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12 Quick Questions to ask yourself when choosing fabric part 1
12 Quick Questions to ask yourself when choosing fabric part 2
When choosing fabric for your project whether it be a garment or a craft item there are number of questions you should ask yourself before buying.
Is the pattern designed for woven fabric or knits?
If a fabric is designed for woven fabrics it can work in a knit, but if it is designed for knit fabrics it rarely works in a woven because there is no give in woven fabrics and it won’t fit well - if at all.
Does the style require a lot of drape or gathers?
If so you need to look at the thickness of the fabric and how it hangs. Pick it up by one corner and see if it drapes well or does it just remain a flat square.
If you are a beginner and the fabric frays a lot, you may find this an added challenge you could do without.
Is there an obvious pattern to the fabric?
If there is an obvious pattern and you are hoping to pattern match you may need to buy a little extra fabric to achieve this.
Does the fabric have a nap?
Fabrics with a nap can look different from each end because of the way the nap is lying. Think velvet, needlecord, corduroy or fur fabrics. Some patterns will tell you how much extra fabric you need to be able to cut all the pattern pieces in the same direction, but sometimes you may need to work this out for yourself by laying the pattern pieces out.
Stretch fabrics vary tremendously, two way stretch, or four way stretch, with or without elastane, spandex or lycra. You can get stretch woven fabrics, but they have to have elastane, spandex or lycra in them.
Is my fabric two or four way stretch?
This refers to the direction of stretch, if it stretches side to side or up and down only, its two way, if it stretches in both directions it’s four way stretch.
Does my knit have recovery?
To have recovery the fabric needs to have some elasticity usually from elastane, spandex or lycra, this allows the fabric to bounce back into shape, without it just stretches and stretches as you wear it until you wash it.
How much stretch does my fabric have?
Stretch the fabric against a tape measure to see how much stretch it has. This is very important if you are going to rely on the stretch to either make the garment fit or give you support as in lingerie.
Some fabrics are very high maintenance and are dry clean only, and in some cases like a coat or jacket that isn’t a problem, but if you want to be able to machine wash the end product check along the selvedge first for washing instructions or ask the seller before you buy.
Do I want my fabric to coordinate with another?
If you want two coordinating fabrics because you are doing colour blocking the fool proof way is to use the same fabric in different colours or prints. If this isn’t possible choose fabrics that have the same properties.
What fabric did the designer specify on the pattern?
It is sensible to follow the designer’s recommendations if you want a good finished result. The pattern will have been tested using these fabrics.
This is just a guide to help avoid an expensive mistake. There are no rules and it’s good to experiment with fabrics and ways of using them.
Got the fabric but are going to be choosing a pattern? then check out our 'Which Pattern' Guide on our blog here
Got your fabric and your pattern check out our tips for a professional finish here
Our latest pattern release is the Lucy and Amy Wristlets Combo pack check them out now