Understanding Sewing Fabrics

Whether you’re experienced in sewing or are just beginning your sewing journey, the most important knowledge to have under your belt when starting any project is understanding the different types of fabrics. Some fabrics are much more difficult to work with than others and some have very particular purposes or characteristic. With such a wide range of different types of fabrics readily available in today’s market, we felt this would be an appropriate place to begin.

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We’ve named some of the most commonly used fabrics and their unique characteristic. We wanted to supply you with a guide you can always refer back to for any project:

One of the most commonly used fabrics for sewing is cotton. This fabric is easy to use in almost every way, from the cutting to the sewing itself. It varies in weight, thickness and texture making it extremely useful for a wide range of different projects.

Another very commonly used type of fabric polyester which is a manmade fabric. Although it’s lost some of its popularity in recent years, it’s still frequently used to make clothing. More frequently now, you’ll see polyester used as a part of a blend, which is of course simply when two or more types of fabric make up one particular fiber. Because the options here are endless, blends can also be used for a multitude of different projects. However, it’s important to do your research on the different types of blends and to feel the blend for yourself before deciding on it.

Cotton voile one of our favorites at NeedleWorks, is a very lightweight and sheer fabric. It’s great to use for any project that requires draping and layering. We often advise new comers to use cotton voile for layered curtains and perhaps decorative table tops, especially for special occasions. This is such an easy way to dress up any fabric used in conjunction.

Spandex can be very fun to use and Also difficult as it’s very tight and form-fitting. This can be wonderful for the experienced sewer, but because it requires such precision, using this fabric can be a bit overwhelming for those new to the sewing world.

Lace and netting are two other favorites used by us at NeedleWorks. Both of these fabrics, which are very similar to each other, are typically used for accents and finishes. Both are transparent and can be difficult to work with. This is due to the fact that they’re both a relatively delicate fabric. While this does demand more time and precision on your end, the beautiful, classic end product always pays off.

Finally, silk and satin. These two fabrics, which are similar, in appearance and in their difficult to work with, can vary greatly is usage. Both are slippery but silk is very fragile whereas satin tends to be a little more sturdy.

Use this guide as a reference while you’re shopping for fabrics. And stay updated for further helpful tips.

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