When you’re working on sewing projects, you’ve got to know the kind of fabric necessary for your project. The right cloth texture, the right weight, the way a fabric flows or hangs — these factors all make a difference in the success of your project. For example, you don’t want to use a lightweight, breezy fabric like tulle if you’re making formal drapes for the living room.
Since there are literally thousands of types of fabric out there, we thought we’d pull together a list for you for getting started on some of your projects.
This kind of material in the past was more used for things like ribbing in corsets and bustles, but in recent years, bamboo fabric has become useful for:
- Wicking fabrics (sports wear)
- Summer wear
Who doesn’t love a good cotton texture? The light, airy, gentle feel of cotton fabric is breathable, comfortable, and one of the healthiest fabrics to wear because of that breathability. Cotton fabrics are used in various forms for:
- Terrycloth bath towels
- Denim blue jeans
- Bed sheets
Typically brocade fabrics are used for heavier projects like drapes because of the weight of the material. This fabric texture is elegant, durable, and refined. It comes in a variety of patterns and colors, and is technically an embossed cloth. Other uses for brocade include:
- Period costumes—like medieval gowns
- Traditional clothing (like Indian Saris)
Linen fabric is one of those fine, high quality fabrics that has a variety of uses across the home. It works beautifully for table cloths, one of its long time traditional uses, but is also great for bed sheets, upholstery, dresses, and suits. Linen can be used for handkerchiefs, scarves, skirts, and even luggage.
Gingham is a type of cotton fabric that is light, breezy, and has a sort of comfortable vibe. Its most traditionally recognized use is that off fabric table cloths for picnics, but it’s often used for curtains as well. Other uses include:
- Button down shirts
- Summer dresses
- Other household linens
There are a variety of knit fabrics available. One of the most comfortable, easy to wear materials is the Jersey knit. This material is great for softly shaped dresses, shirts, and pullovers.
This fabric is often used for wallpaper. You know, Damask wallpaper, that fine, beautiful cloth wallpaper in formal living rooms and hotels. This fabric was formerly always made from silk, but the term now refers more to a style of weaving than the actual material of the fabric. Uses for Damask often include:
- Table cloths
- Fine wallpaper
This luxurious, soft fabric tends to run very warm. It’s expensive, beautiful, and heavy, so it’s usually used for things like cold weather clothing, stage curtains for the theater, padding for jewelry boxes, and fine gowns.
This heavy, dark fabric is generally used for making dark draperies known as blackout curtains. Because of the denseness of the material, dark colors, and heaviness, it’s perfect for blocking out light, whether it’s for bedrooms, theaters, or photography studios.
Originally known for use in sacks made for course materials such as potatoes, this roughly texture fabric has gained popularity in recent years as a rustic, decorative fabric. Events such as weddings, banquets, fundraisers, and Christmas affairs, use this fabric in a variety of colors as ribbons, table accents and other decorative pieces.
Lace is one of those fabrics that is extremely breathable, and generally not very warm. It is usually layered over solid materials, like silk or nylon. It can be used for overlays on dresses, or shirts, is often used as decorative material for wedding gowns and other formal wear, and often is used for intimate clothing like lingerie.
This material probably sounds familiar if you use a lot of electronics or wear glasses. Microfiber is used particularly for making cleaning cloths for delicate screens and electronics. This material is also heavily used for athletic wear, like cycling or jogging gear.
This material is a stretch nylon fabric. It is typically used for under garments used for compression wear, like compression hose.
Knowing your fabrics is important. If you’re making heavy drapes, you may consider velvet, damask, or brocade. If you’re planning on a breezy button down top, you’re looking at something like pure cotton, gingham, or Jersey knit. Do that study before investing in your projects. Ask some experts, like the folks at Stout Fabrics for your upholstery needs, or Craftsy for your day-to-day wear or costumes.