Learn all about fabric and how to use it for sewing projects. There are so many different kinds of fabric and ways to use them.
Sometimes when I’m sitting next to someone, I can tell the clothes they are wearing are made out of the most beautiful fabric. I just want to reach out and touch it.
One of my favorite things is walking through a fabric store looking at and touching all the fabrics. There’s so much to learn about fabric and how to use it, so let’s get into it.
All About Fabric for Sewing
What is Fabric?
Fabric is cloth or other flexible material produced by weaving or knitting fibers together. There are so many different kinds of fibers and combinations of fibers to create all different kinds of fabric.
Fabric can be heavy or light, stretchy or not, matte or shiny, strong or weak, etc. There’s different fabric for whatever sewing project you want to make.
Knit Fabric vs Woven Fabric
Woven fabric is made by weaving threads over and under each other perpendicularly. The threads are pulled between the selvedges (side to side) to create fabric that does not stretch. When spandex is added to the fibers, the woven fabric can have a little bit of stretch.
Knit fabric comes in all weights and stiffness. It can be made from lots of different fibers and fiber blends.
Knit fabric is yarns or threads looped around each other. When the fabric is pulled the the loops pull against each other. The space in between creates space for the fabric to move and stretch.
Knit fabric comes in all weights and stretches. It can be made from lots of different fibers and fiber blends.
What can I make out of fabric?
Anything can be sewn out of fabric that is fabric based. The options are endless. You can make small projects that use scraps of fabric, and you can make large projects that use several yards of fabric.
Quilting cotton is the best beginner woven fabric since it’s easy to find and easy to sew. There are so many fun sewing projects to make out of quilting cotton like wallets, blankets, baskets, scrunchies, etc.
Jersey knit is the best beginner knit fabric since it’s easy to find and easy to sew. It’s great for scrunchies, headbands, skirts, scarves, etc.
What is the grainline, crossgrain, and bias of fabric?
When talking about woven fabric the grainline, crossgrain, and bias comes up a lot. The grainline is the direction of the fabric that goes the longest. The grainline is parallel to the selvedge.
The crossgrain of the fabric goes side to side and from selvedge to selvedge. It is only long as the fabric is wide.
The bias is the diagonal part of the fabric at a 45 degree angle from the selvedge.
When talking about knit fabric, the most important part of the fabric is the crossgrain which is where the fabric stretches the most. You’ll use this to make sure the knit item still stretches.
Should I prewash my fabric?
If you are using fabric to make clothing you should definitely prewash and dry the fabric. Treat the fabric the same way the finished clothing will be treated to get all the shrinkage out before cutting and sewing.
If you are using fabric to make a quilt you should not prewash and dry the fabric. You want to wash the quilt once it’s finished to get the fabric to shrink up like the perfectly puckered and softened quilts.
Where to Buy Fabric Online
There are so, so many online fabric shops that sell so many different kinds of fabric. Some specialize in woven fabric, some specialize in knit fabric, some specialize in quilt fabric, and some carry lots of fancy fabric name brands. You have to try out a couple of shops to find what you like.
Where I like to buy fabric:
- Raspberry creek fabrics – knit fabric
- Stylemaker fabrics – apparel fabric
- Blackbird fabrics – apparel fabric
- Sewing Studio – apparel fabric
- Fabric.com – anything and everything
- Joann Fabrics – anything and everything
Read about my favorite places to buy fabric for a more details!
If you make something using this sewing project, I’d love to see! Please share it on social media with the hashtag #heatherhandmade and tag me!