The best fashion fabrics choices in the UK
Designers use various materials as fashion fabrics. It all depends on the style of the garment they’re creating, and how they want it to drape. Let's look at the diverse range of materials available for sale in the UK market. This will give you an idea of what to add to your fabric collection when you choose your next masterpiece
What makes a good fashion fabric?
For a jacket, you'll choose a reasonably heavy fashion fabric. But if you were making a garment like a skirt, you'll choose lighter fabrics. It's important to determine how the material will drape and caress the body's contours to add a particular look.
Designers are very careful when they choose a fabric for their bestseller add. They need to make sure that the fabric will give the garment the particular ‘look’ they’re after.
Aside from the garment’s weight and texture, there are other considerations designers add when choosing materials. These include:
· Quality: The better the fabric’s quality, the more long-lasting the garment will be. This is very important, because manufacturers currently produce garments that don't withstand the test of time.
The musts to add for luxury items includes cashmere, brocade, lace, satin and velvet.
· Natural or synthetic? Natural fabrics are the ideal choice. If you add a synthetic fibre to a natural fibre, you can also create a long-lasting fabric.
Interestingly, cotton is the most popular choice for clothing, because it’s lightweight, soft and natural. We might add that when they add polyester to natural fibres, the clothing industry creates extremely hard-wearing fabric.
· Breathability: One of the reasons cotton fabric is such a great clothing choice is because it breathes – and it keeps one cool in summer and warm in winter. Other natural, breathable fabric choices include linen and wool.
· Easy to clean: Clothing textiles that require special care, or dry cleaning, aren’t chosen for everyday wear. Thosee that require this type of care are usually luxury garments with an expensive price tag. The easier the fabric is to keep clean, the more usable it is.
Different types of fabrics
Manufacturers either create fabrics from natural fibres, synthetic fibres, or a blend of both. Let’s view each category:
Natural fabric cotton etc
Natural fabrics used for garments are materials that come from natural resources – plants or animals. Cotton and linen are both natural materials – we produce them from plants (we produce cotton from the cotton plant and linen from flax. Silk comes from the cocoons of silkworms, and we produce jersey wool from sheep’s or lamb’s wool.
These are man-made fabrics or a combination of natural and man-made fabrics. We make most synthetic materials from petroleum.
The first synthetic fabric that was produced is nylon, which was first invented in the 1930s as a substitute for silk to make stockings. Manufacturers also made nylon parachutes during the war. These days you can add luggage, activewear and swimwear to the products made from nylon.
Other popular synthetic materials include polyester, which is extremely durable, and elastane (also known as spandex or lycra). We use this stretchy fabric to make activewear because it’s light, stretches well and keeps sweat away from the skin. It also fits well. Many garments like T-shirts, jeans and activewear products are all made out of a blend of fabrics that have a percentage of elastane so that they stretch.
Many fabrics are what we call ‘regenerated’ materials. These are fabrics we make from cellulose fibres in wood and transform into materials. The most common are rayon and Tencel, both soft to the touch, easy to clean and they don’t crease.
Rayon is a breathable, silky fabric that feels like cotton and linen. It’s biodegradable and we often blend it with cotton. Although we make it from wood pulp, the method we use to make the fabric involves using chemicals.
Rayon comes in various forms. There's viscose, which is also made from wood pulp. Viscose also has other names. Other types of rayon include modal and lyocell.
Another popular sustainable choice is recycled polyester (rPET). We make this fabric from recycled plastic bottles, so it’s more eco-friendly than regular polyester.
Recycled nylon is another choice for certain designer brands, such as Prada. This Italian design house uses recycled nylon called Re-nylon from Cameroon to make certain handbags. Manufacturers produce this renewable nylon fabric sustainably from discarded products and materials.
Woven and knitted fabrics
We either weave or knit materials during their manufacturing process.
· Woven fabrics: Created on a loom, these fabrics are interwoven vertically and horizontally to create fabric. This sturdy fabric doesn’t stretch. Woven fabrics to list add: chiffon, satin, crepe, denim and linen.
