We’re starting a new blog series, Tips & Tricks for First Time Sewers, where we share how you can improve your skills and techniques! First up, we’ll give you a breakdown on the most common natural fabrics in the market so you can choose the right materials for your project.
Have you ever walked into a fabric store and wandered out with bags of fabrics that you didn’t know what to do with? Or maybe you made a bag in chiffon then realised it was completely impractical when it tore the first time you used it?
Well, we’re here to help! There are hundreds of different variations of fabrics out there, but they can all be grouped into two main types of fabrics: natural and synthetic. Natural fabrics are made from fibres and coats from animals and plants, while synthetic fabrics are manmade.
These are the 5 main natural fabrics you see and use in everyday life:
Made from the soft fluffy fibre of cotton plants, cotton is so versatile that it’s used in countless ways from clothing to tea towels. It can be found in different weights and the soft, lightweight cottons are perfect for summer dresses and blouses. Medium-weight cottons are great for making trousers and A-line skirts, while thicker and stiffer cottons are typically used to make tote bags or anything that requires a fabric to hold its shape.
The best thing about cotton is that it’s breathable and great for people with sensitive skin as it’s a natural fabric!
Ahh… the luxurious texture of silk. Typically made from the cocoons of silkworms, silk is notoriously hard to sew and care for. But if you’re able to handle the fabric on the sewing machine, you definitely won’t regret your finished item!
Because of its luxurious sheen, silk is great for blouses and evening dresses. Its smooth texture also makes it an envious choice of bedsheets. I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase ‘smooth as silk’!
Another member of the natural fabric family, linen is made from the cellulose fibres that grow inside flax plants. The material is best known for its lightly rumpled look!
Linen can be used to make clothing, bags and pouches and even tea towels. You just have to choose the right weight for your project! Thinner, lighter linen will be great for tops and airy dresses, while thicker, heavier linen is suitable for bottoms or bags.
Don’t you feel so warm and comfortable when you’re all wrapped up in a wool coat? Well, that’s because you’re wearing the same fibre as the wool on sheep or the mohair from goats. And that same fibre helps to keep sheep and goats cosy in cold temperatures!
Wool is typically used to make jackets and coats, as well as scarves and socks. It’s also a great fabric to use for skirts and trousers!
Made from the underside of the skin from cattle like lamb and goats, suede has a soft and fuzzy texture. The smooth fabric can be used to make all types of clothing, bags and shoes. It’s also typically used to make the fringe on leather jackets or boho boots. Just try not to get them wet because suede absorbs water quickly!
Keep an eye out for our next post where we will share with you the most commonly used synthetic fabrics!
If you want to learn more about where to find fabrics in Singapore, join our Fashion Sewing 101 class where we’ll bring you on a virtual tour of the Chinatown textile market, or read our previous posts for a list of places to buy sewing supplies.