A glossary of fabric names is the best guide you find to help search for the different kinds of fabrics available. This is more than just a glossary of names, it is a realistic guide to the basic categories of fabric leading to greater detail and links to useful sewing tips and ways to handle different fabrics.
This is a gourmet guide, whetting your appetite and gathering a harvest of the best and most common fabrics in use today. An alphabetical listing of the best fabrics to choose.
Glossary of Fabric Names
Batik – the bold and beautiful
Batik fabrics offer a wide range of pattern designs, unique colors and special effects. Watercolor backgrounds with diverse patterns trend with dress styles, beach wear and quilting too. Batik refers to the process of using wax and dyes to make particular patterns on the fabric. Batik fabrics are generally made from cotton, rayon and natural fibers which absorb the dye. Read more about what is batik
Canvas – for the great outdoors
Canvas, made from cotton, is durable and comes in different colors and patterns. It is useful for upholstery, bag making and outdoor utility or décor items. Canvas is a thick fabric which requires special sewing techniques. Read sewing canvas.
Chiffon – feminine and French
Chiffon is a soft fabric blended with silk or polyester and rayon. Organza and Georgette are similar in texture but not exactly the same. These fabrics fit into the sheer fabric category for sewing tips. Read sewing chiffon.
Cotton –King Cotton, rag trade leader
Cotton is a natural fabric produced from the cotton shrub. Cotton lends its name to a wide range of fabric types. Soft lawn, gingham prints and flannelette all fall under the cotton label. Cotton blends well with other fabric types, polyester and rayon too. Read sewing cotton.
Denim – hardwearing, hardworking
Denim is the workhorse of the fabric world. It is a popular fabric type and can vary in weight from very thick to a softer poly-denim blend. There are stretch denims, stonewash denims and more. Read sewing denim.
Faux Fur – fabulous winter wear
This adaptation of fur comes in a variety of animal prints, shaggy fur, and fun colors of funky fur and different lengths of the fur itself. A dramatic finish to a winter coat or hat! Read sewing fur (faux).
Felt – the feel good fabric
Felt is fantastic for craft items and can be a synthetic adaptation or made from real wool. It doesn’t have a visible weave and tends to be used for craft rather than clothing. Read sewing felt.
Lace – embrace lace – love it.
This is an elegant and delicate fabric that lends itself to bridal gowns and special occasions. There are many different kinds of lace from Broderie Anglaise to Chantilly lace-all needing special care. Read how to sew lace and sewing lace trim.
Leather and Faux Leather
Leather and faux leather need special needles and techniques due to the tendency of the material to perforate. Read sewing leather and vinyl.
Sheer Fabrics – a wide variety of beautiful, soft and silky choices
Sheer fabrics are in a list of their own including voile, batiste, organza, chiffon and georgette to name a few. It is worthwhile referring to my tips to ensure success with when sewing sheer fabrics.
Silk – as smooth as silk, Eastern delight
The varieties of silk depend on the silkworm and its diet. Mulberry silk, tusar silk and eri-silk are the most common pure silks. Shantung and crepe de chine are cultivated silks but just as beautiful and needing special sewing skills to ensure a perfect outcome. Read sewing silk.
Stretch fabrics – versatile and fun to sew
Cotton knit, jersey fabrics, cotton Lycra and many other fabrics with stretch quality make a great choice for a wide variety of designs. It is wise to check the pattern you choose is suitable for stretch knits. Read how to sew stretch fabric.
Thick fabrics – a class of extra bulky types of fabric.
Thick fabrics need some extra skills to set them right with your machine and tension. Getting some sewing tips to ease into this weight of fabric is a good idea. Corduroy, some of the types of denim, canvas, twills and velvet all fall under the thick fabric genre. Read sewing thick fabrics.
Velvet – soft and super plush.
Velvet has been produced in stretch velveteen, velour for furnishings and velvet for clothing styles. Tips to sew this fabric will ensure a positive sewing experience. Read sewing velvet.
Wool – nature’s gift to fabrics.
Wool blends and mixes with many fabric types. The best way to check for pure wool is to look for the 100% wool mark emblem. If the hallmark is not present then it is probably a wool blend you are working with. Read sewing wool.
This glossary is an indication of the many beautiful fabrics available. Knowing the most widely used fabrics gives the perfect guideline and reference to fabric types. It is user-friendly and a great start to understanding fabric with references to use them under the guidelines of their weight and type.
A menu perhaps of what you could feast upon so in the sewing world……Bon Appetite. Enjoy!