· Jersey knit fabrics: We create these by inter-connected loops (much like hand-knitting). This type of jersey fabric is very stretchy, yet able to return to its shape. We make two types of jersey knit fabrics – weft-knits and warp-knits. Jersey knit fabrics to add: lace, jersey and lycra.
10 fashionable textile choices
Here we include different fabrics to add, starting with those with natural fibres. We also include synthetic materials and fabrics that are a blend of both.
The most popular fabric on the planet, cotton is lightweight, silky, comfortable, hard wearing and breathable. It’s also hypoallergenic, so it’s ideal for kids, babies and those with sensitive skin.
Another interesting fact to add: you can use either plain weave, like lawn cotton, or a knit cotton. We use this versatile fabric in many garments. However, it does shrink when washed, and creases easily. Fabric cotton materials include chintz, muslin and gingham.
This is a woven fabric, a cotton twill that is strong, comfortable, hard-wearing and a firm fashionable favourite.
One of the oldest natural fabrics, linen is light, durable and strong. Manufacturers sometimes add linen to other fibres, both natural and synthetic, to create different materials.
A luxurious shimmering, soft fabric, it’s the oldest and most precious natural fabric on earth. Manufacturers produce this fabric in Europe, Europe, South Asia and China.
We produce this fabric from the wool of sheep and goats – and alpacas and llamas also produce wool.
This natural woven jersey or knit fabric is hard-wearing and warm. It doesn’t crease easily, is resistant to dust and wear and tear. However, it’s not easy to keep clean and can be a little scratchy. We use it mostly to make a jersey, sweater, gloves, scarf or socks.
An extremely soft, luxe fabric that is extravagant and warm. It symbolises royalty because it’s so plush and sumptuous.
We create this fabric from a number of different materials. Sometimes manufacturers add polyester, cotton and wool or jersey, although we used to only make satin from silk. It's luxurious, glossy and we use it for wedding dress fabrics, lingerie, shoes and handbags. We don't make this fabric from a fibre; we create it by knitting different strands of fibre together.
This is another blend of various materials. We make this lightweight fabric from polyester, nylon or rayon. It’s a popular choice for accessories like scarves, dress fabric, blouses and smart eveningwear.
Originally made from linen, manufacturers now add various fibres to make lace, including cotton, wool, jersey and synthetics. We create this delicate fabric by looping, twisting or knitting the yarns together.
This soft, lightweight fabric is a mix of a plain cotton, wool or synthetic weave and a twisted fabric. It has a bumpy surface. It’s extremely versatile.
If we make it from cotton, for example, it’s called cotton crepe, and so on. It doesn’t crease, which is another advantage. Many designers often make garments from georgette, which is a crepe fabric.
Add some of maake's collection
Here’s an idea of the extensive selection of plain base fabrics for sale and available to print on at maake. Feel free to cart add some of these – and check out our website for more options.
- Avio Cotton Mix: Manufacturers add 5% cotton to a 95% polyester fabric to create this ultra-lightweight cotton blend which is perfect for fashionable garments and accessories. Chosen for its durability, drape and softness. Prints vibrant colours.
- Crepe de Chine: 100% polyester luxury dress fabric UK that drapes beautifully. Very lightweight and smooth.
- Chiffon: 100% textured sheer polyester fabric ideal for fashionable garments. Prints vibrant colours.
- Georgette: Textured 100% polyester fabric often used for garments. Prints beautifully.
- Satin: We add elastane to luxurious medium-weight 100% cotton fabric for comfort and stretch.
- Eco Velvet: Soft 100% Recycled Polyester fabric, ideal for clothing. Its soft white polyester base prints beautifully.
- Drill: 100% cotton fabric that is ideal for tailored and casual clothing. It’s strong, hard wearing and prints beautifully.
Explore the range of fabrics maake has on sale here, then metre add and delivery add.
Browse our sustainable readymade products selection here