FABRIC CHOICES, fabric choices, so many fabric choices!
Brushed poly? Liverpool? What on earth does it all mean???
What if I screw it up and waste my pretty fabric???
I remember well how overwhelmed I was over the hundreds of fabric options. The online resources weren’t available like they are now, and I learned a lot by trial and error. I made more than a few unwearable things. What? Drape matters? Don’t make an adult tank top out of cotton interlock because you will look and feel like a shapeless bag lady? Oops. I’m not sure what a bag lady is, but I cut up her interlock tank top and turned it into pajamas for my kid.
I also started out altering some shirts I didn’t like anymore. I made shirts and underwear for my kids out of my husband’s old t-shirts, and learned more about what worked and what didn’t. Using 100% cotton for bands for underwear resulted in underwear that fell off. What I needed was cotton spandex. Spandex, I learned, is not a fabric type, but an elastic fiber knitted into fabric to give it extra stretch for comfort, and recovery to make it spring back to it’s original size. (Lycra is simply a brand name for spandex.)
We want to help you make something wearable on your very first try. Yes, it is possible!
With all the fabric out there, let’s narrow it down first, to the ones that are better to learn on. What makes them easier to sew is they are mostly more stable knits (not super stretchy), the edges don’t curl up very much, making it easier to cut, clip, and sew, and they are not too slippery.
Athleisure – a thicker, athletic knit that is brushed to have a light peach-fuzz finish
Brushed polyester (also called double brushed poly or DBP) – a very popular, lightweight, stretchy fabric that is brushed to have a soft, peach-fuzz texture on usually both sides.
ChitoSante Extreme – a medium weight athletic knit with a matte finish.
Cotton Spandex – although cotton spandex can be a bit trickier to sew (the edges tend to curl) it is such an all around useful fabric, that it’s worth getting used to sewing it even as a beginner. This is what you use for shirts, leggings, pajamas, and so much more, including neckbands, waistbands, cuffs.
Double knit jacquard – a medium weight stable knit that has the pattern woven or knitted into the fabric. It mainly has horizontal stretch and minimal vertical stretch.
Liverpool – a medium-weight, less stretchy knit that sews very nicely. Liverpool has a lofty, textured finish, and a fuller drape, meaning it sways more away from the body instead of hanging straight down.
Fleece-back polyester spandex – smooth on the front, soft and fuzz on the back. This is a light-medium weight knit that makes excellent leggings, and is easy to sew.
Ponte – a stable, heavier knit used for making dress pants, fitted dresses and the perfect beginner project: pencil skirts.
Tri-blend jersey – a lightweight knit that is usually a blend of polyester, rayon and spandex.
French terry – a warmer, stable knit that feels like t-shirt fabric on the front side, and has tiny loops on the back like you’d see on the inside of a hoodie.
Sweater knit – a medium weight knit that makes great tops. It is generally made up of a mixture of rayon, cotton or polyester and spandex.