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Preparing the Fabric: Selecting the Fabric for Your Next Sewing Project

Learn all about different kinds of fabric to sew.

Selecting your fabric for your next sewing project.

There are many things to consider before picking the fabric for your next sewing project.


   I'm sure when you step into a fabric store for the very first time, it can be very intimidating and over-whelming with all the different kinds, colors, and textures of fabrics they offer. It must have been much easier to pick out fabric 100 years ago when all that was available was wool, silk, cotton, and linen made in basic weaves. Probably the hardest choice back then was what color or print you wanted. Today, the man-made or synthetic fabrics and fibers which are the result of the chemical treatment of certain raw materials such as petroleum and the by-products of coal, give everyone a much larger selection. These man-made fibers and fabrics are not meant for substituting the natural fibers and fabrics, I'm just stating that now-a-days there is so much more to choose from. In fact with today's fast-paced life style, the synthetic fabrics are much easier to care for, hardwearing, less liable to crease or wrinkle, and are very suitable for the modern life style in which we live.

     In most cases a pattern is bought first or a sketch is drawn first, then fabric is purchased. Make sure you choose a fabric that is right for the style and the wearer. No amount of excellent sewing will make an outfit right if the person will not wear it because they do not like the color, print, or feel of the fabric.

*Choose a color and print that is right for the individual.
*Choose the weight of the fabric that is appropriate for the style and the season.
*Choose a fabric that will go right with the style of the outfit. For example, heavy corduroy will not gather very well, so if your dress requires gathering, then corduroy may not be the best fabric. Another example would be jersey or knit fabrics do not pleat easily.
*Select fabrics that are suitable for your level of sewing. If you are new to sewing, keep in mind that cotton fabrics and wools are the best to work with. Once you have mastered several garments in these fabrics, move on to synthetic fabrics. Remember that synthetic fabrics have more advantages in wear, but they are more difficult to work with from everything to folding, pinning, cutting, and sewing. Our general rule of thumb in our Love to Sew Studio is students who have sewn with us for two or more years can begin to work with knit fabrics, unless I feel someone has superb sewing skills and can handle it.
*As the cutter at the store begins to unroll the fabric to cut it, watch for stains, rips, and flaws. Many of times, I have found flaws in the middle of the fabric bolt.
*Pay as much as you can afford. One pet peeve of mine is cheap fabric! Because I teach others to sew, the last thing I want is for after two or three washes, that the fabric is pulling, or coming apart, and I don't mean at the seam. I mean the fabric is just unweaving because it was made so cheap.




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