fabric market (or sometimes referred to as textiles
market) is sometimes an unpredictable market. You
never know when you will come across a good deal.
Sometimes, you might find 100% linen material for $4
per yard on the web, but you might also be able to
buy the same linen for $5 yard locally at a fabric
store. Consider your shipping costs charged when you
buy fabric. Also, make sure you buy enough fabric to
complete a project. If you buy too little, you may
not be able to find more in the same dye lot to
complete a project should you need more. If you buy
too much, then you will have to store it, and it may
not be enough to complete another project. Look for
quality fabrics without holes, slubs, runs, and
dirt. Besides traditional textile vendors, check
your local thrift stores and estate sales for drapes
and other fabrics that you might be able to use in a
When deciding on a fabric, take a look and find out
what its contest is. There are two different classes
of fabrics: man-made (synthetic) and natural. Most
people like fabrics made from natural fibers.
Natural fibers have better breathability than
synthetics, and are generally more comfortable to
wear in various degrees of weather.
Knowing what a fabric is made from will also help
you determine the best methods of cleaning and
pre-shrinking. To find out if a fabric is man-made
or natural, conduct a burn test.
Snip a piece of fabric approximately 1" square.
Using a lighter, hold the fabric with a pair of
tweezers and light it over a non-flammable surface
in a well-ventilated area. Examine the quality and
color of the flame, the odor produced, and the
quality of the resulting ash.
Warnings: Use a small piece of fabric only. Hold the
fabric with metal tweezers, not your fingers.
Synthetic fabrics will ignite and melt and can cause
serious burns, so be careful to keep them away from
your skin while conducting the test.
- wool is a natural protein fiber. It does not burn
easily. While burning, it smells similar to burning
hair. The ash produced is usually black.
- Silk is a natural protein fiber. It burns slowly.
Silks smell like burning hair and produce little or
- cotton is a natural plant fiber. It burns readily
with a yellow flame. It smells like burning paper or
leaves. The ash produced is usually gray.
- Linen is a natural plant fiber similar to cotton.
Linen fibers burn slower than cotton fibers. Linen
smells like burning leaves and usually produces a
- rayon is a natural plant/wood fiber, but is still
a "processed" fiber. Rayon produces very little, if
any ash, and smells similar to burning paper.
- Nylon is a synthetic fiber and almost melts when
it burns. Nylon burns with a bluish flame and leaves
hard beads rather than ash. Some fabrics made from
nylon are taffeta and bengaline.
- Polyester is a synthetic fiber and burns easily.
Polyester leaves hard beads rather than ash. Many
fabrics are made with polyester, and are usually
blended. Blends will produce some ash. Smoke is
If you decide to conduct a burn test to determine
the fiber content of a fabric, be careful! Always
work in a safe, well-ventilated area with water and
a fire extinguisher handy. Never leave a fire
Fabrics should be stored in a dry, smoke-free and
animal free environment. Some people are allergic to
dust from cigarettes and pet dander (not to mention
the smell can be awful), so it is best never to
expose your inventory to these allergens. If fabric
is stored in a moist location, such as a basement,
it can mildew. To prevent fading, always protect
fabrics from sun or constant bright light.
Wind your fabric on cardboard bolts, upholstery
fabric roll cores or wrapping paper roll cores.
Velvets and fabrics with a pile should always be
hung to protect its fullness. Hangers for such
fabrics will have sharp hooks to hang the fabric by
Once your fabrics are on their hanger or roll, cover
with a plastic bag to protect the fabric from dust
and insects. Use clear, PVC-free plastic for easy
identification. You can also store fabric bolts
stacked on shelves, but make sure there is enough
air space to circulate fresh air around the bolts to
prevent mildew from general humidity.
Keep track of the number of yards left of each type
of fabric, just as a fabric store would inventory
their supply. This will help you properly gauge the
value of your inventory and tell you if you need to
buy more of a specific fabric of which you may need
on a regular basis.
Check these other sites from where we gleaned this
article for more information: