When buying fabrics, you want the very best but sometimes the choices are many and it can feel a little confusing when you are in a textile showroom. The first thing that will, of course, attract you will be the color and patterns of the fabrics on display. However, that is only one element of the fabric by the yard, there are many other elements that you need to consider for you to buy the best fabric. Some of the things you must look out for when buying fabrics are as follows:
1. Quality of the fabric
Before you even check whether it’s linen, cotton, polyester or nylon, you must feel it against your skin and feel whether it is of good quality. The fabric must be blemish free especially when it comes to things such as dye, print, fibers, tears and so on. The quality should be perfect because if the fabric has blemishes, you will no doubt have clothes made that will depict those imperfections in the fabric.
2. Type of Fabric
Fabrics are mainly categorized as natural, synthetic or a blend of both. Good examples of natural fabrics are Cotton, Linen, denim, leather, silk. Synthetic fabrics are such as Polyester, rayon, spandex, DTY fabric, Acrylic, Nylon and so on. Fabrics with a blend of natural and synthetic fibers are also perfect for making clothes as long as they are in perfect condition. So, ask yourself whether you want to buy natural, synthetic or fabrics that are a blend of both. Natural fabrics tend to cost more compared to synthetic ones so your budget here will also have a role to play.
3. Color Fastness
As you check your fabric out, make sure that the color is even minus any spots or streaks. Closely scrutinize the fabric and note any signs of uneven dyeing. If you happen to notice any areas with colors fading especially on the fold line you should move on to another fabric. When you see light colors in some parts of the fabric, unless it is a design of the fabric, don’t buy it because that is a sign that the color will fade when you wash the fabric. If you have to test it then use a white handkerchief or cotton ball which you have dampened and then rub it on a small part on the fabric, if the color appears on the kerchief or cotton then the fabric is not of good quality.
4. Suitability and Location
You probably have some sort of garment in mind when buying the fabric and you have to know the suitability of the fabric then. For example, you cannot make wool swimsuit or cotton sports clothes or polyester baby clothes. Think of the occasion and the place where the garments will be worn as you choose the fabrics to make them. Wool will not do in a desert environment and chiffon will definitely not be right for visiting the cold alpine region. The cotton fabric would be perfect for summer clothes since they are perfect for cooling the skin.
You have to consider the shrinkage factor when choosing your fabric. You have to know if the fabric will shrink after getting washed. Every fabric shrinks differently. In order to be on the safe side, by an extra 10% of fabric. If you can consider a preshrunk fabric which will not give you trouble. Preshrunk fabrics have labels such as “Sanforised“, “Mercirised” and so on.
The color of the fabric is very important especially if you are choosing the fabric to make your own dress. Choose a color that agrees with your skin tone to make the dress even more beautiful on you. If it’s a wedding color and you are buying fabric to make several dresses, just ensure that the color is in accordance with the `wedding theme color. Shop for the fabric in broad daylight and not after sunset if you are going to an actual brick and mortar shop. Artificial lighting can in some cases distort the color which is why you need natural light to tell the real color.
Just remember that once the fabric has been cut from the bolt, you cannot return it when you realize it’s the wrong color after buying it. It will not be accepted, and you will be forced to spend more on the right color of material this time around. This could really put a dent on your budget.
You might be considering buying patterned fabric after you see the various appealing patterns on display. Just take into great consideration the fact that there will be pattern repeat in these fabrics which should influence the cutting. The motifs on the fabric have to be distributed in a systematic manner by being placed correctly especially at the seams. Be careful and ensure that the fabric doesn’t become distorted or when matched up or lined to create the garment. When it comes to patterns, choose one that will best represent the fashion look you intend to achieve with the dress created in the end.
8. The Fabric Grain
This should be a major consideration when buying fabrics because as much as you buy the most attractive fabric, it might present some challenges if the grain isn’t right. With the wrong grain on the fabric, the outfit you make with it will hang wrong. The moment you realize the grain of the fabric is all wrong don’t buy it to avoid further complications down the road.
9. Fabric weight
The fabric weight is in most cases determined by factors such as the fiber type, weave and so on. The weight of the fabric can be indicated by GSM which can vary from 60-700. A denim fabric, for example, will have a GSM of 400 of course depending on the weave. Just remember that a higher fabric weight does not necessarily mean that the fabric is of fine quality. The fabric weight should mainly influence suitability. Knowing the fabric weight will help you compare various types of fabrics and decide on the best fabric for garments of certain occasions and environments.
Buying fabrics shouldn’t be a headache now that you know what to look for, thanks to the above list. Go out there and shop for the fabric of your dreams and transform it into the most fashionable designs of garments.