Beginners Guide: How to Choose and Buy Fabric Online


If you are a beginner in sewing and dressmaking then you may find an online fabric store slightly bewildering. Here is a guide to get started on picking the best fabric for sewing your next dress.


Quick and Easy Guide to Fabric


Fabrics are either knitted or woven, and are mostly made from plant fibers such as linen and cotton, or animal fibers (silk and wool). Knitted fabrics are more stretchable than woven.


Here we will discuss a few types of fabrics



Cotton is the most versatile fabric, and comes in various weights from lightweight handkerchiefs to heavy canvas. Cotton fabrics are used for trousers, shirts, jeans, bags etc. Fabrics including moleskin, denim, and corduroy are made of cotton.


Cotton Jersey/Knit

Cotton Jersey/Knit can be easily knitted by machine from a cotton thread. This fabric is used for t-shirts as it is stretchy and comfortable to wear but is not as easy to sew as woven fabric.


Jersey knits are stretchy, soft and versatile. Jersey knit fabric is perfect for creating stylish tops, dresses and much more. Here’s a video tutorial that shows you how to do a zig-zag stitch with knit fabrics on a sewing machine.


Jersey fabric is a kind of knit textile that is made from cotton or synthetic blend. This fabric is warm, flexible and insulating.



Linen is easy to sew and also used for a variety of purposes. It is also often mixed with other materials, and for daily wear. It is best used for making summer clothes.



Silk is a shiny and slippery woven fabric that is used for luxury blouses, underwear, and dresses. It is the most expensive and difficult to sew.


Poly Cotton

Polycotton is a synthetic woven fabric and is lightweight. Polycotton is a blend of cotton and polyester.


Best Fabrics for Beginners


It is better to buy fabric that is easy to sew and also not too expensive. Don’t be afraid of the mistakes that you make ruining fabric at some point! Here are some of the best fabrics for beginners use first, to start practicing sewing.


Woven fabric is one of those fabrics that does not slip or stretch too much while sewing. That means choosing linen, cotton or cotton-linen blends are best. Try to avoid rayon, silk, shiny polyester, and other knitted fabrics.


Go for small prints or plain colors. Avoid big patterns and stripes as they are difficult to lay out.


Avoid heavy weight fabrics as they are harder to manage. It is best if you go for ridged fabrics like corduroy for your first attempt at sewing.


How to buy fabric


What should be the first thing you buy: a sewing pattern or a fabric? Buying a sewing pattern first is perfect. After that, go shop for fabric from any online fabric store. Once you’ve got your pattern then you will know exactly what kind of fabric to look for and how much quantity of fabric you will need. Also, you have the option to buy zippers, buttons or other things to match at the same time.


When you are looking at fabric in an online fabric shop you must check the following things:


– Make sure that the fabric is one that perfectly matches your sewing pattern.


– Check to see if the fabric fits with what you are planning to make.


– Check for information regarding the fabric’s care instructions. See whether you should wash it in a washing machine or if it should be dry cleaned. If you think that it’s a high maintenance fabric, you may want to consider other fabrics.


– Always check the width of the fabric because fabrics are of different width. Look at the pattern to decide what length of fabric you need to buy. Make sure that you buy extra fabric because it may shrink when you wash it.


Preparing your fabric and cutting it


When you finally buy a fabric from an online fabric store, the first step should be to wash and iron your fabric. Wash the fabric the way you wash garments because it is better to do it first rather than washing it after sewing, as the fabric may shrink. When the fabric is dry, iron it to make it smooth again.


Follow your sewing pattern layout and cut out your pattern pieces. Iron them gently with no steam. Lay out all the pieces fn the fabric following the layout.


Here is a video guide to cutting out fabric when making a dress


Bonus Tip: Ideas for Beginners


Here are some good ideas for beginners’ projects for anyone new to dressmaking.


– Wrap skirt

– Apron

– Yoga pants or trousers

– Tote bag


Always start with something that is manageable so that you can easily practice and build up your skills. Go for a simple sewing pattern that is easy for beginners.


Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between cotton and linen?

Both cotton and linen are popular materials. Linen generally comes from flax plants and cotton from cotton plants.


Is Linen good for summer?


Linen is great to wear in hot weather. Linen is highly absorbent.


What is the cheapest fabric material?

Here are some fabric materials that are usually inexpensive and can be used for your sewing projects:


– Cotton

– Rayon

– Fleece

– Denim

– Felt

– Fleece

– Polyester

– Satin

– Silk


Which is the most expensive fabric?


The most expensive fabrics include:


– Wool

– Silk

– Fur

– Linen


flower bird cream peach metallic nani Iro linen fabric Kokka

flower bird cream peach metallic nani Iro linen fabric Kokka

dog Canvas fabric in natural color from Japan

dog Canvas fabric in natural color from Japan

black tiki mug Robert Kaufman fabric

black tiki mug Robert Kaufman fabric

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