Understanding Fabric Types for Your Sewing Projects
Exploring Fabric Types for Your Sewing Adventures
When embarking on a sewing project, your choice of fabric is influenced by its visual appeal, texture, and intended purpose. To ease the overwhelming task of navigating through various fabric types, here's a breakdown of some fundamental types along with their typical uses.
Woven vs. Knitted Fabrics:
Woven fabrics, ranging from lightweight to heavy, are produced on a loom. Knitted fabrics, either warp or weft knitted, exhibit different characteristics. Warp knits (e.g., tricot, milanese, raschel) are machine-made and offer the most stretch. Weft knits (e.g., double-knit, interlock, jersey-knit, purl-knit, rib-knit) can be done by hand or machine.
Common Fabric Types:
- Solid Cotton: Basic fabric available in various weights and solid colors; no stretch, machine washable, but may shrink.
- Printed Cotton: Popular choice due to its cute designs; easy to sew with, comes in different weights, and lacks stretch. Pay attention to matching larger designs on seams.
- Wool: Woven fabric made from sheep fleece spun into yarn; used for coats, tailored garments, and home décor; typically requires dry cleaning.
- Fleece: Soft, fuzzy, knit fabric with a bit of stretch; available in thick or thin types, including sweatshirt fleece with a smooth side; machine washable.
- Corduroy: Woven fabric with raised parallel lines (wales) that can be narrow or wide; easy to sew, machine washable, and highly durable.
- Knit Fabric: Soft, stretchy, and comfortable; comes in various weights with two-way or four-way stretch; suitable for diverse clothing items; machine washable.
- Silk: Lightweight, delicate fabric commonly used in clothing; can be sheer or slippery; usually dry cleaned due to fragility. Pay attention to finishing seams as silk edges may fray.
Understanding Nap in Fabrics: A Visual and Tactile Experience
Understanding these fabric types will empower you to make informed decisions for your sewing projects.
Examining corduroy fabric illustrates the impact of nap, a characteristic shared with velvet, suede, and flannel. Fabrics with pile or nap have raised threads on the surface that can be smoothed down with your hand. When sliding your hand in one direction, causing the threads to lie flat, the texture feels smooth; sliding in the opposite direction makes the threads stand up, resulting in a rough feel.
It's crucial to cut pattern pieces following both the nap and the grain. When sewing pieces together with the nap going in different directions, the fabric's color will appear different. To ensure proper alignment, additional fabric may be required as pieces need to be laid out in a specific direction—refer to the provided measurement for accuracy.