Becoming familiar with fabric

Fabric is what makes a garment: it exerts its own properties onto the piece of clothing you make. Choosing fabric is exciting, as you are being presented with shelves full of possibilities. You can look at each fabric and paint a mental image of your future garment made from this particular textile.

There are two main pointers when it comes to fabric shopping.

1. Get physically involved

When you are in a fabric shop, scan over the fabrics and approach whichever one takes your eye – take a corner of the fabric and rub it between you thumb and fingers, take the end of it in both hands and give it a couple of sharp tugs, first one way and then the other. Is it stretchy? Does it have any ‘give’ at all? Is it rough, soft, starchy, brushed, velvety? Think about how these properties will exert themselves onto your future garment.

2. Ask questions

Fabric shop staff are usually very knowledgeable about their stock, and often have a fondness for it too. Ask them questions. By asking questions you can start to tie together what you learn about fabric from feeling it with the more formal facts about fabric and its properties.

Please have a look at the DIYcouture guide to fabric shops in London...