Sewing 101: What Type of Fabric Should I Use?


When you first walk into a fabric store the amount of different fabric types available to choose from can be overwhelming, especially if you are new to sewing. And while you may want to pick the prettiest kind of fabric to start with, it may not be the easiest to work with. The following are just some of the different kinds of fabrics available today.

Related blog: Tips for Choosing and Preparing Your Sewing Fabric


Cotton fabric is sometimes the most abundant fabric type in stores as it can be used on anything from clothes to quilts to home décor. Cotton is a woven fabric that comes in hundreds of different colors and prints and is easy to sew, press, and care for, which makes it a great fabric to use when learning to sew.

Related video: Tips for Finding the Straight Grain in Fabrics

Fleece & Flannel

Fleece and flannel are also fabrics that tend to be easier to work with. Even though they are thicker than cotton they are still easy to cut and in most cases can still be stitched with a universal needle. A benefit to using fleece in projects is that it doesn’t ravel, which means there is no need for hems or other edge finishes.

Related video: Fabric Tips: Sewing Fleece

Knits & Woven

In general, woven fabrics can be easier for beginner sewers than knit fabrics. Knits are stretchy fabrics, which can make it difficult to both cut and work with the fabric. They can also require the use of a stretch or ball point needle and may need some kind of edge finishing, as they ravel.

Related video: Knit vs. Woven Fabrics

Specialty Fabrics

Other fabrics that can be tricky to work with include silks, satins, and brocades. While these may be some of the prettiest fabric they tend to ravel the most making them difficult to work with. Also, these fabrics can tend to have a lot of static. While this may not be difficult to work with it can be frustrating, which is not something you want when you are just learning to sew.

Related video: Tricky Fabric Stitching Techniques

With so many fabric choices available to you, the possibilities are endless! If you’re new to sewing, try out several different types to see which ones you prefer to work with. You might be surprised with what ends up being your favorite!

Happy sewing!

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9 Responses to “Sewing 101: What Type of Fabric Should I Use?”

  1. Kate

    What is the best material to make microwaveable bean heating pads? Thank You.

  2. sheryll chavez

    I would like to make a cotton pillow case for an extra long pillow, which is the best Cotton fabric to buy and is there a pattern?

  3. Cami

    I want quality fabrics for garment sewing. Can you recommend a few good online companies. I have to drive a long way to the city for a store, so online is a better choice.

  4. Rosa Johnson

    I haven't sewn in years; are there videos for beginner? selecting a sewing machine; threading a needle, etc????

  5. Angie Franklin

    I have always wanted to learn how to sew and today I found your site and joined. I’m excited to begin ........ where do I find where to start and it’s got to be basic - thanks for any help!

  6. Kathy Boes

    My cotton fabric leaves linty. It’s been washed, dried and pressed, just ironing it my clothes are covered in lint. It’s a fleece feeling cotton. I was going to attempt pants. What fabric is best for pants? Casual pants

  7. Lisa

    One key piece of advice is to pay attention to what fabrics a pattern or craft calls for; when in doubt, ask at the cut counter. I purchased a cotton blend for a pattern that required something much lighter weight and with more stretch, and it was a headache. Mother-in-law was able to tweak and save the project, but it was a big mistake on my part!

  8. Judy Larison

    I have found that knits ravel very little, contrary to the comment above. For instance, I made a top of matte jersey which used unfinished cut edges on the sleeve hems and the neck binding.

  9. Katie

    I am making a dupioni silk dress for my daughters wedding in july. While i think it should properly be lined, I hesitate to line it because...its July!! Any thoughts...should I line it, is there a breathable lining out there somewhere??