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Understanding the Commonest Types of Fabrics

From interiors and clothing, to medical and industrial applications, textiles are very essential to design. When it comes to sewing a garment, the most crucial step is to choose the most appropriate fabric. Making a wrong choice could mean a very futile project. Luckily, there are normally a few ideal fabric options for any pattern, which makes it not too hard to match up a fabric and a pattern.

How to Select Fabric for Clothes

There are two aspects that lead to your choice of fabric – either you have liked a pattern and needs a fabric that has that particular pattern, or you have found a fabric that you like, and needs a suitable pattern to go with it. The important thing to note is that patterns will always tell you which particular types of fabrics they are designed for.

Common Types of Fabrics

There are various types of fabrics that have certain properties (in terms of drape, stretch and weight) that complement the design of the pattern. Here are the commonest types of fabrics used for garment sewing:

  1. Cotton voile – Voile is a lightweight, semi-sheer fabric that has a great drape.
  2. Cotton lawn – Lawn has the same similarities except that it is slightly crisper.
  3. Rayon Challis - This is a smooth and very lightweight fabric that drapes really well. It is slightly heavier compared to other lightweight fabrics such as cotton lawn and cotton voile.
  4. Chambray - Just like voile, lawn and challis, chambray is also smooth and lightweight. However, this fabric does not drape well compared to those other fabrics.
  5. Denim – This is a heavy-weight fabric that has very little stretch or drape.
  6. Double Gauze – This is a distinctive fabric in the sense that it comprises of two layers of gauze that have been woven together. The double layer of fabric helps to minimize sheerness while maintaining the good qualities (breathable and lightweight).
  7. Knit - There are various types of knit, which vary from lightweight to medium weight. If you are looking for a garment that can really stretch, then knit is your most ideal option.
  8. Satin – This type of fabric can vary from heavyweight to lightweight, depending on the particular type of satin. This fabric also has a glossy appearance.
  9. Silk - There are several properties that make this fabric great – it is lightweight, drapes well and has a somewhat shimmery or glossy appearance. Silk is slippery, thus more difficult to work with. Even so, it makes an ideal lining fabric.
  10. Linen – This is a medium-weight fabric that doesn’t have much elasticity. It is a well-liked choice for warm-weather as it conducts heat very well.
  11. Wool – Wool comes in different types. In fact, there are more than 200 types of wool. There are forty different breeds of sheep that produce different types of wool. The weight of wool varies depending on the type of wool. This type of fabric is ideal for making colder weather garments.
  12. Flannel – this is a soft and lightweight fabric that works really well for colder-temperatures. It is used to make jackets, pants and shirts.

It should be noted that the weight of the fabric is one of the deciding factors of consideration when selecting a pattern. Lightweight usually require partners that are ideal for warm weather, and vice versa.