How to Decide Which Fabric You Need for Which Garment

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The way fabric feels against your skin, its behaviour during sewing, durability, and its drape when worn against your body, are essential criteria when purchasing fabric for hand-made sewing projects. Fabric selection is a crucial step if you are looking to create clothes. 

Textiles come in all colours, textures, and sizes. The primary natural textiles used in dressmaking include cotton, denim, flannel, silk, leather, hemp, wool, linen, and velvet. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics include polyester, nylon, polar fleece, rayon, spandex, and acetate. With the wide selection of textiles to choose from, we give you tips in selecting the suitable fabric to use for different types of sewing applications. 

Natural or synthetic

In any sewing project, you need to choose between natural or synthetic fabrics. Many factors go into deciding which one to choose. Natural textiles such as cotton are known for their excellent absorbent feature, soft texture, and low-maintenance quality. Given they come from natural sources with little to no chemicals during treatment, natural textiles like those from Dalston Mill are hypoallergenic and best for those with sensitive skin. On the other hand, synthetic fabrics are foremost for their superior durability, excellent stretch, and longevity. They also have outstanding moisture-wicking characteristics, making them the fabric of choice for activewear.

Perform thorough research 

Before you even attempt to check out the beautiful fabrics on your online cart, it is worth researching the garment you plan to make. It is best to go window shopping and see what fabrics are commonly used for the garment you wish to create yourself. There is nothing more valuable than having the opportunity to feel the garment to determine which fabric is the most suitable for your project. 

Assess the drape

Drape refers to how a fabric hangs or falls once worn. It is an essential element in dressmaking and dictates the structure and comfortability of the garment. For instance, natural fabrics like silk softly follow the natural curves of the body, while the heavy nature of linen makes it ideal for creating structured garments such as trousers, formal dress shirts, and more. The drape is one of the most crucial factors when choosing a fabric that will look good when used for specific garment types and body frames. 

Check the colour

You need to inspect the colour of the fabric. Natural lighting will help you determine the accurate fabric shade. If you are making clothes for yourself, it is recommended to hold up the fabric close to your skin. If the fabric colour is too close to your skin colour, it wouldn’t be as aesthetically pleasing once worn. However, if you are looking for nude or natural hues, choose a fabric close to your skin tone


Learning about the different fabric properties and determining which is best suited for specific projects are valuable lessons that will speed up your buying journey, allowing you to start a project without delay. Ideally, source your fabric from trusted suppliers instead of buying cheap textiles from unreliable manufacturers.

We’re very proud to bring you this feature in association with Dalston Mill and Roberta Style Lee. For more features, please pay a visit to our lifestyle page.

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