How to #9 – Fabric 101…

Sourcing, finding the fabric you want, this is sometimes a nightmare..you may have bought a great fabric but now you are not able to get it again on the market while you already starting your samples with those…You have told your buyer that the weaver would 2 weeks for weaving this specific patterns with the selected colors but it doesn’t follow as per what you expected…  The dyer really told you that we will get the orange peach color but the fabric has lost 2 cm in each side and the resulted color is not OK…

These are and many more various issues that you would encountered while dealing with fabric but what if we would talk about the definition first !

Notice info

I will be very honest telling you that I came to know about this specific and so important piece of materials by the technique of « learning by doing » during my internship and following jobs with designers and buyers working for ready-to-wear collection, shoes and home decor items. But this is what I think is important to know about fabric and again, I am just saying, I have learnt it by myself and even by making mistake !! Yes, even I thought at the first time that « silk » was growing from the green field…

Type of fabric :

  • Woven fabric : 2 threads crossing in one and another, with a final look of tiny square. They are usually stiffer;
  • Knitted fabric : 1 single thread holding with loops and loops around; which means it should well done..If you pull one thread and it’s not enough tight, then it would automatically pull off! they are usually stretchy and more comfortable (good for read-to-wear collection)

Type of fiber : natural / synthetic and mix of the two. You can link to one of my articles where you will find a recap table with the various fibers available in the market. Have a read there. 

Look at the weigth

GSM :  grams per square meter is the metric measurement of the weight of a fabric.A lightweight fabric is typically between 30- 150 GSM, medium weight 150-350 GSM and heavyweight 350+ GSM, such as our clear window PVC (640 GSM), although this can vary depending on the type of fabric.

These fabrics generally fall into these categories:

  • Lightweight fabrics: chiffon, linen, organza, cheesecloth, lace, voile, mesh, habutai.
  • Medium weight fabrics: sateen, oxford, velvet, taffeta and charmeuse.
  • Heavy weight fabrics: upholstery fabric, canvas, brocade, poplin, denim and peau de soie.

Economical aspect

Try to develop as much as possible different looks with different outfit so you will be able to find fabrics that work for more than one style. Be sure with this technique to have a winter skirt fabric which can be also used for a sweater and reach finally the Minimum of Quantity set by your supplier…

Colorways : 

Monochromatic is very risky to take for your collection.  I would recommend to go for a set of base color, one is brighter, one is darker on a blue / green / red or Yellow tone. It does make the collection very interesting but that would be your choice !

Finally and to have a good summary, here is one table presenting various weight of fabric, its name and application (source : blog/fabricuk)

See you soon for a new « How to # » !

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