Fabric Tips

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How do I choose the right fabric?

Fabric Weight

Be aware of the fabric weight when selecting the right fabric for your project. Fabrics come in many weights, which will determine how they drape when finished. It is important to handle the fabric and check out how the fabric hangs when making the decision about whether it is appropriate for your project.

   
Do I need to preshrink interfacing?

Preshrink Sew-in Interfacing

Sew-in interfacing should be preshrunk by the same method of care that will be used for the finished garment. Dry-clean only interfacings can by preshrunk by steaming with a steam iron and letting it air dry before use.

   
How do I remove gum stuck to my clothes?

Removing Gum

Place fabric with gum in the freezer for several hours, making the gum hard and brittle. Gently tap on the gum with a hammer. Be careful not to damage the fabric fiber. Dry cleaning solvent may dissolve any remaining pieces. Test solvent in a small area for discoloration first.

   
What is knit fabric?

Knit Fabric

Knit fabric is made with a process of interlocking stitches. The knitting process creates vertical rows of stitches that hang on to each other. This process creates the stretch that knits are known for.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Check the Grainline

Some fabrics that are off grain when put on the bolt cannot be returned to a straight grain. It is a good idea to check fabric for straightness before purchasing. While at the store, unroll about a yard from the bolt. Lay it out matching up the selvages to see if it lays straight and the crosswise thread lay at a right angle from the selvage edge.

   
Do I need to preshrink interfacing?

Preshrink Interfacing

Sewers usually remember to preshrink fabric, but often forget about the interfacing. It is necessary to preshrink interfacing to avoid the distortion and puckering that occurs when the finished garment is cleaned. Preshrinking fusible interfacing will eliminate the bubbling that can occur during the fusing process.

   
Where should I buy my fabric?

Specialty Shops

Specialty shops, such as quilting or tailoring shops, will have fabrics and notions specific for the type of sewing that they cater to. These types of retailers are generally more expensive, but often have fabrics that are hard to find. The employees of specialty shops are usually more knowledgeable about their fabrics and sewing techniques.

   
How do I apply interfacing?

Block Fuse Interfacing

Fusing interfacing to the fabric before cutting out the pattern is known as block fusing. This method will eliminate concerns about shrinkage of pattern pieces from the fusing process and the fusing process is easier when working with a large piece of material. Cover a table with towels and lay the fabric out flat before fusing.

   
Do I need to preshrink interfacing?

Preshrink Fusible Interfacing

To preshrink fusible interfacing, place loosely folded interfacing in a tub of hot water and let it soak until the water is cool. Carefully squeeze out excess water by gently pressing it between two towels; do not wring. Drape over a shower rod or towel rack with the fusible resin side up and let air dry.

   
Where should I buy my fabric?

Internet

There are many great fabric suppliers and great bargains available through the internet. It is important to find an internet retailer that you feel comfortable with before you spend a lot of money with them. Many have programs where you can get fabric swatches and samples to look at before making a purchase.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Check Color

When matching colors or trying to find a particular color, you need to have natural light. Many fabric stores have poor lighting. When checking or comparing color, move to a window or doorway that has natural light. If necessary, check with a salesperson and step outside to get a better view of the fabric.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Width

Fabric usually comes either in 44 to 46 inch width or 54 to 60 inch width. Decorator fabrics are available in wider widths. Some specialty fabrics, such as silk come in narrower widths. Check your pattern to see what width is required to make your garment or project.

   
How determine the proper care for my fabric?

Check the Label

When purchasing fabric, make note of the information on label located on the end of the fabric bolt. This label will tell you the content of the fabric and the recommended care instructions for the fabric. Write this information on a card and keep with the fabric until you are ready to use it.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Pick the Right Mix

When making a lined garment or a garment that combines more than one fabric, make sure that all the fabrics can tolerate the same care. Mixing washable and dry-cleanable fabrics is not a good idea. Preshrinking is essential when mixing fabric because they may not all shrink at the same rate.

   
Where should I buy my fabric?

Chain and Discount Fabric Stores

Large chain and discount fabric stores will provide more selection and economical choices of fabric. These stores often have sales and special discounts. However, there is generally less knowledgeable service available from larger fabric stores and it is more important to know what you are buying.

   
What kind of interfacing should I use?

To Fuse or Not to Fuse

Fusible interfacings will add firmness and strength to a fabric. It is easier and faster to work with fusibles than sew-in interfacings. However, certain fabrics, like velvet, do not fuse well. Sew-in interfacing can be removed and replaced making it a safer option when you are unsure about your interfacing choice.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Consider Print

If the fabric you are considering has a repeating pattern or print, check at how often it repeats and where the pattern will sit on the garment. Some prints and patterns are beautiful, but are not appropriate for a particular garment.

   
What kind of interfacing should I use?

Choosing Interfacing

The type of interfacing you choose will depend on what you want for the finished garment. Do you want a firm tailored look or something soft and drapable? Woven interfacing will add strength and stability. Knit interfacings are more flexible and have more drape. Non-wovens are the least likely to shrink.

   
Where should I buy my fabric?

Garment Districts

Many larger cities across the country have garment districts. These districts have numerous stores all in one area that offer tremendous bargains. You will need to have knowledge of fabrics and a general idea of prices to get the best deals. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

   
Where should I buy my fabric?

Fabric Clubs

There are several fabric clubs available for fabric purchasing. Usually, there is an annual membership fee to join. Fabric swatches are sent to members on regular basis. This is a good way to get unique fabrics and coordinates. These clubs will usually provide additional information about care and recommended usage of their fabrics.

   
How do I choose the right fabric?

Pattern Recommendation

Most commercial patterns have information on the back of the envelope about fabrics for that particular garment design. There will be a recommendation of suitable fabrics and often a list of fabrics to avoid. It will tell you if it is appropriate for knit or stretch fabrics and will let you know if the pattern will work with fabrics that have an obvious design.

   
What is microfiber?

Microfiber

Microfiber material is made by weaving very thin synthetic fibers together into a fabric. It is usually made of polyester, but can be made of any synthetic fiber. It is woven with at least 200 threads per inch. Because the fibers are so fine, they are woven very tightly together, giving a very plush feeling fabric that drapes very well.

   
What is woven fabric?

Woven Fabric

Woven fabric is made on a loom with threads crossing over and under each other to form fabric. The warp threads go up and down, while the weft threads go from side to side. The content of the thread and the variation of the weave is what creates different types of woven fabric. Woven fabrics usually have more stability and less stretch.

   
How do I apply interfacing?

Test Fuse Interfacing

The bonding process for most interfacings is meant to be permanent. Test fuse a piece of fabric before using it on your garment pieces. Make sure that the combination of fabric and interfacing is giving you the result that you want. This is a time to try different types of interfacing and practice fusing techniques.

   
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