So I constantly see posts online to the tune of: 'What exactly is X fabric?', 'What should I order online', 'I just wish I could touch it...'
Well, I am here to give you some insight. I'm hoping to do more and more of these posts over the next year so that by the end of 2015 if someone asks 'What is X fabric?', you are going to have the answers!
For this post I am starting with Girl Charlee, they carry a variety of fabrics that aren't your basic knit jersey or cotton woven and you might be scratching your head as to what they are, why you might need them, and what exactly you will get if you order them.
Let's start with the website itself and the information listed for each fabric. When you click on the icon of a fabric you are interested in, it will bring you to a page with information about that specific fabric. There is a picture on the left that you can click to enlarge, and all the information is on the right. READ THE INFORMATION! I can't stress that enough, chances are that 90% of your questions will be answered and it will give you everything you need to know about whether or not this fabric is right for your project.
For me, the most important information is towards the bottom. Here, they list Content, Weight, Stretch, and Width. Weight and Stretch are the most important for me in determining if a fabric will make me happy or leave me disappointed. We'll talk specifically about just knits in another post, but I swear, once you get a handle on these four categories of information your online buying days will be paved with success.
So let's talk FABRIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I recently bought a bunch of fabrics from Girl Charlee, I wanted to expand my own knowledge of their selections, so I veered from my normal knit jersey buying. So yep - I bought these, so the thoughts are 100% my own (the vegan leather pictured was provided for my next pattern release, but all other fabrics were purchased). Today I will share 3 types from what I bought.
We're going to start with my favorite - oh wait, they are ALL my favorite!!!
Peach Skin: Say what? If you aren't familiar with this fabric the name might confuse you, so let's learn more about it. Peach skin is a woven fabric with amazing drape and a soft hand. That soft hand is how it got it's name. The garment has a brushed finish so that it is smooth to the touch but soft, oh so soft. Now don't start imagining something fuzzy, it isn't like that at all. Imagine a silky woven, think of the texture - it is smooth and slippery and almost cool to the touch, now replace that 'slippery' adjective with 'soft' and you have Peach Skin.
Now look at the information in the listing:
- Content: 100% Polyester - this means it will wash well and not wrinkle, Perfection!
- Weight: Light Weight - yes it is, I would describe this almost as a paper weight, light and drapey and perfect for blouses, summer dresses, shells under suit jackets, etc...
- Stretch: 0% - SOOOOOOO important to always check stretch, you aren't going to be able to use this for any of your knit projects, please don't try!
- Width: 58-60inches - yay, this means you are getting more per yard than many woven fabrics so your buck is stretching further.
Here are some awesome patterns that would be perfect for this fabric:
Techno Scuba Knit: This may be my new favorite discovery of the fabric world!!!! Scuba Knit is what I would call more of a performance knit with a smooth finish and great stretch and recovery - with a 6% spandex content it is no wonder!
- Content: 94% Polyester/6% Spandex - that spandex content is very important when choosing the project for this fabric, the more spandex the better the recovery and the more it will suck you in. If you look up to the description, you will see that this is a double knit which makes it perfect for structured garments - This fabric inspired a new design that I will be releasing in the new year!!!
- Weight: Medium Weight - right on the money, great weight for leggings or a fitted dress - it doesn't become see through when stretched!
- Stretch: 50%, 40% - this means that the fabric has 4 way stretch and you can cut it either direction on the grain, total score for economic cutting.
- Width: 60 inches
Some projects just begging to be made in Techno Scuba Knit:
Jersey Sweatshirt Fleece: It gets cold here in PA, so having some sweats or nice hoodies on hand is a must for me and my kiddos. Not all sweatshirt fleeces are made the same, so this is a fabric I was slightly concerned about buying online. Sometimes it is too thick, sometimes it is very stiff, sometimes it just feels 'ick' - I'd rather not dress myself or my kiddos in 'ick'. But I am happy to report that I LOVE this sweatshirt fleece! With a Jersey topside, this fabric is very soft and smooth, and the fleece backing is 'low pile', meaning it doesn't have big thick fuzzy-ness, just uber soft short fuzzy-ness that keeps you smiling in comfort without adding bulkiness around your body.
- Content: Cotton Jersey Fleece - yep, all cotton, so make sure you wash this before sewing, it will shrink a bit!!!
- Weight: 12 oz Medium Wight - I think this is the perfect weight for all seasons, it is enough for good warmth without being so heavy that you feel like the abominable snowman when you layer up.
- Stretch: 10% - Hallelujah!!!! To many sweatshirt fabrics I run into have no stretch, and while that could work for some patterns, to me is just screams 'NOT COMFY!!!!' 10% stretch is enough to give you ease while you move around, to accommodate for a couple extra holiday lbs, and to make a variety of garments.
- Width: 70inchs..... when I see 70inchs I feel like I hit the jackpot, 10 inches more than most knits.....to me this just feels like free fabric!!!
Projects perfect for this fabric:
I hope this has been a fun introduction into the world of buying fabric online. If you have a fabric you want to learn about, let me know and I will try to fit it into a future segment!!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - We'll see ya on the flip side ;o)