At Made of Love Fabrics we offer several different fabric types. There are two main types of fabrics: knit (which generally have stretch), and woven (which generally do not have stretch).
Here is a handy guide for common abbreviations in the fabric and sewing community: Common Abbreviations – In the Fabric and Sewing Community
Here is a handy graphic for common uses of knit fabrics on common clothing items. This is not all encompassing, and you are encouraged to try different fabric types on different clothing styles – the best way to learn is to experiment! These are just the standard fabric types called for on patterns.
There are several different types of knit fabrics, which work well for different projects. On each individual listing we try to give ideas of how heavy, soft, and sheer a fabric is, as well as ideas of what to make with it. To get an idea of what different fabric types feel like, we offer a Knit Fabric Sampler with swatches of the main knit fabric types.
Here is a list of the fabric types offered in our Sampler with some more information about each fabric:
Cotton Lycra (CL): Cotton Lycra (Lycra is a brand of spandex) is a sturdier knit with a good amount of stretch and recovery. It is an easy knit to work with for beginners and is a common base for custom fabrics to be printed on. It works well for clothes and bands.
Cotton Spandex Jersey (CSJ): Cotton Spandex Jersey is similar to Cotton Lycra, but typically has less vertical stretch. It comes in a variety of weights and feels like a mixture between CL and jersey. Great for shirts, tops, dresses, and baby/children’s clothing.
Double Brushed Polyester Spandex: DBP is a very, very soft fabric that works well for almost all clothes and bands. Double brushed means the fabric is soft on both the right and wrong side. It is less breathable than cotton, but it is soft, warm, has beautiful drape, and is not too difficult to sew with.
French Terry (FT): French terry can vary greatly in stretch and softness, but it is generally a good fabric for beginners. It has small loops on the backside of the fabric. French terry is good for all kinds of clothes but is most commonly used for sweatshirts or sweatpants. It can make great shirts and dresses as well.
- Baby French Terry: Baby French Terry can be identified by the small loops on the back. It is typically very soft and relatively lightweight. Great for lightweight hoodies, joggers, baby clothes, dresses, tops, and more. It usually has 50% 4-way stretch.
- Poly French Terry: Poly French Terry is a bit heavier than Baby. It can be identified by it’s softness and drape. It can be used for light-to-midweight hoodies, joggers, dresses, tops, and more. It usually has 50% 4-way stretch.
- Modal French Terry: Modal French Terry can be identified by it’s softness. It is even softer than Poly, and has a bit more structure. It almost feels “squishy” when holding it in your hands. Great for jackets, joggers, tops, and more. Modal French Terry usually has 50%-100% 4-way stretch.
- Bamboo French Terry: Bamboo French Terry is similar to Modal but with a bit more structure. It is very soft, and has good drape. It makes great hoodies, joggers, and more. Bamboo French Terry can have 50% or more stretch either 2-way or 4-way.
- CL French Terry: Cotton Lycra French Terry has all the characteristics of CL but has French Terry loops on the back. It is more structured with great recovery, and very versatile. Usually with 4-way stretch.
- Triblend French Terry: Triblend French Terry can usually be identified by heather patterns on the fabric. It comes in a variety of weights, but usually has more structure. Great for hoodies, joggers and more, stretch varies.
- Cotton French Terry: Cotton French Terry is perfect for hoodies and joggers. It has a lot of structure while still being soft. Can typically be found with 50% 2-way stretch.
- Sweatshirt French Terry: Sweatshirt French Terry can have oversized loops on the back. Typically made of cotton, it is less soft than other varieties of FT, but has amazing structure. Usually has 3-way stretch.
- Brushed French Terry: Brushed FT can come in cotton, poly, and other bases. The back side of this fabric is “brushed” and resembles fleece. It is extremely soft and thick, perfect for heavyweight hoodies and joggers.
- French Terry Jacquard: French Terry Jacquard is usually distressed. It has much smaller loops than regular FT and is usually made from cotton with 2-way stretch. Great for hoodies, joggers, and more.
Hacci: Hacci is a type of sweater knit with a more open weave. Brushed Hacci’s are soft on one side. Even though the weave is more open, Hacci typically doesn’t have “holes,” it is simply a sweater knit with thicker yarn. It is soft, comfortable, and works well for outerwear, cardigans, and even dresses and clothes.
Interlock Twist Yarn (ITY): ITY is most easily identified by it’s cool, slinky, drapey feeling. It feels like a fancier fabric and can be dressed up or down. Some ITYs are slinkier than others, but it shouldn’t be too challenging for a beginner sewist either.
Jacquard: Jacquard fabrics vary greatly. The term is usually in reference to thicker knits with some sort of texture. Most jacquards have a thick, 3-D texture, they can be distressed, ruffled, raised, textured, patterned, etc.
