Sewing is really fun and really rewarding not to mention the endless opportunities of the things you can make for yourself, for friends or for your home. This is one of the reasons so many take up the hobby but there is little information on where to get started and what to know.
The best fabrics to use as a beginner sewer are that of natural fibres and are sturdy but also not overly stretchy. These fabrics may feel a little stiffer but are easier to work with to build your confidence. Fabrics such as cotton, linen and polyester.
In this article, I am going to talk about what fabrics are best to use for beginners, why they are better than others and some helpful tips to help you get started.
Can I Use Any Fabric as a Beginner?
If you’re just getting started with sewing, you can’t just put any fabric you see under the machine. Beginners are usually confused on whether they can sew with any fabric, or if there are some forgiving fabrics that they can use.
Although you can use any fabric, it’s advisable not to. Using difficult fabrics as a beginner would cause you to damage your project before you even begin. This is why it’s better to go for easy and forgiving fabrics rather than any fabric that you see.
As you step into the world of sewing and leave your beginner practices, you should keep in mind that some fabrics are more versatile and flexible than others. A beginner must use fabrics like this so that they can practice widely instead of limiting themselves to the stiff fabric.
There are different types of fabrics out there for you to choose from – they can be knitted or woven, and made from plant, animal, and man-made fibers.
Many beginners go for woven fabrics over knitted fabrics, because the latter stretches more than the former and is harder to manage, like cotton. These fabrics are also affordable, which makes them the perfect fit for a beginner.
If you’re confused about the type of fabric you want to use at the beginning of your sewing career, we have compiled the best beginner-friendly choices in our guide.
Do I Need Specific Fabric as a Beginner?
Yes, you do. As a beginner, there are specific fabrics that you have to use for your projects to come out well. You would have to consider some specific factors when choosing beginner-friendly fabrics.
The most manageable fabric for beginners is cotton because it can be as heavy as a canvas or light as a handkerchief, making it fit the criteria for versatility.
Since you’re a beginner, it might be difficult to choose one fabric from the many other that you see in a shop. For one, you should check the fabric package and see if it is recommended for your sewing pattern.
You can also check how the drape of the fabric hangs by unrolling it a bit. By feeling it, you can check whether it would fit what you want to sew and if it is soft, stiff, or scratchy. You should also visualize the project that you plan to make with the fabric, and see if the look matches your plan.
Fabric packs also come with a label, which gives you information about how you can take care of the fabric. If the instructions are a lot and it is high maintenance, you should move on from it. The label also has fiber content.
When buying fabric from a shop, you should check the width to see if the thickness matches your project. Most importantly, you should take your time while buying fabrics so that you don’t end up with the wrong choice.
10 Best Fabrics for Beginner Sewers
If you’re not sure what to choose, here are the top ten best fabrics for beginner sewers. It’s advisable to use the cheaper fabrics first because you can easily buy and ruin a lot of them over and over again, than expensive beginner-friendly fabrics.
Once you’ve got a hang of practicing, you can move on to use the more expensive fabrics.
After you pass the beginners stage, you can start using more complicated and thick fabrics.
The easiest fabric to work with for anyone, regardless of their level in sewing, is cotton. It isn’t only easy, but it is also very forgiving, allowing you to make as many mistakes as you want.
This makes it the best fabric for beginner sewers on our list. Cotton is highly versatile and also has various weight options, which allows you to use it for detailed projects and simple pieces.
If you’ve decided to work with cotton, you can start with skirts, blankets, shirts, pants, bags, and pillow covers. These projects require easy patterns, so you can easily maneuver the fabric.
Cotton is also highly affordable, making it widely accessible. You can find it anywhere at a cheap price, and it can be easily maintained. It’s advisable to prewash cotton before using it because it would shrink.
Another fabric that is very easy for beginners to maneuver is muslin. It is a type of cotton fabric, popular among beginner sewers, and has a plain weave. It is also highly versatile, so whether you’re doing something coarse or delicate, you can use the fabric.
