The Beginner's Guide to Fashion Fabrics: Wovens | Caroline Somos | Skillshare

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The Beginner's Guide to Fashion Fabrics: Wovens

teacher avatar Caroline Somos, Founder, Blackbird Fabrics

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Fundamentals of Weave


    • 3.

      The Fundamentals of Fiber


    • 4.

      Fabric Selection Tips


    • 5.

      Tips for Working With Fabric


    • 6.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Join Caroline Somos, founder of Blackbird Fabrics, as she gives you a crash course on picking the right fabric for your project. This quick and focused class zeroes in on woven fabrics. Caroline explains the basics of fiber and weave, guides you through fabric selection, and offers tips for working with your fabric.

For your project, apply what you learned in this class to complete a design worksheet. You'll be able to pick out a sewing pattern that you love, reflect on your specific needs and wants, and confidently select the perfect fabric for your garment.


Keep up with Caroline and her shop on instagram and her blog.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Caroline Somos

Founder, Blackbird Fabrics


Caroline Somos is the founder of Blackbird Fabrics, an online fabric store based in Canada and specializing in apparel fabrics and garment sewing supplies. After graduating with a degree in fashion design, Caroline spent five years working for a leading wholesale textile company, where she fell madly in love with fabric and textiles.

Caroline believes fiercely in the resurgence of home sewing and dressmaking. She's passionate about sharing her knowledge of fabric and sewing with the world.

Blackbird Fabrics has been featured in web and print publications including Sew News, Simply Sewing Magazine UK, Seamwork Magazine, and The Sewing Affair Podcast.