Jersey: Jersey probably has the most variation out of any fabric type. Jerseys can be thick, thin, have different levels of stretch, and different directions of stretch. When buying Jersey one must pay attention to a fabric’s details to better understand what they are buying. Generally Jersey is a cotton polyester blend comparable to what store-bought T-shirts are made of. It usually has 2-way stretch and is a good fabric for beginners and virtually any clothes.
Liverpool: Liverpool can easily be identified by it’s texture. It is a heavier knit with “bumps” on the right side of the fabric. It is a nice, stable knit to work with and creates great garments with stiff forms such as circle skirts, or pencil skirts.
Modal: Modal is a fabric made out of a variation of rayon. It is breathable and light to medium weight. Modal has great recovery and stretch, is soft, and a bit sturdier than rayon spandex. It is great for tops, dresses, underwear, and more.
Performance (Poly Spandex): Performance fabric has amazing stretch and recovery and works well for athletic wear and dance wear. It also makes great leggings and bands.
- Tactel Performance: Tactel Performance is a Nylon/Spandex blend that is strong, soft, and stretchy. Great for leggings, sports bras, maternity bands, and more!
- Yoga Performance: Yoga Performance is Nylon/Spandex blend that is a bit lighter than Tactel but still thicker with great recovery and stretch. Great for yoga pants and lighter weight athletic tops.
Ponte: Ponte is another thicker knit that is very stable. It is good for thicker, more structured garments such as pants, pencil skirts, or even bands.
Rayon Spandex: Rayon Spandex is a lighter-weight knit. It is cool to the touch, breathable, and has great drape. It works for tops, dresses, skirts, and lighter-weight clothing. Rayon Spandex generally comes in nice vibrant prints and solids.
Rayon Crepe: Rayon Crepe is a Rayon, Poly, Spandex blend that is essentially a textured rayon spandex. It is cool to the touch with great drape and stretch and works well for most light-weight clothing.
Scuba: Scuba is a nice, stable knit to work with. It is a bit thicker and smoother than Ponte and makes great circle skirts, pencil skirts, and other structured garments.
Single Brushed Polyester Spandex (SBP): Single Brushed Poly is essentially the same as double-brushed poly except it has a soft, brushed feeling on the right side of the fabric, but the wrong side of the fabric is smooth. It is just as easy to work with and can be used for almost any garment.
Slub Jersey: Slub jersey is a type of jersey that has a heathered appearance because the “slub” is caused by parts of the yarn being thicker than others. It generally sews up the same as jersey and also varies in stretch and thickness.
Stretch Mesh: Stretch mesh, or power mesh, is a see-through fabric used for structure and stability, or as an accent on clothing. Mesh can be used as sleeves, backs, overlays, robes, cardigans, or in lingerie.
Sweater Knit: Sweater knit is soft on one side and has small zip-zags on the reverse side of the fabric. It can be used for essentially any garment but is on the warmer side.It is decently easy to work with, and can be used for all seasons depending on the weight of the fabric.
Swim (Nylon Spandex): Swim fabric is used for swimsuits. It has great stretch and recovery. It can be tricky to work with since it is slinky, but with practice and care,can be made into swim, dance, and athletic garments.
Triblend Jersey: Triblend is a type of jersey made from cotton, polyester, and rayon. It generally has a heathered look. It is soft, breathable, and has good recovery. It is a great beginner fabric and works well for many different garments.
Cotton Woven: Cotton woven, also known as quilting cotton, is a fabric with very little drape and a good amount of structure. It can be used for quilts, bags, and some children’s clothes and dresses. It is the most common fabric found in quilt shops.
Rayon Challis: Rayon challis is a rayon fabric. It is not very sheer, has great drape, does not wrinkle much, and is perfect for tops, dresses, cardigans, etc.
Silky Wool Dobby: Silky wool dobby is a polyester fabric. It is decently soft with great drape and a slight texture. It is a slinkier fabric that is great for tops, dresses, etc.
Organza: Organza is a special occasion fabric type. It is generally sheer and its texture can vary, and it is generally used for costumes and overlays.
Chiffon: Chiffon is a more sheer polyester fabric. It is not as soft as cotton fabric, but has great drape. It is perfect for overlays.
Cotton Shirting: Cotton shirting is a cotton fabric primarily used for semi-formal to formal tops. It is not very sheer, soft, and great for tops, dresses, etc.
Gauze: Gauze is a cotton fabric. It is soft and textured. The texture pulls the fabric in on itself so it appears less wide than most woven fabrics. It is great for blankets, baby clothing, tops, dresses, etc.
Crepon: Crepon is a soft textured cotton fabric. It has a vertical texture to it. It is lightweight, not very sheer with great drape, and is good for tops, dresses, skirts, cardigans, etc.
Bubble Crepe: Bubble crepe is a slighlty textured polyester fabric. It almost feels like it has small bubbles on the surface. It is generally not see-through, and has a decent amount of drape. It does not wrinkle much, and is useful for tops, dresses, skirts, cardigans, etc.