Popular applications of muslin in sewing projects include quilts, upholstery, blouses, dresses, blankets, washcloths, and a variety of other garments. Experienced sewers also use muslin a lot as a practice fabric before sewing projects with expensive fabrics.
Muslin is very cheap to buy and allows you to be creative and make all kinds of projects.
Polyester is another beginner-friendly fabric, which can be used in a versatile range of projects. It is a synthetic woven fabric, known for being crease-resistant and lightweight, which makes it perfect for maneuvering when making all kinds of projects.
If you need an affordable alternative to natural fabric, you would do great with polyester. It is also great for sewing practice, so you can use a lot of it before going for thicker and more expensive fabrics.
Polyester does not absorb moisture and has synthetic properties that make it stain-resistant.
You can use polyester to make shirts, jackets, blankets, hats, pants, bedsheets, and upholstered furniture.
Although linen is easy to sew, it is also a bit expensive. So, even if you can easily use it to make all kinds of projects, they aren’t very forgiving because you would spend a lot of money on buying more and more. It’s better to use woven linen that is blended with cotton and not pure linen. It would also be more affordable.
Linen also comes in different kinds of weights, which makes it ideal for a variety of projects. Once summer is coming, you can make all kinds of clothes with your linen fabric. But linen tends to create a lot, which can be quite frustrating for a beginner.
Wool is often called a classic fabric because it doesn’t only look good but it would last for a long time and can be used for all kinds of garments and climates. But even if the fabric is versatile and convenient, beginners are usually intimidated by it.
But, there’s no reason to. It is a very satisfying fabric, although there are different types of wool fabrics and not all of them are good for beginners to sewing. As long as you choose the right one, you would be able to use it easily and make all kinds of projects.
Lyocell, or Tencel, is similar to silk but easier to maneuver when you’re using the sewing machine or needle. It is a type of rayon fabric but is drapey and heavy. Even with this, it is still easy to use under the fabric. Even if it has a silky and slippery feeling, it won’t go and slip all over the place.
The fabric can be washed with a machine and is also wrinkle-resistant. Although it is beginner-friendly, it is also more expensive than many other fabrics. They are highly durable and you need to take your time while using them.
Another convenient fabric that you can go for as a beginner sewer is flannel, which is a soft and medium-weight fabric that can be made from cotton, wool, or synthetic fabric. This fabric is soft and warm, usually used during winter, and can be used for a wide range of projects.
You can start using your flannel to make baby blankets, quilts, pajamas, and shirts, and there are a lot of beginner projects that you would find related to this fabric. It’s better to wash it and let it dry before cutting and sewing with it. The only problem is that it frays around the edges easily.
Polycotton, as the name implies, is a combination of polyester and cotton. The fabric is not only highly affordable, but it also doesn’t require frequent ironing. They can be used to sew table cloths, mats, cushions, pillows, and all kinds of clothes.
Polycotton has the strong and durable features that come from cotton, and also the crease-resistant and synthetic features from polyester. The polycotton fabric is also easy to sew and take care of, so it can be easily maintained like any other fabric.
You can use polycotton to sew blouses, shirts, skirts, pants, and fall wear, depending on the ratio of cotton to polyester.
9. Lightweight Upholstery Fabric
An uncommon type of fabric that beginners are not aware of, but is versatile and easy to use, is lightweight upholstery fabric. If you want to make upholstery, you should go for the lightweight versions because they are easier to use.
You can ask the shop that you’re buying the fabric from to give you something very light that you can practice with. But lightweight upholstery fabric is also expensive, which makes it intimidating to beginners.
10. Cotton Lawn
Although cotton is already on our list, the cotton lawn is a type of cotton that is also great for beginners. It feels smooth and crisp against your hand, like higher quality cotton than the normal type. Cotton lawn is lightweight and feels silky, but is also easy to control and sew with.
You can use cotton lawn to make all kinds of clothes, including blouses, button-downs, skirts, and dresses.