A (Very) Little Guide to Fabric

Choosing the right fabric is possibly the most important part of your project, since if you don’t get this right, then nothing else will work out properly. That’s why it’s essential to understand the terms used to describe the make up of a piece of fabric especially if you’re ordering online.

The selvedge (or selvage) is the finished edge of the piece of fabric. It’s very tightly woven and won’t fray. It may be printed with the same design as the fabric itself or it may be a solid background colour with dots or squares of the colours used in the design spaced along it. (These are very handy for matching different fabrics together). It may also feature an arrow pointing towards the top if the fabric has a directional design.

The threads that run parallel to the selvedge, ie lengthwise, are the warp threads. Those which run across the fabric at right angles to the warp threads are the weft threads.

The right side of a piece of fabric is the outside or finished side – the side that you want to be visible when your project is finished. It’s very easy to tell which side is the right side on a printed fabric, though can be harder on a plain fabric. It’s pretty obvious then, that the wrong side must be the inside or unprinted side of the fabric – the side that shouldn’t be visible when your project is complete.

And finally, if you imagine a line drawn across your fabric at 45 degrees to the selvedge, then this is the bias. A woven fabric will have some stretch when it’s cut in the direction of or “on” the bias, which is why bias binding is so good for fitting around curves.

Have you got any tips for handling fabric? Leave them in the comments below, we’d love to know!

*Article originally featured in Bustle & Sew Magazine. Find out more HERE

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