Sep 21, 2008

Making a Fabric Chart

My inspiration comes from fabric. Most of the time I stare at my fabric stash to decide what my project will be. Fabric speaks to me most of the time - it tells me what it wants to be. Sometimes you don't get it right with combination's of fabrics. It's all a learning process. If you've been watching Project Runway you can see how important fabric can be. It can take a long time to learn about fabric, the families of fabric - all their names and how to sew working with different fabric.

One of the first things you do when you go to design school is make a fabric chart or book. Having an understanding about fabric, how it sews, how it wears, how it presses, color, weight, nap and loads of other information will determined what kind of designer you will be. There are many, many different kinds of fabric. Depending on how far you want to take it, making a fabric chart or fabric book could take a long time to create.

Different kinds of fabric to look for are quilting, garment and home decor. Once again I go to the internet for information to share. You want to start off with a list of different kinds of fabric and what to look for. I found a couple of sites here and here. You want to print your list or write down a few that you want to start off with. As you find the fabric you cross it off your list.

The best way to learn about fabric is a little at a time. As you sew your projects take a swatch (a small square) of your fabric to add to your book. Glue or stable the swatch to a page. Name your fabric, what kind of fabric it is and maybe washing instructions. Again you can find all this information from the list you printed online. You may even want to take a picture of your project to add to your fabric book. I have been taking pictures of my projects for many years. It's a lot of fun to see what you made "years" ago.

If you don't understand or want to learn more about a certain kind of fabric do a search online. You can always find the answer to your questions these days. This site has a lot of information about wool. is another great site to get an education.
Sewing requires fabric. Understanding the different types of fabric available, how they vary and how to care for them will help you be successful in everything you sew.

Fabric Characteristics

Choosing your first piece of fabric is not just a choice of what looks beautiful to you. You need to know the difference in woven and knit fabric. You need to observe one way designs, if the fabric has nap, if you will need to match plaids and if it is a diagonal print.

Before you go shopping for your first fabric purchase. Learn about the different types of fabric that are available and what ones are best for your first sewing project.

Preshrinking Fabric

Preshrinking your fabric may stop you from diving right into the project you have in mind, but it is a step well worth taking the time to do!

Not preshrinking the fabric can lead to an item that is only worn or used once because of shrinking in the laundry.

Don't plan on shrinkage as way to make something smaller. Rarely will the seams and fabric shrink to the same degree, leaving a puckered mess when the fabric shrinks and the seam doesn't.

Fabric Grainlines

As you go to lay out a pattern or cut your fabric, knowing what the grain of the fabric is will allow the items to hang correctly and help assure success for the finished item. Learn why the grain lines are different and how they should be used.

Fabric Storage

Once you're hooked on sewing, it's all most impossible to only buy the fabric you are going to use immediately. Having a fabric stash is just part of sewing. Learn the best ways to store fabric so that it doesn't become damaged in storage.

Finding Fabric Stores

As mass merchants under cut the prices that fabric stores could offer, many small fabric stores were forced out of business. Finding fabric that is different when you are traveling and visiting new fabric stores can be an adventure all on it's own. Learn how to find fabric stores where ever your travels lead you.

Economical Fabric Sources

Fabric doesn't have to be bought off the bolt. Used and new sources don't always cost money either. Learn about resources you may not have thought of.

Many people ask me about fabric and If I teach it in my class. There is so much to learn about fabric and can't be taught in a couple of hours. They also ask me where to buy good fabric. There isn't many fabric stores around these days. Many have gone out of business. I tell people to do a google map search using fabric stores with their zip code. You should be able to find stores near you. You can also buy fabric online. There are many places to go like here and here

Until next time.
Enjoy your moments ~ make them "sew" much fun,

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