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There are different types of fabrics that are available in the market today. In fact, it is very easy to get lost while you are in a textile showroom. At first, you will be attracted by the various colors and patterns of the fabrics. But this is only one component of the fabric to pay attention to. Other things to consider include how the fabric will behave when sewing, how it will feel against your skin, as well as how it will drape against your body. Here is everything that you need to know about buying fabrics.

What Are the Different Types of Fabric?

The first thing to do is to determine what type of fabric you want to buy. Textiles are grouped into two broad categories, which are synthetic textiles and natural textiles. Some examples of synthetic textiles are Polyester, Acrylic, Rayon, Nylon, Acetate, Polar Fleece, and Spandex. On the other hand, natural textiles include Wool, Linen, Hemp, Denim, Cotton, Silk, Flannel, Leather, and Velvet. While fabrics are generally classified as natural and synthetic, or a combination of both, they are all suitable for making clothes. However, there are some fabrics that are more suited for certain types of clothing than others. Knits are perfect for making activewear and form-fitting clothes while woven fabric is perfect for making tailored clothes.

Furthermore, these fabrics can be categorized based on how they are embroidered, dyed, printed, woven, and stitched. It is also essential to consider the weight of the fabric. A loosely woven type of fabric is ideal for making a weak garment or a see-through garment. You may need to buy lining for thin fabrics. Sometimes you may have some doubts about the authenticity of the fabric. Professionals will do some tests to know if the fabric is authentic and suitable for their needs.

Color of the Fabric

It is important to make sure that the color of the fabric is even and does not have any spots or streaks. Make sure to check the fabric carefully to guarantee that there are no indications of uneven dyeing. You might find some spots or fade colors on some areas, specifically on the fold line or crease line. In the event that there are light colors in certain areas of the fabric, do not buy the fabric, unless you are sure that it is part of the design. If it isn’t, then this might be an indication that the color will fade once it is washed.

In order to check the color of the fabric, you can do a simple test. All you need to do is get a small piece of white cotton, moisten it, then rub it on the fabric. If the fabric has a good quality, then the color will not transfer to the cotton or the fabric.

Suitability of the Fabric

Another important factor to consider is the suitability of the fabric to the garment that you are going to make. Obviously, you cannot use wool in making swimwear. Garments for exercising should be made of fabric that can make you feel comfortable as you sweat it out. The location and the occasion where you will be wearing your dress will play an important role in the selection of your fabric. It is not practical to wear a chiffon dress while you are having your holiday vacation in the skiing resort or wear a woolen garment while taking a trip to the desert. During the summer, it is more suitable to wear natural textiles.

The choice of fabric will also depend on the weather of the place where the garment will be worn. It is not suitable to wear silk in warm climates. However, this should not prevent you from purchasing silk, as it has its time and place. If you live in a location where there is high humidity combined with hot weather, then it is recommended that you wear loose attire that is made of lightweight cotton. If you want to have adequate UV protection when you go out, then select a densely woven cotton fabric. Even your undergarments are better off made of cotton.


Another factor to consider when purchasing the fabric is the way it will shrink after you have washed them. Most fabrics shrink; however, they tend to shrink differently. To keep it safe, you should purchase at least 10% more of the fabric. However, it would be great if you can buy preshrunk fabric. Preshrunk fabrics are typically labeled as Mercerised, Sanforized, etc. If you want a fabric that will not lose its shape or stretch, then be sure that it has an “anti-sag” label. On the other hand, if you require a fabric that does not twist out of its shape, then the fabric should have an “anti-twist” label.


Another important consideration is the color of the fabric. Be sure that it fits your skin tone and do not rely solely on the model you have seen wearing it. Various tones of the same color may look different on the same person. When shopping for fabric, it is best to do it in daylight rather than after sunset. However, even if it is daylight you might find it hard to see the actual color of the fabric. Artificial lighting in the showrooms can often alter the color. If you are trying to match a color such as selecting a fabric to add as trim or selecting a lining for the main fabric, then this is very important to remember. Fabric showrooms usually have well-lit areas where you can clearly see the color of the fabric in sunlight. Perhaps it could be near the window with good sunlight, so keep an eye out for the best-lit area of the showroom.

Another method is to squeeze the fabric in your hands, but not the entire length of the fabric. Simply take a side and crush it in your hands. If the color seems to be different from the color that you initially thought it was, then it’s you may need to reconsider. However, if it has already been cut, then you won’t be able to return it anymore.


If you are using a very expensive fabric, then you should consider purchasing mull cotton to be used as a muslin before cutting a more expensive fabric. This is very important, especially if it is the first time that you are making the pattern. Most fabrics have a width of 44″. Before shopping for fabric, be sure to make an estimate on how much you need. You can probably get a fabric that measures 18″ wide by 22″ long.

This size can already be used for different projects. Sometimes you can buy them as cut pieces in shops. They usually cost less and if they are the last pieces off the bolt, it costs much less. When shopping for fabric, you should ask the salespersons if they have pieces like this. Sometimes you can find great bargains heading your way. If you are making a dress, then you usually purchase fabric by meter. It is always much better to purchase a wider length of fabric. Based on the width of fabrics, you may purchase a single width or a double width. The single width is up to 49” in width while the double-width is up to 60″ in width.

Suitability to Different Garments

Best Fabrics for Pants

If you are sewing pants, then choose fabrics that are not too rigid or hard so that you can feel comfortable in them. The best options are denim, linen, and flannel. For colder climates, the best options are wool and wool variants such as wool crepe and wool tweeds. Typically, it all depends on the type of pants that you are making such as jeans, unstructured pants, tailored trousers, etc. For tailored pants, it is best to choose wool or wool blends. Corduroy is also perfect for pants since they are comfortable to wear.

Best Fabrics for Skirts

For sewing skirts, it is advisable to use lightweight cotton. Other great options would be cotton lawn cloth with beautiful prints, silk jersey, printed silk, or rayon. Lycra blends, stretch velvets, drapey rayons, and soft wool are all suitable for making skirts.

Best Fabrics for Kids

All types of cotton fabrics are great for kids. You can either use a cotton satin, a cotton twill, a cotton satin stretch, or a lawn fabric. Knit fabrics such as wool knits are also great for kids. Be sure to avoid using synthetic textiles.

Best Fabric for Jackets

Some of the great fabrics for jackets are flannel, linen, and wool such as wool tweeds, wool crepe, etc. Lightweight knits are also an excellent option for free-flowing jackets.

Best Fabric for Blouses and Shirts

Some of the great fabrics for making blouses and shirts are linen, Poplin, Twill, Chintz, Cambric, Faille, Seersucker, lightweight woven broadcloth, lightweight cotton fabric, batiste, eyelet, and chiffon. For sewing airy tops, you can choose a silky satin fabric.

Best Fabric for Dresses

For making dresses, you can choose to use organza, satin, velvet, silk chiffon, raw silk, taffeta, and lace. However, it will also depend on the type of dress that you are making. If you want to make a body-fitting dress, then you should purchase medium-weight fabrics along with some spandex. Lightweight fabrics are perfect for drapey dresses. Drapey fabrics such as charmeuse, challis, and crepe are also well-suited for this style.

Spandex Warehouse offers different types of fabric. We have fabric for denim, evening wear, chair cover, lingerie, swimwear, etc. For more information, you can call us at 213.629.7416 or send your message to [email protected].