Exploring the Diverse World of Fabrics: A Guide to Common Types and Uses

Have you ever wanted to order fabric from a pre-order but were too overwhelmed by the options? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Fabrics play a crucial role in our daily lives, from the clothes we wear to the items we use. Each fabric type offers unique qualities and benefits, making them suitable for various applications. In this guide, we’ll delve into the characteristics and uses of different fabrics commonly found in custom preorders, ranging from cotton spandex to vinyl.

1. Cotton Spandex:

Cotton spandex blends combine the breathability of cotton with the stretch of spandex. It has decent structure, but not much drape. This fabric is ideal for everyday-wear, providing comfort and flexibility during physical activities. Cotton spandex blends are easy to maintain, and don’t wear down quickly. For longevity’s sake, wash these fabrics in cold water, and tumble dry on low or hang to dry.

Try: Audrey, Tide, Paige

Fabric from Northern Fabric

2. Bamboo Spandex:

Known for its eco-friendly properties, bamboo spandex offers a soft and silky feel. It is not very structured and has a lot of drape, making it great for flowy dresses, or cozy pyjamas. It’s often used in everyday wear and undergarments as well, blending sustainability with comfort. Similar to cotton spandex, bamboo spandex breathes well, and has good stretch. To best care for this fabric, wash cold and hang to dry.

Try: Juniper, Trudy, Lana

3. Double Brushed Polyester:

Soft and plush, double brushed polyester is perfect for cozy apparel such as loungewear and adult pyjamas. Its brushed surface adds warmth and comfort to garments. With 4-way stretch, and beautiful drape, double brushed poly is also a great choice for dresses, skirts, and leggings. For best results, wash inside out in cold water, and tumble dry on low.

Try: Unwind, Knit Ayda, Ace

4. Swim Fabric:

Designed to withstand exposure to water and sun, swim fabric is essential for swimwear and beachwear. It is resistant to fading and dries quickly, making it perfect for aquatic activities. Some even has SPF protection from the sun. It has little structure, and good drape. Use swim fabric for swim gear, athletic garments (such and golf tees, sports bras, leotards, etc.), and even dresses! Since it is made of synthetic fibres, wash this fabric in cold water, and hang to dry.

Try: Elise, Rory, Lydia

Photo Credit: Mai Anh Tr

5. Cotton Woven:

Cotton woven fabrics are versatile and durable. They are commonly used for quilts, bag linings, shirts, dresses, and other garments that require structure and stability. It has no stretch, so keep that in mind when choosing a pattern to use. Cotton woven is light and breathable, and it is easy to work with. Unfinished seams will fray, so be sure to finish fabric edges or enclose the seams. For washing, use warm water, and tumble dry. Cotton woven usually requires ironing after the wash.

Try: Marigold, Holly, Summit

6. Bullet/Liverpool Knit:

Bullet knit fabric is a slightly stretchy knit with a textured surface, made from a mix of polyester and spandex. It’s commonly used for bows, headbands, cardigans, and other garments that require 50% stretch or less. You can find this fabric with 2-way stretch, or 4-way stretch. Wash in cold water, and tulle dry on low.

Try: Bogey, Barb, Isla,

7. Cotton French Terry:

French terry is a looped-back knit fabric known for its absorbency and softness. Cotton French terry is often used in athleisure wear, hoodies, casual apparel, and other garments. It is a low maintenance fabric base, and can be washed in warm water and tumble dried on low.

Try: River, Landry, Jayden

Photo Credit: Lea Jess

8. Bamboo French Terry:

Similar to its cotton counterpart, bamboo French terry combines the benefits of bamboo with the cozy texture of French terry. It’s an excellent choice for eco-conscious and comfortable clothing. It is generally softer and thinner than cotton French Terry, and has more drape making it great for dresses as well. Wash bamboo French Terry in cold water, and hang to dry.

Try: Isla, Crystal, Autumn

Isla dress with an added Jayden hood!

9. Minky:

Minky fabric, with its plush and velvety texture, is commonly used for baby blankets, stuffed animals, and luxurious home goods. Its softness and warmth make it a favorite for cozy non-stretch projects. Stretch minky can be sold under multiple names: Mochi, Cuddle, Plush. Stretch minky has the same characteristics as minky, but with added stretch. This fabric is comfortable enough to be used for garments as well. Any minky fabric should be protected from heat. Wash it in cold water, and hang to dry or tumble dry on low.

Try: Dakota, Tiegan, Everest

10. Canvas:

Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric with a plain weave, known for its durability. It’s commonly used in bags and wallets , upholstery, and outdoor projects due to its sturdiness. You could also use canvas for a structured pair of pants or a jacket! Since it’s usually 100% cotton, it can be washed and dried with heat.

Try: Emilya, Zipper pouch, Maggie

11. Athletic Knit:

Designed for athletic wear, this knit fabric offers moisture-wicking properties and excellent stretch. It’s perfect for activewear, including leggings, sports bras, and workout tops, but it can truly be used for any garment. Athletic knit should be washed in cold water, and hung to dry.

Try: Birdie, Energize, Athena

12. Vinyl:

Vinyl fabric is versatile and durable, often used for upholstery, bags, and accessories. Its water-resistant properties make it suitable for outdoor applications. It is not suitable for most garments because it does not breathe well, has no stretch, and is very stable. To wash this fabric, wipe with a wet cloth.

After All…

Understanding the characteristics and uses of different fabric types allows us to make informed choices when selecting materials for our projects. Whether it’s the stretch of spandex, the softness of French terry, or the durability of canvas, each fabric serves a unique purpose in the world of textiles.

Talk to you next week!

X Victoria Strong