Choosing Fabric for your Sewing Projects

One of the best parts of sewing is choosing your fabrics for your project. But if you don't have a local fabric store nearby, that can be tough, especially when you are first starting to sew.  

Your sewing pattern will list fabric suggestions to use for the project and it's best to use what they suggest if you don't have a lot of experience. 

Woven Fabric: If your project calls for fabric that does not stretch, try using something that's not that slippery like denim, cotton, canvas, quilters cotton, chambray, linen or rayon.  

Upholstery Fabric: Fabrics like denim, canvas and duck are thicker than cottons and significantly sturdier. This makes them great for upholstery & home projects making the hold up longer and withstand everyday use better. You can also use them to make totes, handbags, throw pillows, and more.

Knit (Stretchy) Fabric: When first using knit fabrics, it's best to find something like a little thicker


Fabric is usually sold in 1 yard (36 inch) quantities. But be sure to double check, especially when purchasing online because many fabric retailers have started selling by the 1/2 yard. 

Most fabric is 44-45" wide or 55-60" wide. Be sure to keep this in mind when purchasing fabric for your project so you have enough.

Important things to remember:  

  • Make sure the particular type of fabric is among the ones recommended for your pattern.
  • If you're buying the fabric in person, check how the fabric drapes (or hangs). Unroll the bolt a bit and have a look. 
  • Always check the care instructions for the fabric you're thinking about buying.
  • Remember to wash & dry your fabric before using it for a sewing pattern. This will allow your fabric to shrink before it's sewn. 
  • Take your time purchasing the fabric and be sure to read the descriptions well, especially when purchasing your fabric online.
  • Read your pattern and instructions well before you start cutting. You only have one chance to cut your fabric so take your time.

Here are some of my favorite online sources for buying fabric.

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