Sewing: Choosing the Right Fabric

Sewing: Choosing the Right Fabric
Nerida Hansen
Nerida Hansen

Choosing the right fabric is key when you are about to embark on a sewing project. It is the most significant component. Let’s face it, it can make or break the end result!

Amongst us there has been many a good intention, but without thought and preparation it can end in instant failure. This can be avoided by learning how different fabric types feel and behave, which will then lead to you making the right choice.

Fabrics are either woven or knitted and can be made from animal fibres such as wool and silk or plant-based fibres as with cotton and linen or human-made fibres like nylon or polyester.

Below is a quick glance at some popular fabrics on the market. We have broken down the properties of Nerida Hansen Fabrics on our website. For more detail visit Our Fabrics online here.

Cotton – Closely woven fabric that is soft and versatile.

Mid-weight Cotton – A plain weave that is easy-to-sew. A good choice for beginners.

Linen Cotton – Breathable fabric that suits summertime apparel and structured garments.

Cotton Sateen – Light-weight fabric with a silky, smooth texture and luxe look.

GOTS Organic Quilting Cotton – A simple weave that is soft and comfortable.  

100% Linen – More expensive option than the linen cotton blend and creases heavily.

Silk – Shiny, slippery fabric that is challenging to sew.

Polyester – Synthetic fabric that is inexpensive and light-weight.

The first step is to decide on your project because that will then determine what fabric you need. What are you going to make? If you are a first-time sewer consider churning out a few scarves to get you in the swing of things. But if you are feeling more adventurous and you have the skills to match then scroll through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. It is never-ending!

Once you have made your decision on what you want to sew, the next action is to go fabric shopping (whoop! whoop!) and it is at this point that you need to consider a few things when making your fabric selection.

If you are keen to sew a garment, then most patterns will recommend what fabrics complement the pattern design. This is especially helpful for beginners. Most patterns also provide customers with how much fabric is needed to sew that particular garment.

Check the hang or drape of the fabric. This is an important factor because the drape determines how the fabric flows. For example, linen cotton is stiffer in comparison to cotton sateen that has more flow. Cotton sateen would be an ideal choice if your intention was to create a floaty skirt or pyjamas and linen cotton would suit a more structured piece.

The width of the fabric will determine how much fabric you will require. This is an easy thing to overlook. Remember to check and check again.

If you are making a garment for yourself, then hold up the fabric against your skin. Does it compliment your complexion or age you beyond your years? Go with the favourable one.

It is no secret that here at Nerida Hansen Fabrics we are fans of vibrant and bold prints as well as subtle pastels. We love a print! Try and visualise the finished product, does it work with a small or large design. It may be exactly what you were looking for to add an extra touch of flair.

Most fabrics have an element of elasticity. Pull the fabrics between your fingers to test the stretch. The amount of stretch will change how the final product fits your body if you are sewing apparel.

Ensure you have enough fabric, then make your purchase. Nothing worse than almost at the end of your sewing venture and you run out of fabric before completion. Urgh! 

Before you start, we recommend that you wash your fabrics prior to cutting and sewing.

To trigger your enthusiasm, check out a few finished projects using Nerida Hansen Fabrics made by some of favourite makers.

Cotton Sateen
Laura from @stitch_dont_kill_my_vibe showcases our cotton sateen in Waterbird on Deep Green print by Vanessa Holiday to create a beautiful, boxy jacket.

Mid-weight Cotton
Mid-weight cotton is Amelia’s from @tildaandmoo go to fabric on an everyday basis. She says it is versatile, easy-to-sew and cost effective. She also uses our cotton linen, mid-weight cotton and GOTS organic cotton quilting fabrics for bibs and burp cloths.

GOTS Organic Cotton Quilting
Experienced sewer, Katie from @katiemakesadress tackled a quilted jacket using a Jigger Jagger design from our GOTS organic cotton quilting range and the result is stunning! She says she loves the use of cotton for this jacket and with any leftovers Katie made make-up wipes.

Another fan of the GOTS organic cotton quilting range is Wen from @hellooumu who makes zipper pouches, scrunchies, tote bags, drawstring backpacks and face masks. She says it is easy to care for, washes well, feels nice and breathable.

Linen Cotton
Nerida Hansen Fabrics regularly make an appearance on the lamp shades from @livslamps.

In fact, Liv tends to buy something from each range and she says she prefers the linen cotton for a soft look.

We adore our creative followers. If you would like to be included in our Makers Directory send an email to

Words by Jacqui Taylor

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