CHOOS­ING AND BUY­ING FAB­RICS

Simply Sewing - - THE GUIDE -

IT’S IM­POR­TANT TO CHOOSE the cor­rect fab­ric for your pat­tern. Most pat­terns give sug­gested fab­ric types that will work best with the style of gar­ment. Use this to guide you as some pat­terns need more drape, body or struc­ture than oth­ers.

Fab­ric can be made from nat­u­ral fi­bres such as cot­ton, linen, wool and silk or syn­thetic fi­bres such as ac­etate, acrylic, ny­lon, polyester, rayon and vis­cose. All these fab­ric come in dif­fer­ent weights, or thick­nesses, which suit dif­fer­ent gar­ments.

Lightweight fab­rics are ideal for lin­gerie, nightwear and sum­mer cloth­ing, and in­clude cheese­cloth, chif­fon, crepe-de-chine, geor­gette, lawn, muslin, or­gandie, or­ganza and voile.

Medium-weight fab­rics, which work for dresses, shirts, trousers and chil­drenswear, in­clude cal­ico, cot­ton, crepe, du­pion, linen, poplin and finer wool.

Heavy-weight fab­rics are used for gar­ments or projects need­ing more strength, like coats, jack­ets, win­ter wear and bags. Can­vas, cor­duroy, denim, tweeds, vel­vet and wool are all in this cat­e­gory.

Some pat­terns re­quire fab­rics that are quite fluid and have a good drape to make them hang prop­erly, such as a cir­cle skirt or blouse. Syn­thetic or syn­thetic mix fab­rics such as rayon, chal­lis, chif­fon or lightweight jer­sey have a bet­ter drape to them.

Stretch and knit fab­rics such as jer­sey and ly­cra are vir­tu­ally crease free and com­fort­able to wear. They can be bought in a va­ri­ety of thick­nesses and qual­i­ties de­pend­ing on their use but are ideal for sports­wear and ca­sual cloth­ing.

In­ter­fac­ing gives an ex­tra layer of sup­port to your fab­ric – for ex­am­ple, to stiffen fac­ings and col­lars. Choose an in­ter­fac­ing that’s slightly lighter than your main fab­ric, and if you’re us­ing a fusible (iron-on) op­tion then al­ways test it on a scrap of the fab­ric first as it can melt if the iron is too hot.

In­ter­fac­ing is avail­able in dif­fer­ent weights and as an iron-on (fusible) or sew-in ver­sion. With fusible in­ter­fac­ing, press the shiny side to the wrong side of your fab­ric. Tack sew-in in­ter­fac­ing to the wrong side of the fab­ric pieces around the edges.

If you’re buy­ing fab­ric off a roll (or bolt) then you’ll usu­ally buy it by the me­tre. This is only the length of the fab­ric you’re buy­ing – the width de­pends on the width of the roll. Fab­rics are sold in stan­dard widths, which vary ac­cord­ing to their pur­pose – for ex­am­ple, dress­mak­ing or quilt­ing fab­ric gen­er­ally comes in stan­dard widths of 112cm (44in) or 150cm (60in). Cur­tain or soft fur­nish­ing fab­ric is nor­mally 137cm (54in) wide and is re­ally use­ful for bags and aprons as it’s thicker and stronger than dress­mak­ing fab­rics. The fab­ric re­quire­ments on the pat­tern in­struc­tions will tell you what length of fab­ric to buy, usu­ally with two width choices. Some pat­terns, such as large cir­cle skirts, can only be cut from the wider fab­rics.

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