There is such a wide range and choice of fabrics – it can be impossible to know where to start. But actually it’s not that tricky once you know what you’re looking for. You just need to decide what you want your fabric to do then choose one that you love.
Fabrics are made from all different sorts of fibres, either natural or manmade which give the fabrics their properties and how they behave. Also, fabrics can be woven, non woven and knitted which again affects their weight, drape and stretch. Many of the fabrics can be bought in different weights too. So, once you have all this information about your fabric then you can decide which ones best suits your project.
Natural fibres can be split into two categories, either animal or plant based. Animal based fibres include wool, silk and hair such as lambswool, camel, merino, alpaca, mohair, llama, angora and cashmere. These are warm and comfortable to wear, wrinkle resistant and drape well so are a great choice for garments that need these qualities.
There are several plant based fibres which are extracted from different parts of the plant such as cotton, bamboo and linen. These fibres are strong, they breathe and are naturally renewable.
Woven fabrics are made from two groups of threads, the lengthwise warp and the widthwise weft. They come in different weights depending on the garment they’re going to be made into: lightweight, medium weight and heavier weight.
These fabrics are fray-resistant, don’t stretch like woven materials and can easily be cut to any shape. They include fabrics such as felt and fleece which are created by condensing woollen fibres. Real or faux leather and suede can also be used in dressmaking.
These fabrics are formed by threads that loop around each other and give the fabric its stretch and elasticity. Double knit fabric is formed of two layers combined in one fabric; so is thicker, has greater strength but less elasticity.
It is virtually crease free and comfortable to wear. They are available in a variety of thicknesses and qualities depending on their use.