What are the Different Types of Dressmaking Fabric?

Erin Oxendine
Erin Oxendine
Wool is a common dressmaking fabric.
Wool is a common dressmaking fabric.

Dressmaking fabric is used to make clothes and is available in different types of fabric based on the desired texture, style and color. Fabric shops usually carry low-cost fabric as well as designer brands. People who are looking for dressmaking materials also buy certain types of fabric based on the type of project that they are making.

The most common type of dressmaking fabric is natural cotton. Cotton, made from the cotton plant, is a material dressmakers use to make almost any kind of clothing. This fabric is durable, easy to clean and economical. Cotton garments have a tendency to shrink in hot temperatures so attire made from this material usually run big in size.

Another form of dressmaking fabric is silk; considered a luxury fabric because of the high price. Manufacturers make silk by taking the material from a silkworm’s cocoon and spinning it into a soft shiny fabric. Dressmakers use silk to create different types of clothes including wedding dresses, custom-designed outfits and lingerie.

Wool is a different kind of fabric that dressmakers use and is very stylish in the winter. In order to make wool, hair from animals such as sheep, llamas, or goats are knitted into tightly woven fibers. The wool can be used to make a variety of clothes including dresses, sweaters and coats. Wool has become increasingly popular because of its warmth, high moisture absorbency and resistance to static. Some people may be allergic to synthetic wool but all natural wool is actually hypoallergenic and recommended for individuals with allergies.

An additional dressmaking fabric is linen which is used to give dresses a more elegant appearance. Linen is a fabric made from vegetable fiber and gives clothes a slight sheen due to the plant wax. For the most part, items made from linen will last for years because of its durability. Clothes made out of linen are usually worn during the summer since the material is lightweight and comfortable. The only flaw with linen is that it is prone to wrinkling easily because the material does not have a lot of elasticity.

There are also synthetic made fabrics such as polyester, nylon and spandex. These materials are stretchy, easy to clean, and inexpensive. Many designers mix the synthetic fabric with a natural dressmaking fabric such as cotton to allow the material to have more stretch and durability. The mixed material is known as a blend and may have a tag, such as a poly/cotton blend.

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Discussion Comments


Sewing your own dresses can be really rewarding, especially when you learn to make your own patterns. There is nothing more fun than designing your own clothes and being able to replicate styles you like that would be normally out of your price range.

If you need to purchase some fabric like silk or wool, which is much more expensive than something like cotton, I recommend trying to look through the discount bin at your local fabric shop. Often you can find pretty good size pieces of luxurious fabric at rock bottom prices. Have fun and buy some different pieces. Mixing and matching textures can have great results.


If you are a beginning sewer and are looking to make some dresses I would recommend you start working with a fabric like cotton or polyester. These fabrics are much cheaper and they are more forgiving if you make a mistake.

Cotton I think is wonderful for dresses and really helps to keep you cool during the summer. It is available in so many patterns and colors that I don't think you would have any trouble finding something that would match your vision.

If you speak to the customer service representatives at your sewing shop, they may also be able to recommend you some good beginner patterns. It is best to start simple.

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    • Wool is a common dressmaking fabric.
      Wool is a common dressmaking fabric.