Tips For Buying Fabric (Video)

Cityline

Let’s talk fabric! How do you find the right fabric at the fabric store? What are some things you should look for? And what should you avoid when buying fabric?

I shared some tips with Cityline host Tracy Moore, and showed her how to choose the right fabric when you’re at the fabric store.

Watch here…

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Tracy Moore:
Let’s talk a little bit about, um – You know, you say to yourself, ‘I’m going to start sewing.’

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
I got to go out and get some fabric.

Denise:
Absolutely.

Tracy:
Let’s talk about shopping for fabric.

Denise:
Sure.

Tracy:
What you should be looking for? What you should stay away from?

Denise:
Definitely.

Tracy:
You brought some nice samples.

Denise:
I brought a bunch of samples here, so that you can look at the kinds of fabrics that are easy to use – what you want to start with.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
When you go to the store, it’s often overwhelming; it’s a bit daunting.

Tracy:
It is overwhelming.

Denise:
There’s fabric everywhere. What’s important to remember is that all the fabrics – the similar fabrics are grouped together.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
So, all your cottons are going to be together. All your dressy fabrics are going to be together. Often there’s a sale area which is good to hit up.

Tracy:
Totally.

Denise:
So I brought you some different types of fabrics to look at.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
The first thing you want to think about is, what are you sewing? So, do you need lightweight fabric–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
—medium-weight or heavy-weight? Depending on if you’re doing a garment or you’re doing something for the home.

Tracy:
Yes.

Denise:
You want to think about how the fabric is going to drape.

Tracy:
And, Denise, also, they can help you there, can’t they?

Denise:
Oh, absolutely.

Tracy:
Because I know whenever I had to go to buy fabric, you know, I walk in completely clueless. I’m like ‘I need something that is, you know, it’s not going to stain easily-

Denise:
Definitely.

Tracy:
—it can be washed a billion times’. They’ll lead you in the right direction as well. Right?

Denise:
They will. And I’m really glad that you mentioned washing; caring for your fabric is so important.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
Whenever you buy fabric at the store, you want to make sure that you’re bringing it home and you’re pre-treating it. So you’re going to wash and dry it exactly as you plan to wash and dry your finished garment.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
You want to check it for flaws. You want to make sure that everything’s okay with it.

Tracy:
Uh huh.

Denise:
And, it’s a great idea to bring in a picture. So when you go there, you’re going to say–

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
—‘I have this great cushion that I want to make and this is what I have in mind.’ And then they can direct you to the heavier-weight fabric such as this.

Tracy:
Okay. So you found the fabric class you want to be in.

Denise:
Yes.

Tracy:
Now you just have to pick the color.

Denise:
Exactly, exactly.

Tracy:
Pattern.

Denise:
So all the cottons will be grouped together; you’ll pick which one appeals to you most.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
Then they’ll be able to cut it out for you.

Tracy:
Now would you say, generally, you know, this looks like a tough fabric to deal with?

Denise:
This is really tough, actually. And I brought some satins here, some more dressy fabrics.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
These are really – slippery fabrics are really tricky to work with.

Tracy:
Um, hum.

Denise:
So when you’re starting off, you want to start off with a cotton; really easy to use, very basic. Even a denim is really great too. So–

Tracy:
It’s sturdy–

Denise:
Yeah. There’s lots of–

Tracy:
—material.

Denise:
—many different projects that you can do with it. Cottons and denims are so easy to wash and dry.

Tracy:
Um, hum.

Denise:
Something like a wool, which you might be considering, is a little bit trickier just because you need to be careful with how you–

Tracy:
With the washing.

Denise:
—how you wash it.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
You often need to take it to a dry cleaner or hand-wash them or such.

Tracy:
Okay. So start with your cottons. What about material like this?

Denise:
So these are knit fabrics.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
Jerseys–

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
—like t-shirts, sweats, that kind of thing. They are fairly tricky to work with, just because–

Tracy:
Are they?

Denise:
—they stretch a lot. Yeah.

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
Although, they are forgiving.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
So, if you make something too small, it stretches out and it fits you perfectly.

Tracy:
That’s very true, because I would think this is very easy, but you’re right. You make a good point. It’s stretchy.

Denise:
You know, it’s not too bad. The great thing about those is that they don’t fray.

Tracy:
Yeah.

Denise:
So some of these others fabrics when you sew them together–

Tracy:
This one might.

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
Right? What is this?

Denise:
So this, I brought you a large pattern to have a look at–

Tracy:
Okay.

Denise:
What you want to consider too when you’re sewing something is, if you have a large pattern or a stripe, how is that going to look on your finished garment?

Tracy:
Um, hum.

Denise:
So, if you have– you know, often when you go out and you buy a dress, you’ve got the pattern in places that you wouldn’t want attention to be brought to.

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
So especially something like this, you just want to keep an eye on where you’re placing your fabric and how that’s going to work out.

Tracy:
Okay. And if you’re going to have to match up fabric to fabric. Right?

Denise:
Exactly.

Tracy:
Because you want to keep the pattern the same. That can be tough.

Denise:
Exactly. Plaids and stripes are something that are really important that you are matching up when you sew.

Tracy:
Yes.

Denise:
You know, as you’re just beginning, it’s not too much of a problem, but–

Tracy:
Right.

Denise:
— but you do want to keep an eye on that.

Tracy:
So what you’re saying is that I should go with the cotton.

Denise:
Yeah.

Tracy:
Go with the cotton, Tracy.

Denise:
Cotton’s are good.

Tracy:
Very easy. Okay, thanks Denise.

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