June 22, 2010

Choose the Right Fabrics

Fabrics surround us.  We wear them, sleep on them, sit on them, and even walk on them.  There are so many to choose from.  How do you know what to pick?  It is not as hard as you think (or feel if you are experiencing frustration from a problem project).  You can eliminate the frustration of choosing.

Something to keep in mind before you start.  There are focus fabrics and there are "other" fabrics.  Here is the difference.  Focus fabrics are meant to catch your eye and attract you to a particular piece of decor or clothing.  "Other" fabrics help focus fabrics stand out.  You do not want too many of either one in your project.  Many textile companies produce whole lines of fabric with the same color palette that have varying prints and solids to match.  This makes choosing easier, for many sewist this works great.  It saves time, gas and effort.  Sometimes you do not have a whole line of fabrics to choose from.  Even if this is the case, positive results are possible.

Here are a few easy steps to choose fabric for any project.

1.  Keep it Simple.  Why make this harder than it has to be?

2.  Pick one focus fabric.  Depending on your project, pick a focus fabric that contains as many or few colors as you like.

3.  Use the color scales printed on the selvages.  Most fabrics have them.  If your fabric does not have a scale, do not give up.

4.  Take your focus fabric (or a sample with the color scale printed on it) with you to the store.

5.  Handle the fabrics at the store.  Take the bolts off the shelf; lay your sample next to the bolt.

6.  Pick fabrics that are solids or function as solids to begin with.  Slowly add prints if you have picked some.  If you are picking prints as well to go with your focus fabric, pick prints of different sizes. 

7.   Make an organized pile of the bolts you are looking at. 

8.  Move the fabric around, take fabrics away, add another color you think might work.  This process can take some time so do not rush yourself.

9.  Follow your pattern suggestions.  Try to follow the fabric suggestions on the back of the pattern as closely as possible.  This ensures the correct wear, hang or shaping of the fabric.

10.  Trust your eyes.  You have to be happy with your choices, not someone else.

Do not let that beautiful fabric you have waste in the basement.  Go dig it out and put it to use.  Wow your family and friends with your newest creation.