If you’re a sewing enthusiast, you know that finding the right fabric for your project feels like hitting the jackpot. With so many options online, we thought we would make the process easier by offering tips for finding the right material for your next project. 

If you’re a seasoned sewer you will be familiar with fabrics in general, but for a novice, just starting out it may be a little difficult to know which fabrics to go for. If you're in store, our friendly team can guide you in the right direction and give you expert advice on which fabric to choose, but if you're a novice browsing for fabrics online you might be wondering - “Where do I begin?”

Understanding Fabric Types:

Before you begin the pursuit to find the perfect fabric for your project, it's important to understand the fundamentals. There are 4 main types of fabric and below we will help you determine which one might be the right fit for you. 

There are 4 fundamentals when it comes to the construction of fabric:

  1. Woven 
  2. Knit 
  3. Non woven 
  4. Hides
Woven fabrics are made by weaving and interlacing two or more threads of fibre together at a right angle. How can you tell if a fabric is woven? Have a closer look,  if the threads have a perpendicular criss-cross pattern, it's woven.  A woven fabric can be made from both natural and synthetic fibres and they offer a stiff and sturdy structure which is easy to sew.  Examples of woven fabrics include : Denim, Wool Coating, Rayon, Cotton, Linen. 

Knit fabrics are  made by yarns initially formed into loops and then interconnected in order to produce a textile structure. How can you tell if a fabric is woven? Have a closer look,  If the threads appear to have loops, then it's knit. Again, knits can be made from both natural and synthetic fibres like merino wool or polyester.  The texture of knit fabric is flexible and unstructured, so it will stretch to conform to most shapes and offer a nice drape. Knit fabrics offer qualities like softness & resistance to wrinkling. However, due to its stretchiness, knit fabric is a little harder to sew as  it can be challenging to stitch straight lines without gathers and puckers. Examples of our knit fabrics include: Merino wool, Ultra Knit, Cotton Lycra, Ponte De Roma.

Non woven Fabrics are fibres that have been meshed together using moisture, heat, and pressure. Examples of non woven fabrics include felt, vinyl and interfacing. Non-woven textiles tend to be weaker, as the fibres are not held together in any structured, secure way.

Hides of an animal  (e.g., cowhide or horsehide).  We don’t sell these. There are so many alternatives to leather today that are cruelty-free, chic and eco-friendly!

Choosing the Right Fabric for Your Project:

Now that you are familiar with the fundamentals, the next step is deciding on which fabric to use. Firstly, think about the requirements of your project, such as the functionality and aesthetics. Do you want something lightweight and breathable for a summery dress? Or are you looking for something warm and cosy for a coat?

Are you searching for a natural fibre obtained from plants and animals? Or a synthetic fibre obtained from synthetic matter and made by man?

If you have a pattern, turn it over and have a read of the “suggested fabrics” section. This is a great place to start as it will give you an outline of what will work for your chosen garment. If you’re going with the flow and creating something without a pattern, do you have any garments similar in your wardrobe? Read the labels and find out the fabric composition. Below you will find a list of our most popular fabrics and their properties to help assist you in choosing what's best for your project!

WOOL COATING (natural & synthetic woven fibre)

  • Extremely durable
  • Breathable. 
  • Naturally wrinkle-resistant
  • Recommended for Intermediate sewing levels
  • Will it shrink?  Slightly. Pre wash your wool coating before starting your project. 
  • Perfect for outerwear like winter coats and shawls. 

RAYON (synthetic woven fibre)

  • High level of comfort 
  • Breathable and moderately absorbent 
  • Offers a nice drape
  • Great for beginner and intermediate sewing level 
  • Will it shrink? Yes. Always pre wash your rayon before you start your project. 
  • Perfect for summer blouses, dresses and skirts. 

MERINO WOOL (natural knitted fibre)

  • High level of comfort
  • Highly breathable and absorbent 
  • Soft on the skin 
  • Recommended for Intermediate and advanced sewing level
  • Will it shrink? Use a normal warm or cool machine wash cycle with regular powder or liquid detergent and you should be fine!
  • Perfect for your winter thermals, jumpers and track pants. 

LINEN (natural woven fibre)

  • High level of comfort 
  • Has a moderate drape 
  • Perfect for beginners 
  • Softens after each wash 
  • Will it shrink? No
  • Great for making summer tops, dresses and pants and also bedding.

Fabric Quality:

It may sound cliche but the quality of your fabric  impacts the outcome of the finished product. When you invest in higher quality fabrics, you not only get a better finish resulting in a professional look but also a finished product that lasts! So if you can fork out an extra few dollars without breaking the bank  it can pay off in the long run. 

If you’re on the hunt for affordable high quality fabrics in New Zealand, The Fabric Shop is your one stop shop! While other online retailers exist, we pride ourselves on sourcing the highest quality fabrics at unbeatable prices. You can always snag yourself a bargain with us, but more importantly, you can be rest assured you won’t be compromising on quality.  We work directly with vendors from around the globe to source the latest colours, prints and fabrics left over from international designers, so that you can shop for the latest fashion trends.


With so many fabric options available it can be overwhelming to know where to get started and which fabric to pick- but picking the right fabric is crucial! By following our tips in this blog, you are halfway there to finding the perfect fabric for your next project!  

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