Walking into a fabric shop for the first time can feel overwhelming. With so much choice available, how do you know which fabric is best suited to the project you are working on? Here are a few tips that should help you to take those first steps.
A Brief Guide to Fabrics
Fabrics fit into two main categories, knitted and woven, with knitted varieties offering more stretch and elasticity. Fabrics are either made from plant fibres, such as cotton, animal fibres, such as silk or man-made fibres, such as nylon.
The number of fabrics available means that there are too many to be able to go into too much detail here, but there are a few that tend to be used more frequently and lend themselves to a variety of different projects.
Cotton is arguably the most adaptable fabric of all because it is available in many different weights and styles, numerous examples of which are available from firms like http://www.higgsandhiggs.com/fabrics/cotton-poplins-112cm.html. Lightweight cotton can be used for handkerchiefs whereas heavier cottons are used to make fabrics like denim and corduroy.
Cotton jersey is made up of threads of very fine cotton, which have been knitted together by a machine. This fabric has a lot of stretch, making it comfortable to wear and ideal for t-shirts. Cotton poplins are also available, which are ideal for both clothing and crafting as they don’t crease quite as easily as plain cotton.
Polyester is an affordable material made from synthetic fibres that are woven together. It’s lightweight and doesn’t crease easily, also making it ideal for clothing.
Best for Beginners
BBC Bitesize emphasises the importance of choosing a fabric that is fit for purpose. As you’re learning, it is best to start with a fabric that is simple to sew, whilst still ensuring it is appropriate for your project. Woven fabrics, such as linen or cotton, won’t stretch out of shape or slip around too much making them much easier to sew than something like a silk or polyester. Avoid anything that is too heavy, such as denim, as you may find it tricky to manoeuvre.
Make sure to have fun with your project and don’t worry too much about getting it wrong, as we all learn from our mistakes.