When it comes to designing and sewing a new garment, my favorite thing about the entire process is shopping for the fabric that will bring my vision to life. It is one thing to see your masterpiece on paper, but it is an entirely different story to see your fabric choice bring together the construction of the garment. When you are shopping for fabric you have to be mindful of a few things: the type of fabric it is, how it fits your body, colors and prints, the condition of the fabric, and the price. Fabric is a beautiful thing, but it can cause you to go broke if you are not reading the price tag. I’m going to share some of my tips I have picked up in my many trips of shopping for fabric.
Before you begin shopping for fabrics for your design or sewing pattern you are working with, have some idea of what type of fabric you are interested in using. If you are creating a maxi dress for day wear you might be interested in using silks to create a more expensive look. Once you have narrowed down your fabric choice to silks, consider whether or not you want solid color silk fabrics or prints. Your options are limitless but at least you will have your fabric choice narrowed down to a specific category with two options: solids and prints.
Next, you will want to know how the fabric will fit your body type. In order to figure out how a certain fabric will fit your body type, simply go to your closet and search for similar fabrics because you may not realize that the fabric you are wanting to buy lies within your closet. Researching your own wardrobe will save you both time and money at the fabric store. Once you have an idea of what looks good on your body, you can make a note of it and find similar fabrics to purchase. Also, while in the fabric store you can hold up fabrics you like to your body which helps me because I can see in person what colors and prints compliments my complexion.
Then, while you are browsing around checking out the various fabrics, you will want to check out the condition of the fabric. Some people find dirty fabrics to be offensive in fabric stores; however, you are going to have to prepare the fabric for construction anyway so I say if it is a little dirty you should let it slide. However, if the fabric you are looking at has a snag that can not be repaired I would completely forget about purchasing it or use it as a bargaining chip to bring down the overall price. If the fabric is a little frayed on the ends, I would say ignore it because you are going to have to cut it to your pattern, so it wouldn’t matter that the ends are frayed. Depending on your personal choice and quality you like to see in your fabrics, deciding on what condition is suitable for purchase is solely up to you.
Finally, before you begin falling in love with a particular fabric you should closely look at the price tag. If you need five yards of fabric and you see a fabric that you adore, but you only have twenty dollars and the fabric is ten dollars per yard, then you should reconsider your fabric choice. Some people don’t really care about the price when it comes to great fabric; however, if you are someone who is on a budget you might consider knowing which side of the fabric aisle you need to be on: the cheap side or the expensive. For the record, cheap fabrics are not always bad looking it just depends how you are able to manipulate the fabric.
Overall, when it comes to buying fabric it can be a really fun experience if you know what you are looking for. Stick to fabrics that compliment you complexion and body type, and branch out beyond solids to fun prints. Also, choose fabrics that will bring your design or sewing pattern to life, and stick to a budget. Once you discover what you like and what looks the best, then purchasing fabric will not be as intimidating as you may think.