10 Tips to Choose Fabric for Clothing

Anyone can cut and sew a straightforward garment — top, dress, skirt — but if you want to venture further into the world of clothing construction, choosing fabric is one area where you should become more confident. Choosing the right fabric for clothes is not always easy, but there are certain techniques that can help make it easier.

How To Choose Right Fabric For Clothing

Here are ten tips to consider when choosing fabric for clothing:

1 . General suitability

First of all, you need to ask yourself some questions about what kind of garments you want to make. Are they for special occasions or everyday use? Do they need to be durable or hardwearing? You may also have specific requirements depending upon your size. For example, do the fabrics on offer cope well with curves? Are you a size 10 or a plus-size 18?

2. Your budget

Once you’ve decided on the type of garment and your specific requirements, think about how much money you want to spend. You can then use this information to whittle down your potential choices and focus on the fabrics that match both your requirements and your budget.

3. Fabric appearance and quality

Think about how important appearance is for your chosen garments — it’s not always an easy thing to do when selecting fabric online or in a shop, but there are few things worse than discovering after sewing that the fabric looks nothing like it did in the shop (I speak from experience!). Try hardwearing fabrics such as Cordura® nylon where appearance isn’t so important.

4. Pattern markings

Don’t forget to look for which way the fabric is printed/dyed, especially when choosing woven fabrics. If you are making a garment with pattern pieces that need to match, then make sure both sides of the fabric appear the same.

It can take some practice but, if you hold it up to a window or strong light source, you should be able to tell which side faces outwards and therefore will show on your finished garments.

5 . Garment construction requirements

If you are unsure about what kind of cloth would work best for your chosen clothes project, find an existing garment that is similar in style and examine the label. This will usually give you some clues about the type of fabric and its intended use (e.g., “cotton shirt”, “polyester dress”).

If no specific fabric is listed, then you can assume that the garment was made from a standard type of cloth that could be used again.

6 . Garment style and design

Certain types of clothing lend themselves to particular fabrics. For example, dressy garments such as evening wear are usually made from richly-coloured shiny fabrics whereas casual clothes or workwear might use more utilitarian materials such as denim or drill cotton. Equally, a tailored jacket requires a different approach to a boxy pinafore dress.

Again, think about what qualities your chosen fabric needs to have in order for it to do its job effectively – which brings me on nicely…

7 . Fabric drape and texture

Fabrics with drapes do not hold their shape very well, while fabrics with a good “body” hold their shape even when lying flat (technically this is referred to as stiffness or rigidity). You can examine fabric for drape by flicking it over your finger and thumb; firm fabrics will not give much. For more body, try samples of wool flannel or knitted sweater yarns.

8 . Fabric weight

The thickness of fabric usually indicates how heavy it is to wear. Heavyweight cloths are great for heavier garments that have little or no stretch in them but tend to be stiffer and therefore suitable for tailored items only, whereas lightweight cloths are ideal for flowing dresses and tops where you want to show off curves.

Thinner yet flexible materials are best suited to woven garments with lots of stretch in them, such as T-shirt fabrics.

9 . Fabric versatility and durability

If you are making a garment from scratch, choose a fabric that is versatile enough for you to make more than one thing with it. For example, a printed cotton shirt pocket fabric could be used for different shirt styles or dresses. If you don’t plan on making anything else then you can go wild and splurge on the most expensive silk satin if that’s your heart’s desire!

However, if you’re going for something cheaper but equally pretty, think about how many times it will get worn before being consigned to the back of the cupboard forevermore… I know which side of the fence I’m on!

10 . Fabric colour and pattern matching

As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to choose contrast fabric colours that relate well to each other as this helps them blend together on the finished garment. For example, you could use a bright white floral cotton for your dress bodice with a dark purple corduroy for your skirt – you’ll see where I’m going with this!

If you would like the fabrics to “complement” one another then think about using natural fibres such as wool or silk that tend to be a warm tone compared to polyester/acrylics which are cooler colours. Shopping for fabrics can be fun but you must ensure that your chosen cloth has suitable qualities before cutting into it.


I hope you this article helps you in choosing the fabric for your clothing and must watch my next article you will also like this. Keep watching and subscribe our website to get notifications on our new post. Thank you!

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