Sunday, November 23, 2014

How to Choose the Best Fabric for Sewing Projects

It's late November already and to say I am severely slacking in my progress of the great article migration is a gross understatement. Time is a precious commodity, and I just never seem to have enough of it. Add to that my recent computer problems and it will be a miracle if I manage to save my published articles on Helium from disappearing into oblivion.

After spending what seemed like several hours on someone else's computer trying to figure out how to access my account (when I'm used to not having to type in a web address) and finally gaining access, I realized that for many of the "Where to find..." type titles, I would not simply be able to copy and paste, click save, preview, and publish.

The reality of having to take out the time to re-check all the hyperlinks and update the previously published information created a new problem. Then, all of a sudden, it occurred to me that I didn't have to publish the articles at once in order to transfer them. I could simply save them as drafts and re-publish as I had time.

Whew! Thank heaven for small favors!

So without further ado...

How to Choose the right Fabric for a Sewing Project

Choosing the right fabric for a sewing project is very important. The wrong fabric can cause a number of issues with a garment, accessory or home décor item. The right fabric can mean the difference between proper fit, durability and easy care, while the wrong fabric can spell disaster.
• Clothing
When sewing clothing from a store-bought sewing pattern, it is easy to find the right fabric for the job. On back of every sewing pattern there is a guide to help determine exactly what type of fabric is suitable for the item you wish to sew. The pattern’s guide will also list fabrics that are unsuitable for the garment as well.
There are a number of reasons to follow the guidelines on back of the pattern when deciding on an appropriate fabric for your project. Patterns that are suitable for stretchy fabrics are generally not suitable for non-stretch fabrics as those fabrics do not have the give of knit fabrics. Using a non-stretch fabric in this instance will result in an ill-fitting garment.
Patterns for blouses and dresses that call for soft fabrics such as silk would not be suitable for heavier or stiffer, less flexible fabrics such as taffeta or wool and vice versa. Patterns for casual clothing or children’s play clothes, are generally best suited to fabric that is easy to care for such as cotton or linen, which is both durable and machine washable.
• Household items for indoors and out
To find a suitable fabric for a home décor item, sewing patterns also provide help, but not everything is made from a purchased pattern. Throw pillows, for instance can easily be made by cutting a square piece of fabric, sewing up the seams, and stuffing the pillow with fiber fill. Choosing the fabric for the pillow will depend on where it is to be used.
Indoors, pillows for the bed or sofa can be made of almost any washable fabric, but outdoors a heavier, more durable fabric is required such as canvas. A large pillow to be used as a bed for a dog or other pet, should also be made from a durable fabric that is easy to clean.
Table linens, bed quilts, runners, hot pads and so forth are generally not suited for silky fabrics and certain knits. Quilts though, can be made from silk, as long as the type of silk used is one that is washable, otherwise the quilt will have to be dry cleaned. Many stretch fabrics are made with synthetic fibers which makes them unsuitable for kitchen use for items such as hot pads.
• Accessories and toys
Hats, handbags and toys all have different fabric requirements. The silky fabric used for an evening bag is obviously not suitable for a child’s doll. The fleece or felt used for a simple winter hat, while durable, may not be the best choice for a clutch purse to match an after five or cocktail outfit.
When making dolls, doll clothing, soft blocks, or stuffed toys the fabric requirements are quite different from garments or household items. While a variety of fabrics are suitable for these items (cotton jersey, muslin, fleece), there are several, such as wool, that are not.
Sometimes finding the right fabric isn’t just about texture. Surface design such as stripes, diagonals or other “obvious” prints, may not work as well for your sewing project as you might expect. These types of fabrics are harder to cut to have the prints line up, especially when sewing clothing.
Finding the right fabric for your sewing project is a matter of matching the right weight and texture to the item you are making and, in the case of patterned fabric, choosing the right design to compliment your finished item.