if the fabric is right for you!
Do you have anything more to add, to help others understand their choice of fabrics more?
If yes, share your knowledge, it could be a good help to others.