How to choose fabric for clothes?

by - 23:31

Have you ever had a sewing disaster based on a wrong choice of fabric? When instead of a nice cocktail dress you've got a pretty night gown? Or a delicate blouse instead of a classical jacket? Today I'm talking about the easiest ways to avoid this problem. 

As for my own experience, it has happened only once. And it taught me a lot! My mistake was based on my love for natural fabrics. I knew that I need a satin or crepe for that dress, but I couldn't find the 100% silk one I'd like. What was my wrong solution? Yes, buying a lightweight silk. So here is what I've got instead of a cocktail dress: a lovely nightie.

It was based on a Project Runway Simplicity pattern 2337.

The pattern itself is lovely, but I had to follow the fabric recommendations.

So how to avoid a similar problem?

1) Read the pattern description
Patterns usually have the fabric requirement information. Don't skip it and always make a choice based on those recommendation. You can still play with the fabric choice, but just a little. For example, it's ok to use silk chiffon instead of a satin for a blouse, or regular cotton instead of pique for a summer dress. 

2) Keep in mind the fabric composition
It's incredibly important to know what your fabric is made from. The composition of the fabric can seriously affect the way your garment may look. One of the most common one is cotton. It's a very breathable and skin friendly material, but don't forget that it absorbs water and doesn't dry out quickly. Plus it creases easily and shrinks after washing, so don't forget to prewash it. Linen is a perfect fabric for summer clothes, but it also creases and shrinks a lot. Different types of silk can be used for all types of projects, but don't forget that it shrinks, looses colour and possibly creases. Viscose is quite similar to cotton. Wool is the optimal choice for jackets, dresses and coats, but it can irritate a very sensitive skin. The most common synthetic material is polyester. It's cheap, doesn't shrink after washing and can be found in any fabric shop. Acetate is a similar to viscose material. It's quite silky, creases a lot and ages easily.

3) Hold fabric before buying it
We all love online shopping, but sometimes it's very important to "feel" the fabric before buying it. Does the fabric feels nice on skin? Does it creases easily? Does it drape nicely? All those questions should be answered before you start sewing.

4) Don't forget about prints
Some prints were designed for specific garments. For example, long vertical prints are perfect for trousers, but will look strange on a circle skirt. Big prints will look pretty on skirts and dresses, but too overpowering on shirts. 

5) Remember your skills level
Some fabrics, like cotton, are very easy to work with. But delicate materials like silk chiffon and even thin jersey require a certain level of skills and practise. 

What are your advices on choosing the right fabric? Have you ever had fabric choice disasters? 

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