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How to Choose Fabric For Sewing Clothing

Sewing is becoming popular again. People want to bring their creative fashion ideas to life, instead of buying ready-made items that everyone has access to on the high street. Choosing the correct fabric for your clothes can make a huge difference to the end result.

African Wax Print Lilac/Lime:

Here are a few tips to help you to choose fabric for sewing clothing:-

Read Your Pattern

If you prefer to use a pattern, read the back of the pattern to see what fabric suggestions there are for that particular pattern. The pattern Designer will have the expertise to know what fabrics would best suit the pattern. For the less experienced seamstress it would be better to follow the instructions in order for you to get similar results as shown on the front of the pattern. For a more experienced seamstress you may have ideas of your own that you would like to try. The pattern will also tell you how much fabric you will need to buy.

Analyze the Fabric

It is recommended to visit your local fabric store or art store to buy your fabric, invest some energy touching and feeling the fabric. Look it over exceptionally well and search for faults, for example, fraying. You can be guaranteed that if the fabric is fraying, then it will be fraying when you attempt to make your clothing. Also, if the fabric is moving up onto itself, then it will do likewise to you once you get it home and attempt to work with it.

Something else to search for is how it creases. Does the fabric wrinkle effortlessly? You can test this by scrunching it up in your hand and observe how long it takes to go back to its original form.

While you are analyzing the fabric take the time to look at the aftercare instructions, ideally you need to choose fabrics that are easy to wash and dry in the machine, dry cleaning can work out to be costly over a long period of time.

Silk Fabrics

Chiffon, Crepe de chine, Duchesse Satin, Dupion, Dupion, Hand-Woven, Georgette, Haubutai, Matka, Organza, Satin, Silk and Wool Mix, Taffeta.

Some silk fabrics are slippery and may slip when cutting leaving you with uneven material. Some silk fabrics need to be handled with care because they can easily become damaged.

Man-made Fabrics

Acetate, Acrylic, Nylon, Polyester, Rayon, Spandex, Synthetic Furs, Synthetic Leather and Suede

Some of the man-made fabrics are made from natural fibres mixed with man-made chemicals and others are 100% man-made using non natural fibres.

Leather and Suede

Both leather and suede are natural fibres from pigs or cows. These fabrics usually require special handling when washing and drying.

Linen Fabrics

Cotton and linen mix, Dress-weight linen, Printed linens, Suiting Linen

Linen is a natural fibre which is available in various weights and textures. Linen is very comfortable to wear but prone to creasing and fraying.

Cotton Fabrics

Broderie Anglaise, Calico, Chambray, Chintz, Corduroy, Crinkle Cotton, Damask, Denim, Drill. Gingham, Jersey, Madras, Muslin, Seersucker, Shirting, Towelling and Velvet

Cotton is a natural fibre. Cotton fabrics are very versatile and popular for sewing clothing. Cotton also allows the skin to breathe, it absorbs moisture and carries heat away from the body and looks good on. Although cotton fabrics soil easily and have a tendency to crease, they are very easy to wash and dry quickly.

African Indigo Blue Cotton Fabric:

African Wax Print Brown/Old Gold:

The most vital thing you will need to do is to locate the correct fabric for your sewing project. You can achieve good results by carefully reading your pattern and taking your time to select the ideal fabric. Feeling the fabric and checking for faults, checking how quickly the wrinkles fall after being scrunched up and just generally making sure that the fabric is easy to care for, once the project has been completed. Make sure you know which side is the right side and the way the gradient of the fabric flows. When you have done these things you can be proud of the outstanding completed project.

A recommended book to learn about the various fabrics that are available for sewing is The Sewing Book by Alison Smith. This book goes into great detail about each fabric, tips for smoother seams, suggestions for use and how to press without damaging the material. There’s also a section on various interfacing and fabric construction. The Sewing Book is an excellent book for beginners and the more experienced seamstress.

Lining Fabric

Check the instructions on your pattern. Don't leave this step out if it is suggested on your pattern instructions. Lining fabric can add warmth, bulk the fabric or give the appearance of thicker fabric.


Interfacing gives the clothing form and helps the fabric to fit to your shape. It should not be visible from the outside. Interfacing is available in black and white and also various thickness and widths.

You may also find this blog post useful, Are you using the right needle for your sewing machine?

Happy Sewing!

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