There are lots of ways to select your new project, you can look for inspiration on Pinterest or on Google and then work out how to make the design in the most simple way. Other options is using a pattern. You can also find an item in a shop you like, or something you own already, and use the idea or the actual item as a basis.
Doing some research about the garment that you want to make. You can go window shopping and look around at what is in stores and what fabrics are being used. There’s nothing more valuable that being able to touch and feel a garment to understand the part the fabric plays, and that way you can get an understanding of what fabrics are trending, making your projects feel a little more contemporary.
Always unroll the fabric a few yards and see how it hangs. The hang or ‘drape‘ of the fabric will be a key element in terms of how the garment looks on. Notice how silk hangs softly, while linens are more heavy with a tendency to stick out when pleated or gathered? the drape of the fabric is the most important factor in choosing a fabric that looks good and suits the project.
Fabrics usually come in two or three different widths –150cm or 110 cm being most common, and the width of your fabric will determine how much you will need to buy.
You must consider the shrinkage factor when choosing a fabric. You have to understand whether the fabric will shrink after washing, because each fabric has a different shrinkage percentage. To be safe, add 10% to the size of the fabric you are going to buy.
Often the lighting in a store can make a color look different to how it looks in natural light, so always take the fabric into natural light prior to purchasing.
Pull the fabric between your fingers to test the stretch. Most fabrics will have an element of stretch, particularly when pulled on the cross (diagonal against the grain), and this will be useful to understand.
Take the time to visualize what the project will look like in a given fabric. Think about the color and drape – will the dress you want to make look good in a light silk fabric, or would it be better in a heavy linen? Think about your own shape too – heavier fabrics tend to be more forgiving on the figure than light silks – particularly in the case of simple sewing projects with limited structure.