Keep up with Caroline and her shop on instagram and her blog.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: I'm Caroline. So most I'm online Fabric shop owner on Seamstress. I've been going for a little. My grandmother was a suit stress in a tailor shop in Montreal on my great grandmother was also a seamstress by trade on from a very young age, I felt a whole two words sewing in creative ways. I studied fashion. Is I in college? When I graduated, I started working more fashion Textile Company. I was working in your show with local fashion designers helping their pick out fabrics for their collection. I spent a lot of time sewing for myself at home just as a hobby, and eventually I realized that I felt a really strong connection to work sewing as a craft . That's when I decided to open my own shop. Black fabrics. Sewing is really great because you can build 100 wardrobe that's perfectly suited to your style. And for me. When I was spending one more time sewing for myself, I had this realization that I could build Ah, honey wardrobe make garments that were perfectly fitted to my body instead of trying to make my body fit into the clothes that I was finding stores on that was really empowered in this class. I'm gonna teach you all about the fundamentals of fiber. Also didn't talk about what you should look for when you're shopping for comfort in a store . Munich abuse and tips for working with fabric so that you're setting yourself up for success. Finally, I'm going to challenge you to fill out our design worksheet where you're gonna get to pick out a pattern love, reflect on your needs on what you're looking for in the final varmint, and then pick out a fabric that's perfectly suited to your vision. Maybe you're a beginner on you always seem to be picking out the world's fabrics, and you don't know why. You might also be an intermediate. So I don't know what time about textiles. Want to expand your knowledge? Take your sewing to the next level. Might even be an aspiring fashion designer and study fashion in school. You don't know a lot about textiles, and you really want to learn more so that you can meet more thoughtful choices for your pleasure. For the past seven years, I've been helping people pick out perfect fabrics for their projects at the end of this class, you're gonna leave a deeper understanding of textiles and the confidence to go fabric shopping and pick out a fabric that's perfectly suited to the garment that you want to make . 2. The Fundamentals of Weave: when you're starting out, you might know very little about fabrics. I think it's so valuable for you to understand how a fabric is made, what it's made from and how those things affect the fabrics characteristics. To truly understand, make an informed fabric choice and work with the fabric properly, So I want to strip it down to the bare facts for you. What is a woven fabric? A woman Fabric is the most common type of fabric there is. You'll find it in both apparel and home furnishings. In a woman fabric. There are threads running vertically, which are called the warp threads and threads running horizontally, which are called the West Threats. The West threats we've over and under the warp threats to create the fabric. Just a quick note. This is different from a knit fabric where the threats or yards are looped together instead of woven together. When a fabrics being manufactured, the way the threads are woven will dictate what we call the we've. So I want to go over some common fabric leaves with you and their characteristics. The first we've we're going to talk about is the plane leave in a plainly fabric. The left simply passes over and under the work yards. This is the most common fabric leave. It takes up 80% of woven fabric production worldwide. Plainly, fabrics are hard wearing their strong. They have a stable construction. They don't have a wrong or right side unless the fabrics been printed or the surface has been treated with something like a wax coating or of water treatment. Some examples of plain weave fabrics are Shawn Bray chiffon, Cray lawn, organza and boil. The next week we're gonna talk about is the satin weave in a satin weave. The weft thread floats over several work threads at a time, and then under one or vice versa, where the warp thread floats over several weft threads. Certainly, fabrics are delicate as they can stag more easily, and some lighter weight saddens are more difficult to cut in. So so keep that in mind. If you're a beginner. Satin leaves are luxurious. They have a beautiful drape, a natural luster, a smooth, soft hand, and they're shiny on the right side and dull on the back side. A couple of examples of satin weave fabrics are charmeuse on the team. The third most common we've is the 12 Eve In a 12. We've the West Threat will go over one or more warp threats and under two or more warp threats. This pattern will continue in the falling row at an offset which creates a diagonal pattern . In the we've 12 weaves are durable. They have a nice drape, their pliable, and they do have a right and wrong side. A couple of examples of 12 we've are denim and gabardine. A jacquard weave isn't one of the most common types of woven fabrics, but I wanted to touch him it today because I think it's really cool. Jerk Army was produced on a special loom, which enables the threats to be woven into a complex design or pattern. Jacquard leaves our lustrous, and they tend to have a slightly stiffer hand feel and a decorative, intricate look. Some examples of card weaves are brocade damn ISC, or you can even find some more modern cards with graphic patterns woven in. So keep in mind, the weave type will affect the way the finished fabric looks, feels and performs 3. The Fundamentals of Fiber: There are two components to every fabric. There's the fiber and the weak. Think about that. We've as the recipe and fiber as the ingredients. The fiber is the raw material used to make the thread or yarn that has been woven into fabric. You'll come across both man made and natural fibers, so let's look at some common ones and their characteristics. Cotton This soft, natural. It's breathable, strong, absorbent and machine washable. Wool is natural, readable, strong and durable. It offers UV protection and its moisture wicking well, keeps you warm when you're cool and cool your warm what can sometimes be scratchy, so it's important to give it a little test against your skin. And if it's too achy for you, it might not be right for you. Live in is lightweight, readable. It's crisp, but it softens with washing. It's really the quintessential summary fiber linen wrinkles easily, but you kind of have to embrace the wrinkles. It's part of its charm. Lenin is a very strong fiber, but it has a low LS to see, which means the fiber can break over time. If it's left folded, I recommend always hanging your linen garments, silk is high end. Soft, smooth, lustrous, the colors air saturated, and it has an amazing drape. Silken. Be expensive, and dry cleaning is often recommended. Rio is what we call a semi synthetic. Simply put round is made from heavily processed wood pulp. Because of that, we can't call it natural. But it borrows some amazing characteristics from natural fibers like its softness, beautiful drape and readability. The downside to rail is that it has low durability. It tends to pill wrinkles easily, and it can be sensitive to heat when ironing. If you want to extend the life of your round garment, I recommend always hand washing and hanging or laying it flat to dry. Polyester has a bad reputation because some Polly has an artificial plasticky Handfield. It doesn't press very well, and it's not very readable. But it does have some redeeming qualities. It's stain resistant, durable, washable, wrinkle resistant, quick drying, inexpensive. Look out for the high end stuff and you'll be happy it'll be silky soft and have a beautiful draped Final is durable, easy care washable. It has a low moisture absorbency, which means that its moisture wicking it has great elasticity, and it holds its shape. It's resistant to damage from chemicals, mildew and salt water. So it's popular for swimwear, athletic wear and luxury. And I was a bit of a clean e fabric, and it lacks credibility, so it's not often used for everyday garments. Sometimes fibers are blended together to bring down the cost of the fabric or to create a better, stronger fabric by borrowing the best characteristics from each fibre. For example, in certain denims, cotton is blended with spandex to give the fabric better recovery and elasticity. Often, polyester and cotton are blended together to have the breathe ability and softness of cotton with the wrinkle resistance of polyester. When you're shopping for fabric, consider both the characteristics of the we've and the fiber content. This will help you to understand how the fabric will behave in your final government. 