What is it that magnetically pulls us towards fabric? The jewelled colours? The amazing kaleidoscope of patterns? The way it excites our fingertips when we touch it? The still almost mystical way in which with a little or sometimes a lot of skill it magically transforms into fabulous garments that can make you feel like a million dollars. Whilst each of our individual motivations may differ slightly, common to us all is that the nicer the fabric the stronger the magic.
So what do we mean exactly when we refer to ‘nice’ fabric or ‘fine’ fabric or ‘luxury’ fabric. They all refer to a somewhat movable reference to the ‘quality’ of the said fabric. Here it is important not to confuse quality with price. Yes of course generally speaking very expensive fabric tends also to be very high on the quality scale. But, and it is a big but, you can find high quality fabrics popping up in unexpected places if you are vigilant.
What I hear you ask makes quality fabric nicer to sew with. Aside from those qualities we have already mentioned such as visual and tactile appeal it is primarily the way in which they ‘behave’ when subjected to the skill of the sewist. This ‘behaviour’ starts right back with the manufacture, the raw material and the manufacturing methods that produce the cloth. The raw material may be natural fibres or they may be man made and the manufacturing method may be high tech and modern or it may be steeped in tradition and small scale. Generally speaking finer fabrics are made with high quality raw materials that are processed in such a way as to make the fibres long, strong and consistent thereby giving the ability to woven into a fine and consistent cloth.