8 Questions to Ask Before Buying Fabric
1. What fabric content am I looking for?
Fabric content refers to the actual fibers making up the yarns in your fabric. This content affects the overall feel, drape, and care of your garment. Fabric contents can be either natural or synthetic. Natural fibers are produced from organic materials such as cotton, linen, animal furs, and silk, while synthetic fibers use man-made materials such as polyester, elastane, and nylon. While natural fibers are more breathable, synthetic fibers often wash and price better. It is important to take into consideration the pros and cons of the fabric’s content before purchasing. Consider who is the intended consumer of the garment and what their preferences might be.
2. What fabric quality am I looking for?
As opposed to content, fabric quality refers more to the overall style and weight of the fabric. Examples of fabric qualities include chiffon, lace, satin, twill, crepe, and jersey. Research what fabric style you are looking for, and then decide on a quality. Qualities that are often made of silk, such as satin, mikado, CDC, charmeuse, and chiffon, will have good drape, whereas others such as twill, denim, or canvas will be much heavier and more structured.
3. Is this the correct color?
Ensuring a color is correct is essential to your fabric purchase. On our website, colors are accurately depicted in the product photos, but the only way to be totally confident you are ordering the correct color is to order a swatch first and see for yourself!
4. How stretchy is this fabric?
Stretch is an important component to any garment. Fabric contents that include lycra or spandex are sure to have some stretch, but ordering a swatch will help you know just how much! Does the fabric stretch 2 ways? 4 ways? Not at all? This is important to consider before ordering a large quantity. When creating a more fitted garment, most consumers prefer a bit of give, so be sure to check this before you make your purchase.
5. What is the fabric’s width?
The width of a fabric refers to the inches between selvedges, meaning the yardage you order will differ width-wise depending on fabric. Fashion fabrics can range anywhere from 34 to 62 inches in width, and can help you get more for your money depending. When creating items with larger pattern pieces such as drapes, long gowns, or bias-cut garments, try for fabrics with a wider width. Otherwise, you will end up piecing the yardage together with unwanted seams.
6. Should I order a swatch first?
If you have never ordered this fabric quality before, yes! A fabric swatch is a small square of fabric that you can order for free here. Seeing and feeling your fabric in person first will give you the confidence you need to make a big order. You can then use this swatch for your mood board or line sheet, and then place your order at your convenience. Be sure to order your swatch early enough to evaluate it before ordering more yardage. Many designers choose to order several swatches as soon as they begin their collection in order to have options to show to their stylists or design team!
7. Does the style of the fabric fit into my brand?
The overall style and design of the fabric you choose should fit into the overall brand you are trying to create. Keep the customer in mind during the entire design process, and you are sure to be successful with your collection.
8. Is this the right price for me?
Always compare prices before you make a large fabric purchase! Is it worth it for your brand to choose a more expensive quality and less yardage, or vise versa? Is this a statement fabric that will sell well for your brand? Will ordering more yardage get you a discount? These are all important factors to consider.
With this checklist in mind, you are sure to make the most of your fabric purchase. Learn more about our different fabric qualities and collections here