VERY easy sew along 1 – Fabric shopping

Buying fabric is arguably one of the most fun parts of sewing.  There are some basic things the beginner should know while perusing the aisles of the fabric store.  There definitely isn’t one way to shop for fabric but I am going to give some guidelines for shopping with the top we are making in mind (here it is).  Usually when you buy fabric for a specific pattern the pattern envelope will give you recomendations for what kind of fabric will work for that pattern, but since we are doing a printable pattern online I am not going to go into reading the back of a pattern envelope.  If you read the instrucions on the burdastyle page its says we need 1 1/2 yards of fabric and it says to use a cotton material. (CORRECTION- I am adding this at a later date, if you are making larger than a size ten out of 45 inch wide fabric you need 2 1/4 yards of fabric).  That is another reason I chose this pattern for a beginner, cotton is easy to sew.  It can be cheap, it doesn’t slip, and it presses well.  So I am going to recommend you buy a cotton for your first time round, but this top could be made with any light weight non stretchy material ( I am trying to keep my terms simple here).  So any cotton would work, you can look in the quilting section or apparel.  If you see a cute sheet at the thrift store you could use that.

Now you are asking yourself “how do I know what kind of fabric it is?”   The end of the bolt will tell you

The label at the end of the bolt should tell you the following things

  1. fabric content- cotton, linen, polyester, rayon, etc.
  2. fabric width- most fabrics are 45 or 60 inches wide
  3. care instructions- how to wash it

So the bolt in the picture above is 100% cotton, 45 in wide, and machine wash cold.  Make sense?

Now generally speaking when you buy fabric you need different amounts depending if your fabric is 45 or 60 inches wide, but the way this pattern is cut you need 1 1/2 yards either way.  So go to the fabric store (Joanns is having a lot of sales this month) and fall in love with something cotton.  Now take your fabric over to the notions section of the store.  This is where you would find buttons, zippers, thread, needles etc.  The next thing we are going to need for this pattern is one package of bias tape, the package looks like this

There are many different kinds of bias tape so make sure you get the kind that says “double fold”, and towards the bottoms says 1/4 inch.  Find a tape that matches or coordinates with your fabric and throw it in your cart.

Now find a small spool of allpurpose polyester thread that matches your BIAS TAPE, this thread is going to be used to top stitch your bias tape so you want it to match as closely as possible.

Next you will take your fabric to the cutting counter (this is different than the cash register, usually some big tables in the middle of the store) and tell the clerk you need a yard and a half of fabric.  After your fabric is cut take it all up to the cashier and you are ready to go.

So here are the things you do not want to leave the store without

  1. 1 and 1/2 yards of fabric you love
  2. 1 package bias binding
  3. thread

Is this all clear.  It is hard to describe this from a beginner perspective, you know like when you were in fifth grade and you had to write down directions for how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich… I forgot to say take the bread out of the package.  So if any of this doesn’t make sense feel free to ask in the comment section and I will provide answers.  So take about a week to get your fabric, then we will talk about printing and cutting out the pattern.

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6 Responses to VERY easy sew along 1 – Fabric shopping

  1. Justiina says:

    I love your fabric shopping tutorial! I have been sewing actively for ten years now so I am not really your target group anymore but oh my I remember when I started sewing and how totally intimitated I was by all the different fabrics and notions… I was so clueless, I didn’t even dare to ask for any help ’cause I didn’t want to reveal how clueless I really was! 😉 So I think your help will certainly be appreciated by beginners!

  2. Carolyn says:

    I certainly agree that shopping for fabric is one of the most fun experiences! I just adore my local fabric shop! I need to have a definite reason to leave, or I could spend hours daydreaming about all that could be…

  3. melissa says:

    I’m kinda perplexed at how you could use bias tape for every single project? I don’t think I’ve used purchased bias tape in at least 2-3 years, and I only ever use bias strips for finishing stuff like silk blouses… :/ But for every project??

    (And my standard go-to fabric length to buy is 2m, but I know others who buy 5 yds as their standard length!)

  4. Suzy says:

    My fabric store doesn’t sell bias tape, but I have made it myself before. Will 1 1/2 yd. be enough fabric to make my own? I imagine it probably won’t be, but I don’t want to buy extra fabric. Do you think I will have enough fabric if I don’t cut the tape on the bias but with the grain? Thank you for leading this sew along! It’s nice to have guidance and advice from an experienced sewer. 🙂

  5. Julie says:

    Ok, I’ll be shopping this week for my fabric, bias tape and thread.
    I’m with ya.

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