Choosing the Right Fabric

Visit any fabric store in Miami and they will quickly tell you that when choosing the right fabric for your project, you first have to figure out what your project is! Thankfully, once that is out of the way, there are plenty of options when it comes to Miami fabric stores. After figuring out your project, there are four questions you will need to ask yourself:

– What is my experience level in sewing?
– What/Who am I making this item for?
– Do I want a solid or patterned fabric?
– Where to buy fabric(s)?

Here we will tackle each of these questions one by one and guide you along this process.

What is my experience level in sewing?

Everyone has to start somewhere – whether you just purchased a new sewing machine or have been watching your mom or Abuela sew your clothes for years and know the ins and outs of the biz, it is best to have a general idea of your skill level so that you can gauge where to start.

Choosing fabric based on ease of use:

Easiest: Lightweight cotton with a close weave is a great place to begin. It is easy to sew, has a light fall, and is great for tops and dresses. Check the drape to make sure it is not too stiff. Heavy cotton is also a great option. Providing more shape, but still easy to sew, it can be a little on the stiffer side. Be sure to take that into account otherwise it will stick out a lot in places you do not want it to when you are sewing it together. Also, keep in mind that cotton needs extra fabric, as it should be pre-shrunk prior to using it.

Moderate: Linen of varied weights. Heavy linen falls nicely, feels luxurious and looks expensive. The best part is that you can leave the edges unfinished for a more rustic and bohemian vibe. If you are living in warm weather, it will keep you cool and it looks like high-end. The best fabrics in Miami are definitely linen.

Difficult: Almost every fashionista has a silk blouse they love and want to attempt to emulate, but be forewarned – Silk can be tough for novices. You will likely find yourself tempted, with its lovely fall and gorgeous feel. Nevertheless, because of its slick texture – it makes it very hard to work with. Our advice is, do not start with silk. Unless of course you have the experience to back it up. Fabrics nearby or similar that you should also stay away from if you are a first-timer — anything knit and stretchy. It sounds like a good idea in theory, but without the proper experience, it can lead to a very frustrating first project. Finally, as an extra add on – we suggest not starting out with Denim either. It is typically too thick, and you will usually need specific tools to be able to work with it, otherwise you can damage your sewing machine.

What/Who am I making this item for?

Deciding the purpose of this item will help you figure out two things: 1) the strength the fabric needs to have and 2) how much of it you will need. If you are making something that will get a lot of use – like a sundress or shirt – you will want a fabric that you are able to wash frequently. For these types of garments, cotton or polyester is a good choice because they can hold up to a wash. Fabrics like silk or taffeta (like an evening gown) can be harder to wash but are not worn as often and thus do not need to be regularly washed. Once you decide who/what you are making this item for, then you can measure (twice and cut once!) to determine how much fabric you will need. Typically, every Miami fabric shop will be able to assist you with measurements and quantities, never feel embarrassed to ask for help.

Do I want a solid or patterned fabric?

This is heavily based on the type of garment or item you will create, and will determine how much fabric you will buy. When working with patterns, always keep in mind that not matching up patterns correctly when you are sewing your project can end up looking mismatched and messy. If you are up for the challenge and decide on a pattern, it is best to start out with larger patterns on your fabrics. These are far easier to match up and give you a more wiggle room because they are not as elaborate. If you are not yet comfortable with matching up patterns yet, that is completely ok! There are plenty of clothing fabrics nearby in solid colors that will make your project just as beautiful.

Where to buy fabric(s)?

Thankfully, there are many great options for folks of every budget. We typically recommend buying fabric in person – it will help you see the drape and feel the texture. Online can be a little trickier if you do not have a lot of experience with the names of different types of fabrics. Isa Couture Fabrics, a one-stop shop Miami fabric store has experts available to answer all of your questions and help you choose the best fabric for starting your project.

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