Using Fabric Correctly Can Create Fabulous Designs

Here are some fabric facts to consider.

Although it may seem intuitive, there is a certain amount of planning that goes into matching the right material with a pattern.

Not only must the right material be chosen for construction of the garment, but there are other details that must be taken into account in order to produce a beautiful garment that you would be proud to wear.

One of the first things I have learned is that one should keep a swatch notebook. This notebook contains detailed information about each swatch and builds a record of each piece of material that is worked with. In this way if the material is used again for a project, there is a record of how it was handled to create the perfect finished project.

Some important things to remember when preparing to create the garment is to first identify what material you have. What does this mean? This means identifying the fiber content, structure, type including texture, weight, transparency, and surface design.

Once the material has been identified, then knowing how to correctly cut and sew the material takes into account:

What sewing machine to use

What settings on the sewing machine work best

Which is the best sewing machine foot to use

What type of thread to use

How to lay the material out on the pattern for cutting (yes, this does make a difference)

What size hand sewing needles to use for any hand stitching that must be done

What type of markers to use

What type of supplies and equipment will be needed, such as pins, shears, scissors, stabilizers or an iron

What type of seam works best

What type of hem is best for the garment

How should the seam be finished, should it be by using a zig zag stitch or by using a serger

Whether bias tape or bindings are needed

If the garment needs interfacing what weight of interfacing will work best

If the garment requires a lining, what type and weight of lining material will work best

What type of closure will work best-zipper, buttons or snaps

All of these factors must be considered to produce the best finished garment.

I found and have used some excellent resources over the years to help me to improve my ability to work with fabrics. I actually found these books online at These four books have turned out to be real gems. The books are:

Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina

More Fabric Savvy by Sandra Betzina

Sew Any Fabric by Claire Shaeffer

Fabric Sewing Guide by Claire Shaeffer You might say, wow, I’m not trying to be a fashion designer; I just want to make a simple skirt. It does not matter whether you are making a simple skirt, blouse or an entire outfit, failing to plan how to correctly use the material that you have purchased, is nothing more than a waste of time, money and energy and will result in failure to achieve the result that you desire.

Taking the need to plan how to best use your material seriously, can result in a genuine feeling of both pleasure and accomplishment and a garment that you will be proud to show off and to wear for a long, long time.

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