One of the most exciting things about learning to sew is discovering the vast range of fabrics out there. But how much do you really know about them? Find out with this fun quiz.
1. The weather has been cold recently and you’re looking for a practical fabric to use in a winter coat. Which fabric do you choose?
A. Something fluffy and furry that makes you feel snuggly.
B. Pure wool – nothing is as good at keeping you warm.
C. A dense cotton-based fabric with a waxed surface, or a heavy suede – you want to keep the wind out.
D. Whatever takes your fancy, as long as it looks good and feels nice to touch.
2. You’re making a suit to wear at work, where it’s important to look smart. Your office is warm and comfortable but sometimes rather humid. How do you proceed?
A. You go for a classic look with linen, at once sophisticated and summery, even it does mean that you need to do a lot of extra ironing.
B. You stick with an old favourite, pure cotton – nothing is as comfortable, breathable and healthy for your skin on hot days.
C. You go for a traditional woollen fabric such as cashmere – it may be heavy, but it’s really good at drawing heat away from your skin.
D. You wear a fashionable synthetic fabric in this season’s colour – after all, making a good impression is more important than comfort in the long term.
3. You’re asked to help create a costume for a young relative to wear at a party. Naturally the child has lots of strong ideas about how it should look, but how do you select the right fabrics?
A. You hunt out colourful, exciting staples of children’s party clothing such as cotton velvet, taffeta and organza.
B. You choose appealing shiny fabrics like satins and chiffon, but line the costume with soft cotton that will be gentle to the child’s skin.
C. You use only fabrics that have been certified as a low fire risk – which rules out a lot of synthetics – and you’re careful to avoid delicate materials that will tear easily when the child is playing.
D. You let the child take the lead and try to create as exciting a costume as possible, with lots of glitter and sequins and fancy trimming – after all, they’ll only be young once!
4. The fabric on your sofa has grown faded and stained, but the sofa itself is still comfortable, so rather than getting a new one you decide to re-cover it yourself. What kind of fabric do you use?
A. Soft velvet – it’ll look glamorous and feel wonderful when you sink down into it.
B. Corduroy – it’s comfortable enough for day to day use, but also hardwearing and practical. This isn’t a job you want to have to repeat every year!
C. If you’re going to create something that will really last well, will be fire safe, and comes in a wide range of colours, you can’t beat furniture-grade PVC.
D. A fashionable cotton-nylon blend that will allow you to get exactly the shade and pattern you want.
5. You acquire an attractive piece of fabric second hand and want to use it to make clothing, but it’s a bit scruffy and you’re not sure what it’s made of. How do you prepare it?
A. Send it to the dry cleaners.
B. Hand wash it with minimal soap powder and then hang it out to dry. Iron it through a tea towel to avoid overheating it.
C. Cut off a small swatch and run it through the washing machine to see how it fares. Avoid using biological powders.
D. Just put it in the washing machine and see what happens – if it’s really delicate it’ll be too much trouble to look after in the long term anyway.
How Did You Score?
- Mostly A’s – You take a common sense approach to choosing fabric that will enable you to produce good looking work, but your creations may not last well in the long term.
- Mostly B’s – Your traditional, natural approach to working with fabric is well founded but limits your options a lot – sometimes unnecessarily. Modern fabrics have improved a lot and may serve you better than you think.
- Mostly C’s – You’re well informed, practical, and good at finding innovative solutions to problems, but sometimes you make an unnecessary amount of work for yourself. Remember that sewing should be fun!
- Mostly D’s – You’re a beginner when it comes to fabric lore, and perhaps you don’t want to learn more as you’re happy with your hobby and you’re good at making it work for you.