A Complete Guide to Fabric Types

There is a jungle of different kinds of fabrics. Some are thin and stretchy, others more heavy and solid. Choosing material has everything to say. You will get completely different garments in various fabrics, even with the same sewing pattern. What should you choose?


FRENCH TERRY The softy sweatpants you use when you relax on the sofa has a good fit and feels fluffy on the inside. You will see there are small loops on the inside, and the fabric is called french terry. This type of material is also well suited for hoodies and vests. French terry contains approx. 5% lycra/elastane and 95% cotton.


The isoli fabric is well suited for sweatpants and sweaters. This kind of material is very much like the french terry. But there are some differences.

You will not be able to pull it as much as with french terry, and on the backside, the loops are not visible, but you will see more of a brushed side. It feels very comfortable against the skin. The fabric contains approx. 95% cotton and 5% elastane.


Jersey fabric is a knitted cotton fabric that is thinner than french terry and isoli. It is perfect for sweaters, pants, tops, skirts, dresses, leggings, underwear, shirts, onesies, and the list is long. The fabric has a good stretchability and usually contains a little more elastane than french terry and isoli. It will also naturally stretch because of how the jersey it's knitted.


Punto has a double-knit structure and is well suited for many different garments. If you have sewn in jersey fabric, this will feel thicker and more robust. It has a two-way stretch that shapes itself to the shape of the body. Punto is perfect for leggings, pants, dresses, skirts. Punto is usually a combination of viscose, elastane, and polyester. The fabric is easy to sew in and will not curl at the edges.


Viscose jersey is well suited for light tops, skirts, t-shirts, and dresses. It feels very soft to the skin and contains viscose and elastane.


A double knitted jersey has two knitted layers that often can be used on both sides. Perfect for tops, cardigans, sweaters, and dresses. It is elastic but not as much as a regular jersey fabric. It contains polyester and cotton.


We often can see ribbed jersey in tops, dresses, sweaters, and so on. It is very stretchy in the crosswise direction. The fabric contains cotton and elastane.


We use this to give the garment a finished result and where we want it to be very stretchy. For example, the most common places are around the neck, arms, waist, and foot. The knitted rib feels a little more elastic and thinner than the ribbed jersey fabric.



Fleece is a synthetic fabric. It warms nicely and is perfect for jackets, sweaters, pants, and overalls.

By the way, did you know that some types of fleece are made from recycled bottles?


This fabric is very popular and doesn't have any stretch. It's perfect to sew pillowcases, shopping nets, bags, aprons, and other sewing projects.


This fabric is a strong fabric that can last for a long time and give a beautiful shape to the body. The result of making a dress of this fabric is fantastic. You can also choose a stretchy linen fabric.


Used for many things but perfect for overalls, pants, pillows, shirts, dresses, and jackets. Corduroy is a fabric made of cotton/polyester.


Quilted jersey has layered cotton materials that are stitched together to form a fluffy effect.

You can get beautiful jackets, pants, and overalls with this fabric.


Muslin is a soft and light fabric. You can get beautiful baby clothes and dresses out of it. It's a healthy, organic fabric made of cotton.


If you are making something that needs to be windproof and water-repellent, then softshell is an excellent choice. If it has fleece on the wrong side, it will be very comfortable to wear.

This fabric contains approx. 100% polyester.


Wool has many useful properties. When the weather is hot, it transports heat and moisture away. But when it's cold, it keeps the heat inside. Wool fabric is perfect for children and adults all year round. Make sweaters, trousers, hat lining, woolen underwear, and more of this wonderful fabric.


Teddy fabric is a popular fabric used for jackets, sweaters, etc. It is super soft and is 100% cotton. It also has a good stretch.


Canvas is an extremely robust heavy cotton fabric. Perfect for bags, tents, sails, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required.


Denim is one of the most used, robust, and well-known fabrics we have. There are yarns in different colors made of cotton, which are woven.

Denim is the fabric used for jeans, jeans-jackets, shorts, vests, overalls, and more.


Should I wash the fabric before I start sewing?

Yes, you should wash the fabric before sewing. You get rid of excess color that can spread to other parts of the garment and other chemicals. After the first wash, it will shrink. So if the garment was finished without washing, it might make a whole size smaller.

(Remember to sew zigzag around on fabrics that can unravel).

What is lycra/elastane? It is a fabric that can expand a full six times to then return to the original size.


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