Some fabrics are easier to cut and sew, which creates a firm foundation for beginner sewists to build their confidence and skills. Sewists just starting will benefit from using forgiving fabrics so let get into it!
What makes a fabric easy to sew?
It will be simple to feed through the machine, cut, and will usually be cost-efficient; consider fabrics like cotton and linen, which are very budget-friendly and easy to manage. When choosing a fabric, look for one that isn’t too thin or thick and has minimal stretch. Stick with solid fabrics or random prints that don’t require print/pattern matching.
With a crisp and smooth hand, this is a beginner’s dream. It’s stable and even presses well. Being a versatile fabric with a slight sheerness, it’s used to make a wide assortment of things like blouses and dresses.
Shirting is crisp with a bit of texture that creates a little friction, making it easier to handle. It won’t slip when being pinned or handled, so it’s easy to cut and sew since the seams don’t get bulky when being in contact with the presser foot or needle.
This fabric won’t easily slip when being cut, having a hand with a bit of texture. It presses easily, too. If you’re looking for a summer weight fabric that looks similar to denim without being as thick and bulky, chambray is your answer.
Are you looking for a natural material that’s widely used? Linen is your answer. It presses easily and has sides that stick together, so there’s less pinning to do. This fabric is excellent for making warm weather clothes. Strong and absorbent with properties that make it very breathable, linen is a fan-favorite fabric that’s also great for beginners.
Soft and a bit thinner than fleece— flannel is the coziest beginner-friendly fabric to sew with. (I made my first apparel garment out of fairy printed flannel). With a looser weave than most other cotton, it’s easier to pull on the fabric when seam ripping mistakes. Flannel pieces also stick together, making it easy to cut and sew. Check out the beginner winter fabrics post for more on sewing with fleece and other beginner-friendly winter fabrics.
Ponte is a double knit that won’t roll at the edges and is more stable than other t-shirt material. It’s among the easiest knits to sew, especially if it’s free of elastane. Ponte is great for garments with more structure and typically doesn’t require the use of a lining.
These patterns are beginner friendly requiring few seams and special skills. The fabrics above will work well for each pattern.
Begin your sewing journey by using fabrics that make life a bit easier. It will build your confidence and produce much better results. Remember: everyone messes up, so don’t fret if you make mistakes (the fabrics above are good at hiding and fixing those).
Sew on— You’ve got this!