4. Fabric Selection Tips: so we talked about fiber and we've and how those elements influenced the fabric. But how does this apply when you're up shopping, Whether you're shopping online or in a store or simply pulling from your personal stash, it's important to really consider the fabrics key characteristics. Even if a power company has given you some guidance on fabric selection on the back of the envelope, really train yourself to look closer. The drink is the way the fabric hangs. Think about if you're looking for something stiff structured that holds its shape, Or are you looking for something that's fluid? Hang softly skins the body. Think about your finished garment and how you'd like it to hang. Unroll your fabric and hold it against your body or another object. You can even gather it up in your hand and see how it falls. Remember, fabrics don't always draped the way you would expect. For example, organza is lightweight and sheer, so you might expect it to be fluid. But it's quite stiff, and it holds its shape. Wait is easy to interpret, just by holding a fabric between your fingers and feeling its thickness. Keep in mind garment type season and garment construction. So if you'd like to make an unlined dress, hold the fabric up to the light, is it? See through. If you're making pants or a pencil skirt, look for a stable, durable fabric that's gonna be strong enough to stand up to the stress on the seams. Think about how many layers you're gonna be sewing through and also if the fabric is gonna be too stiff when you layer it. For example, if you're making a button down shirt, you don't wanna have a thick fabric layered up on the caller and the placket because that could affect the fit of the garment and the way that it hangs. Hand feel is more abstract because you want to touch the fabric and decide if you like the way it feels. Will you want that fabric next to your skin? Handfield is also important because it helps you to consider if the fabric will be difficult to work with. For example, if it's slippery, how often are you gonna wear this? Garment doesn't need to be machine washable, or are you willing to hand wash or dry clean it? Will you want to wear it every day or just on occasion. Does the fabric wrinkle easily when you crush it in your hand? Now they've learned all about fiver we and what to consider when picking out of fabric. It's the perfect time to start filling out your design work sheet. Pick out a pattern that you love that uses woven fabrics, fill out the pattern information on all of the materials required. Now it's time to think about what you're hoping to achieve with this finished garment. What season is it for? Will you be wearing it daily? Is machine washing your garment important to you? Once you decide on the specific attributes you're looking for, it's time to pick something out. I would love for you to share your worksheet with the class so we can see what you're planning. 5. Tips for Working With Fabric: When you come home with a new fabric, it's easy to want to jump right in and get straight to the bottom. But there are a few things you can do it fast to ensure that your fabric is prepped on Ready to go. If you have one, take away from this video lesson. I wanted to be free Washing. Pre washing is so important because the fabric is going to shrink the most on its first wash. Start by surging or zigzag, stitching the raw edge of your fabric before you wash it. This is just gonna avoid fraying and any like messy edges after you wash it. If it's available to you, follow the care instructions provided by the fabrics manufacturer or the fabric shop you purchase the fabric from. If not, Google is your friend. Just google the name and type of fabric and see what comes up, and it's helpful to you. You can also cut a swatch and test wash and dry it to see how it reacts. When in doubt, you can just hand wash and lay flat or hang your fabric to dry. I love using a gentle solution like soak or you colon. When I'm doing this, if you notice that your fabric shrinks significantly, then wash it again. It's better to be safe than sorry. Before you iron out your prewashed fabric. You want to cut tests, watch so that contested with your If you're working with a delicate fabric or you notice that your fabric is sensitive to heat, you want to use a press cloth as a protective layer between your iron and your fabric. You can actually make your own press cloth at home just by cutting a square of cotton fabric. Have a couple right here that I did myself and you just use it. Use pinking shears to finish the raw edges that they don't right. You can also purchase a sheer press cloth in your local sewing supply shop. Something like this one is a silk organza press, and the advantage to this is that you can see through so that you can see the details of your project as you're pressing when you're picking out bread. All purpose polyester thread works fine for most projects, but consider using caught bread for cotton fabrics and silk thread for silk fabrics. This will ensure that the thread ages and washes at the same rate as the rest of your garment on. Because of Fred Mashes the fiber of your garment, it will blend a little bit better now that you're fabric is ready. Here are a few cutting tips. The popular choice is scissors, but I love using a rotary cutter and cutting matt. It's an investment, but it insures accuracy and speed. If you're using pins to secure your pattern to your fabric, consider the gauge. To avoid damaging the weave, find Gage pins for lightweight and delicate fabrics. Medium gauge for light to medium weight fabrics and heavier gauge for your denims. 12 and other sturdy fabrics. Look for glass head pins because they won't melt if you touch them with your iron. Ah, great alternative to pins are pattern lease. I love using household items like hockey packs or heavyweight washers. If you're having trouble cutting trickier or slippery fabrics, you can sandwich tissue between your fabric layers. Spray starch is another great option to stabilize slippery fabrics. Just remember to test. I'll just watch first. Remember, the extra care you take to prepare and cut your fabrics is gonna be worth it. You'll be setting yourself up for success when it comes time to so 6. Final Thoughts: I'm so excited that you took this class and I hope that you read with a deeper understanding of fabrics on that you're excited to go fabric shopping and put your knowledge to work. Don't forget to fill out your work sheets on Share it with class. If you decide to sew up the environment, I would love to see it account. Wait to see what you're working on. A legally below to my blob, where you'll find more tips and tricks about fabric and sewing. Thank you so much. And I hope you enjoy the class.