Friday, June 15, 2012

{It's all about the F word. You were thinking Fabric right?}

Fabric. I love it. I love the pattern designs, the feel and the creativity. I love when I walk through a fabric store looking at every single isle and every rack. I love running my hand over each fabric and understanding its texture. By touch I feel how soft and flow-y it is or how tough and ridged. At times, I fall in love with a fabric. I can get so excited that I beam a the biggest smile alive, and get the biggest butterfly in my stomach. I literally fall in love with it and absolutely must have it. I am madly in love with modern designs and interesting prints. I like creativity and color. 

Shopping for fabric can be fun or awfully difficult depending on where you live. I know some fabric lovers who live hundreds of mile away from the nearest Joannes and I also know some that live close to fabric warehouses that hold enough fabric to fit a Costco {I know I am feeling the jealousy too}. There are some amazing online sites for fabric too. I have spent a lot of time "window" shopping on them and adding all too many to my wish list. Today I am going to talk all about where and how to shop for fabrics. 

A basic fabric starter kit. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

{Plain-weave cotton } Describes a woven fabric this is mostly used today. Those who quilt, mostly use 100% cotton plain weave fabrics.  These fabrics can be any weight, but the majority of these "quilt-weight" fabrics feel strong with a hint of softness. The only problem with these fabrics is that they do not drape {flow} well and their tendency is to "cone" {which means that they will create They do not tend to drape well and tend to “cone,” {meaning they create peaks when they fall from folds and pleats}.  You can make lovely clothing from a quilt-weight cotton, but it won’t necessarily drape well{flowy} or clingy. 

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
{Jersey Knit} Describes a knit fabric. It is a fantastic fabric for clothing as it is drapes {flows} clings to the body well. My favorite aspect of this type of fabric is that it is stretchy. Which means that clothing is easier to put on. This type of fabric is a little more difficult to sew because of the stretch and you may want to practice a few times before starting your project to get the hang of how to sew it {which means you must sew it slowly pushing it through the "needle feeder"}. 

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{Polyester} Describes a man-made fiber that is used almost everywhere. You can definitely find some fantastic polyester fabrics in stores; However, I would by all means avoid shopping for them online because polyester can feel like cotton or silk it is extremely difficult to know how the fabric will feel or drape.
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{Twill} Describes a type of woven fabric {that has a diagonal parallel ribbing}. You may know twill fabrics as being called denim, chino, tweed or serge. It is a very thick fabric that is great for pants, or home decor. Twill does "cone" {meaning they create peaks when they fall from folds and pleats} which means they are not a very good fabric for draping. 

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{Voile} Describes a soft and sheer fabric. This type is made of either 100% cotton or a cotton and polyester blend. This fabric is used for soft home furnishings like curtains or to add layers for clothing like dresses {You know those little girl tutu skirts that are all the rage, voile is how}. One problem with voile is that some are not to be used for long use or wear and tear. I would suggest shopping in a store for voile to be sure you can feel the fabric to tell if it is not too flimsy. 

{A store}

If you are shopping at a location, a store where you can feel the fabric you are going to be much better off. Especially if you are buying a fabric for it's stretch-y-ness or for how soft it is, or how it flows. There are so many types of fabric it can get confusing to a newbie and even a long time sewer like myself. This is why I like to touch every fabric. If I like the feel and the look, I will pick it up, open it a little and see how it flows by shaking it a little. Get to know your favorite fabrics. Personally I love plain woven cotton twills. 

If you are working off a pattern, all patterns should have listed the type of fabric to buy and when you head to the fabric store you can just have an employee point you in the right direction. 

If you aren't sure what kind of fabric you want, the easy thing to do is know the basic fabrics that I listed above and then go out and feel and look at every fabric in every isle. Get to know you fabric stores, they will become your best friend if you know them inside and out. 

{Online Shopping} 

For those who don't know the type of fabric they need but are trying to figure out what they want for a project they have been designing themself's or found on pinterest you will probably want to know more about fabric to get the look you want with your finished project. Please refer to my list above for a great base knowledge of fabrics. 

It can be hard to know which online fabric stores buy good quality fabrics and which do not. 

{My Favorite online fabric stores}

{SpoonFlower}{Here you can buy other peoples fabric designs or make your own}
{Etsy} {Search etsy for either hand stamped fabrics, or modern fabrics, even scrap fabric. You can get some great deals and designs from original textile design artists}.

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