How To Choose Fabric for Dressmaking
Choosing dressmaking fabric can be an overwhelming process. There are so many different types of fabrics out there and figuring out which is best suited to a garment type, for a particular season and purpose can prove difficult. Many amateur and seasoned dressmakers struggle with this aspect of the garment production process.
The fashion industry is consistently growing. If you’re finding it hard to wrap your head around choosing dressmaking fabric, you can easily be left behind. Here’s a guide to help you with the process.
Common Fabrics Used For Dressmaking
· Cotton – Cotton is a natural fiber. It’s the most versatile fabric there is. Woven cotton can range from extremely lightweight to medium weight (even heavy canvas). It’s commonly used for shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, and more.
· Silk – Silk has a long and rich history dating back to the 27th century BCE. It’s a natural fabric woven from the cocoons of silk worms. Because of its smooth and lustrous texture, silk is often used as a luxurious fabric for evening gowns, bridal, prom and cocktail dresses, blouses, and skirts.
· Satin – Satin is a silk or polyester-based fabric with a smooth and glossier finish than silk. Like silk, it’s used a luxurious fabric for evening, prom, bridal and cocktail dresses and blouses.
· Velvet – Velvet is woven into a short and dense pile. It usually comes in silk, cotton, polyester, rayon, and viscose blends. It’s used a luxurious fabric for jackets, skirts, dresses, and pants.
· Taffeta – Taffeta has a firm weave that restricts its drape. It’s usually made out of silk, polyester, or rayon. Taffeta is perfect for evening wear.
· Lace – Lace is commonly used a decorative fabric tops, dresses, skirts, and lingerie.
· Denim – Denim is a cotton-based fabric commonly used for jeans, jackets, casual dresses, coats, and skirts.
· Wool – Wool is an animal hair fiber that can be knitted or woven. It’s often used to make cardigans, jackets, coats, and dresses.
· Chiffon – Chiffon is an extremely lightweight and sheer fabric that drapes beautifully. It’s usually made out of silk, polyester, or nylon. It’s often used to make sleepwear, lingerie, dresses, skirts, and scarves. It’s also commonly used to make overlays on formal gowns.
Choosing the Right Fabric
· Purpose – The first thing you need to clarify before you select the fabric, is the purpose of your dress. How do you want your dress to drape? What about the stretch and the durability? Delineating these properties will narrow down your choices for fabric.
· Season – Warmer weather calls for more lightweight and breathable fabrics like linen or cotton. Colder weather demands worsted wool, cashmere, silk even!
· Design – Be mindful of how complex the design of your dress is going to be. If your dress is going to have many ruffles, folds, and drapes, it’s advisable to opt for thinner and softer fabrics like chiffon and crepe. Bodycon dresses require elastane, so use a cloth that contains it. If you’re not looking to accentuate your figure, consider using taffeta.
· Color and Print – Dress colors and prints depend on style, purpose, and season. Solid fabrics are perfect for dresses that incorporate many trims, pockets, and folds. Single tone colors look gorgeous for cocktail and evening dresses.
Floral and graphical patterns are best suited for casual dresses worn to dates and brunches. Keep summer dresses colorful and fall and winter outfits in more muted colors.
· Sewing Difficulty – Imagine choosing the perfect fabric for your dress, but not having the skills necessary to sew the cloth. All your efforts will go to waste. Silk, chiffon, satin, cotton and embroidered tulle, and worsted wool are among the most challenging fabrics to sew. Cotton, linen, silk crepe, and jacquard are among the easiest.
If you’re adamant about your choice of fabric, but can’t sew it yourself, consider hiring professionals.
If you’re an aspiring dressmaker looking to start a fashion brand or a small wholesale business, partnering with a seasoned industry professional will take your business to a whole new level.
As a leading clothing production company Los Angeles and pattern maker in Los Angeles, we’ve partnered with fashion brands, designers, and retailers of all kinds from every corner of the world. We provide expert, fabric sourcing, design and production services.