Guide to fabrics
Have you ever wondered about the different types of fabrics around us? What properties they have? What type of material to use for the next project?
It is so important to familiarise yourself with the properties of a fabric before jumping into your next project. Certain fabrics are more suitable to some projects and other fabrics work better in other projects. Different fabrics completely change the look and feel of your project.
In saying that though, there are no strict rules and if you want to make a quilt using denim instead of quilting cotton, you can absolutely do that! I actually believe that using unexpected fabrics in your projects (e.g. denim in a quilt) makes a project all the more special and unique. However, if you want your next summer dress to be lightweight and breathable, you probably won’t select a fabric like denim or polyester 🙂
I am only scratching the surface of the types of fabrics that are available for purchase. I decided to discuss the most commonly known and used fabrics and will maybe write another blog post in the future going into detail about some other lesser known fabrics and also separate blog posts going into a lot more detail for each individual fabric.
Like I said, only scratching the surface here 🙂
The most familiar one, cotton!
Cotton fabric is the most commonly used and known type of fabric across the world and a very broad term for many different types of fabric that sit under the ‘cotton fabric umbrella’. A basic feature of cotton is that it is mostly organically produced. Without any use of chemicals, cotton is extracted from the cotton plants directly, by plucking the roundly formatted, and white-colored fluffy fiber which encircles the mature seeds of the plant. It then undergoes extensive processing to look and feel like the cotton fabric we all know.
Cotton can be used in so many different ways; for instance, in the production of clothing, manufacturing of pillows, quilts, curtains, table cloths, etc. Its versatility makes cotton one of the most highly sought after fibers globally. Cotton is white/off-white in it’s natural form, but it can be dyed in a range of colours. Cotton fabric is a great option for all us sewing and quilting enthusiasts, as it is quite structured, does not fray a lot and is one of the easiest fabrics to work with, especially for beginners.
Linen, similar to cotton but a bit thicker!
Linen is derived from the flax plant and is made from the cellulose fibers that grow inside of the stalks of the plant. Just like cotton, linen is used in the manufacturing of garments including multiple types of apparel, bathroom or kitchen towels, soft table cloths and napkins. Linen is very breathable and lighter in weight than cotton. In summers, when it is really hot or humid, people love to wear linen because of its quality of reducing heat and keeping the body cool. It is extremely light and soft.
Artificial but worthwhile, Polyester!
Polyester is a synthetic man-made woven material. It is very popular around the world for its multiple uses and amazing texture quality. It is one of the most inexpensive fabrics used for clothing. It is wonderfully durable due to being a synthetic material. Stretching or tearing of this material is very uncommon, it is one of the sturdiest and most durability types of fabric. Unlike cotton or linen, it is not water absorbent however, it is wrinkle-resistant and maintains its shape no matter where you use it.
Denim, the evocative and iconic!
Probably one of the most loved and famous fabrics worldwide. It is widely in use by international brands for the manufacturing of jeans, jackets, shirts, handbags and shoes. Denim is one of those fabrics that sits under the ‘cotton fabric umbrella’ but definitely deserves its own mention, due to its popularity. We don’t put denim in the same draw as, say for example, quilting cotton, even though they technically are the same type of fabric. They are both produced from the cotton plants you saw above but they couldn’t be more different. Denim is a lot heavier in weight than quilting cotton and other cotton fabrics and its weight makes it very suitable for more structured projects, such as heavy clothing.
A breathable textile, Voile!
Voile is a woven fabric that is amazingly lightweight and soft. It is derived from pure cotton balls or cotton blends, which make the material absolutely similar to quilting cotton but lighter in weight. In most regions of the world, summers are the lengthiest period and people need to wear clothes that are not only soft, but also lightweight and heat redactors, voile is superlative in this regard.
Like I said, I am only scratching the surface and in future blogs I will go into A LOT more detail on each of these fabrics. Let me know if this was helpful and what you would like to know about each one of these fabrics, or if there are any other fabrics you would like some information on.
I will see you on my next post