How to Choose the Right Fabric for Clothes
Shubham Anil Jain
Cent Edge Solutions LLP, Bangalore, India
The fabric you select can make the difference between a garment that looks beautiful and a garment that appears like something you would have purchased at the mall or from a high street store when it comes to creating fashion or even just producing your own garments. Frequently, people are let down by their creations—not because the fit is improper or the pattern style is unsuitable—but rather because the cloth they chose wasn’t truly appropriate. This is a result of a lack of knowledge about the many fabric kinds, the fibres used to make them, how they are constructed, or even how the print or fabric colour might affect a design.
Factors to Consider While Choosing Right Fabric for Clothes:
a) The type of fabric:
It goes without saying that the fabric type is a crucial factor to take into account when selecting fabric for clothes. I’ve already written a lengthy piece about the various fabrics, so I’ll just summarise everything here. Materials are divided into:
- Weaving weft strands across a warp yarn results in woven cloth.
- Knitted cloth is made by knitting a single continuous yarn.
- Non-grain materials lack the distinct grain line that can be observed in woven and knitted fabrics, hence materials like felt and leather are regarded as non-grain.
But can also be categorized according to how much fibre they contain:
- Man made
b) Look at the fabric drape:
The flowing nature of the fabric is determined by the drape characteristics. So, basically textiles that are stiff in nature will have fewer drapes, while fabrics that are soft and smooth will have more. But use this phrase with caution. Drape and weight are two independent aesthetic variables that influence clothing yet are sometimes misconstrued. Contrary to a fabric with a soft drape, which will cause the skirt to fold inward towards your body, a fabric with more drapes will cause the garment to float away from your body. It is seen that, one should go for selecting a thin, well-draping fabric if want a flowing skirt, whereas a stiff, dense kind of fabric is best suited for a more structured skirt.
c) Touch & feel:
The most crucial aspect of a cloth is how it feels to the touch. While popular textiles like cotton, silk, and chiffon have a similar feel to them, some fabrics may have a distinctive feel that may require some getting used to. For instance, silk fabric is renowned for its silky feel, while warm textiles like wool are known for their warm feeling, while cotton provides a cool and airy feeling. As a result, you should think about the desired touch and feel when purchasing cloth. The weather will also influence this choice. In India, cotton is the material of choice for most casual clothing, but in the northern areas, silk and polyester are more popular.
d) Consider the fabric weight:
Fabric’s weight is generally expressed in grams per square metre (GSM), which tells about the heaviness of the fabric. You don’t need to weigh the cloth at the store, so don’t worry. When it comes to the thickness of the fabric, it can be determined by simply weighing the fabric and determining if it is light, medium or heavy weight fabric. Here are a few fabrics listed according to their classification (these classifications may alter depending on how the fabric is treated; dyeing and printing may vary the cloth weight).
1. Lightweight Fabric: These materials are airy. They can wrinkle a little but are usually suitable for wearing all year round. These fabrics have outstanding drape and are excellent for corporate attire. It’s best to start with light cotton that has a close weave because it’s typically simple to sew with and frequently has a light fall.
2. Medium Weight Fabric: Year-round textiles fall within this group, which also contains numerous more informal weaves. On their own, they typically resist wrinkling rather well. Although some whites will still be seen through these textiles, they have no problems with opacity.
3. Heavyweight Fabric: These materials are among the heaviest and lean towards the more casual end of the spectrum. It generally has a tendency to retain heat effectively and is basically highly robust. For garments you wish to have more shape in yet still sew easily, heavy handloom cotton or heavy handloom khadi cloth is ideal. Be aware that heavy cotton tends to be fairly stiff when picking fabric for a project, and make sure this has been taken into consideration.
e) Analyze the fabric stretch:
It is the degree to which a fabric generally stretches. The tendency of textile fibres to “bounce back” once it is being stretched, which differs among fabrics. Stretch fabrics can be easily changed, how the finished item fits the body, therefore one should be sure enough that it works with the pattern before selecting one.
f) Cleanability of the fabric:
People should also consider how easy it is to handle the fabric. The tendency of a spill or stain occurring at any time makes this a frequent concern. Experts generally advises to choose materials that can be easily dry-cleaned. Different prints, marker ink, wine stains, and ice cream are a some of the basic examples of stains that consumers may come across with their fabric. Some fabric stains set more tightly than another, making them more difficult to remove. Before making a choice, public who is worried about getting stains out of their fabric and garments can inquire about the material’s ability to be cleaned.
g) Durability of the fabric:
It is important to take the fabric’s durability into consideration. It is something that will be used every day going to be covered with the fabric. In this scenario, the fabric must be able to sustain the damage that results from multiple uses. The cloth needs to be stronger enough than the usual condition. On the other side of the case, customers may have a little more freedom in terms of fabric selection if the fabric is going on a piece that is merely stylish and elegant. Think about the fabric’s usability and durability as a important factor for cloth selection.
h) The chances of fabric to fade:
The amount of fading in fabrics is one of the most frequent concerns. An individual should think about where in their home this fabric will be located when choosing a particular fabric material. The fabrics are supposed to fade if it will be exposed to a lot of sunshine. It could be preferable to choose a cloth that is already light in color to help alleviate this. In this manner, the faded appearance won’t be as noticeable. Consider the fabric’s intended location as well as how much sun exposure will cause issues. This will have an effect on how quickly the cloth ages.
When selecting a fabric for clothing, one must first consider elements like the fabric’s material, weight, grainline, thread count, and yarn count. Choosing the right fabric for your design enhances both its aesthetics and practicality. You can find a lot of options for your purpose with India’s handlooms and textiles. Choosing fabric for clothes can be challenging because it is available in a wide range of weights, colours, textures, designs, fibers, weaves, stretches, and stretch wovens.
- What To Look For When Selecting A Fabric, Alexander Blank Fabrics & Design, Oct 15, 2019, https://www.alexblankfabrics.com/what-to-look-for-when-selecting-a-fabric
- How to Choose Fabric for Sewing Clothes, By Heather Handmade, January 19, https://www.heatherhandmade.com/how-to-choose-fabric-for-sewing-clothes/
- Choose The Right Fabric To Make Clothes, https://anuprerna.com/blog/choose-the-right-fabric-to-make-clothes
- How To Choose The Right Fabric For Your Clothes, DhruvitShah, April 06, 2022, https://sourceitright.com/blogs/online-fabric-story/how-to-choose-the-right-fabric-for-your-clothes
- How To Choose Fabric For Clothing, By: AuthorEve Tokens, September 17, 2022 , https://www.thecreativecurator.com/how-to-choose-fabric-for-clothing/
- 3 Key Points to Choosing the Right Fabric, https://blog.makersvalley.net/3-key-points-to-choose-the-right-fabric
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Founder & Editor of Textile Learner. He is a Textile Consultant, Blogger & Entrepreneur. He is working as a textile consultant in several local and international companies. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.