Ok so I am a novice when it comes to fabric. Before learning to sew I knew there was silk, velvet, satin, cotton, linen and polyester and that’s about it. I never realised how many different types of cotton there were, let alone all the other different fabrics out there! It’s crazy. Therefore I've always struggled when reading the recommended fabrics part of a sewing pattern. It always seemed to contain at least one fabric I have never heard of.
To start with I struggle with names of fabrics that suggest they are made of more than one type of fabric, but I think it just means they have the appearance of another type of fabric. Maybe I am misunderstanding but I do not get these:
Crepe back satin
Then there are those fabrics that have the word cotton in them but are all totally different [or are they?].
Cotton Duck Cloth
And so on
Then there’s fabrics everyone else seems to be aware of that I have no clue what they are:
Crepe (this makes me think of crepe paper, which is a rougher sort of tissue paper I used as a child when making stuff)
Finally what about these fabrics:
Crepe de chine
Can anyone tell me what the heck they are? Most of those I found listed listed on one of my stash of vintage patterns so maybe they no longer exist or are called something else these days.
I think a lot of confusion comes because I think the names for the fabric are there to describe the different style of fabric so you can identify the process used in turning the material (cotton, silk etc) into fabric. For example velvet can be made from silk or cotton or something synthetic can’t it, but the name velvet describes the fluffy pile unique to velvet [I think]. So the name describes the texture, weight and style of the fabric not what it is made from, right? But fabric shops tend to tell you what material the fabric is made from (often in percentages) and only sometimes have a description of the style of fabric. So when I go in a fabric shop the label will say 100% cotton or whatever but it’s totally different in weight and texture to another 100% cotton in the same shop even though they are both made from cotton, the fabric making process was clearly different, and has thus created a different style of fabric. Or am I totally wrong here?
As you can see thinking about fabric sends me off in circles and makes me dizzy. Oh and don’t even get me started on knits vs wovens, or wools or jerseys!!!!
Perhaps I need to invest in a fabric guide book, but what I really want is a book with little samples of each type of fabric so I can really understand what I am looking at. Does anyone have any recommendations on where to start?