How to choose the best fabric for clothing projects

Finding clothes that fit just right can be difficult. Add in the further complications of finding prints and patterns that you like, and it will make you never want to set foot in a shopping centre again. There is a simpler way of finding well fitting, stylish clothes that you won’t see every other person on the high street wearing: make them yourself! Whether you’ve never touched a needle and thread or you’re already a dab hand with a sewing machine, here are some tips for choosing the right fabric for your next project.

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Fabric or pattern first?

Where should you start? To be honest, it doesn’t matter. If you’ve seen a particular fabric that you love, you can easily work it into a pattern. The same is true if you’ve found a design that you want to make but don’t have your fabric yet. There doesn’t have to be a specific order; just find what you love and go from there. Garment sewing templates are also becoming popular, especially considering the popularity of the BBC show The Great British Sewing Bee, which currently has a petition to save it from the axe.

What to use your fabric for

If you already have your fabric, you need to decide what you want to use it for. A cotton voile is unlikely to be suitable for trousers but will look beautiful as a dress. Wool could work well as a dress in colder weather, but it won’t be practical as a blouse. Feel the weight of the fabric and imagine how it will hang as your chosen garment.

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Finding a fabric for your pattern

If you know exactly what you want to make but don’t know which fabric to choose, think of the occasion on which you will be wearing it. Fabrics such as cotton lawn, rayon challis, silk and chambray are great lightweight materials that often hang well. Medium-weight fabrics such as linen and heavier ones like wool, knit and denim keep their shape better and are often found during colder temperatures. There are plenty of dress making fabrics out there, such as those found at, so you have lots of choice available.

It may seem daunting, but once you have made your first item, there is a good chance you’ll be inspired to make more.

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