Your work is half guarantied to be beautiful when you choose your material well. Do you agree?
So, how do you choose your fabric when there is so many choices?
There are two basic qualities we are looking at when we are shopping for fabric.
Firstly, the stretch. 4 way stretch is often preferred. (Often but not always, we will get to that later.) 4way stretch means that the fabric is very stretchy and in both directions vertical and horizontal. 75-100% one direction and 35-50% the other direction is an indicator of a good quality lycra fabric.
Lycra? Spandex? What is that? and why is it important? Lycra and spandex are interchangeable names and they mean the same thing. The lycra is the very skinny elastic mostly invisible to the naked eye knitted into the fabric that can be nylon on poly, cotton or a blend of those. What we are looking for is a minimum of 5% lycra content in the fabric. The more is better. The really great quality stretch fabric has up to 25% spandex content.
Secondly the weight of the fabric. The weight? Does it matter? Yes. The weight is usually indicator of the thickness of the fabric. Have you ever ordered spandex fabric online and when it arrived you could almost see through? The weight can easily be seen when we can touch the fabric. However, when we order online it is impossible to touch. The weight of the fabric is measured by GSM (gram/square meter). No worries, you don't have to become a textile engineer, just remember that the higher the number the heavier the fabric. A good choice is around 180-210GSM. 140-160GSM is very-very thin and 260GSM is bulky.
Neoprene, and other heavy knits are 2way stretch and mostly heavy/bulky fabric, but that is the quality what we are looking for when working with heavy knits such us when we make our Kneepads.
Linings are very lights and can be 2way stretch. Linings are usually lesser quality fabric but they don't need to be anything else to work well.
When you buy a pattern look for the section that recommends the fabric to be used. If the pattern asks for neoprene (heavier less stretchy fabric) and you plan to use a high stretch lycra you may need to go down a size or even two to obtain the right size for you. Here is an example:
There is a whole lot more to learn about fabrics but these are the basics that should help you when you are shopping for your material.
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