Understanding what “Fabric Hand” is and the ways you can utilize it in researching fabric for your project will help you save time, money, and ultimately be more creative. Fabric Hand is a catch all term to basically encompass how a fabric feels to the touch. We’ve taken a moment to describe the Fabric Hand of common types of fabric below. The descriptions aren’t hard and fast definitions but rather an example of how a seller might describe a fabric to a buyer over the phone if they can’t touch it for themselves. At the end of the descriptions we include quick definitions of the terms used throughout.
- Softness: Minky fabric is known for its ultra-soft hand, feeling gentle against the skin.
- Smoothness: It has a smooth surface, often compared to the softness of real mink.
- Weight: Despite its plush nature, minky is relatively lightweight.
Why Choose Minky: Its tactile comfort makes it a favorite for baby blankets, plush toys, and cozy loungewear.
2. Short Pile Faux Fur
- Texture: Short pile faux fur has a dense, soft texture with short fibers, giving it a smooth feel.
- Weight: Typically medium-weight, providing warmth without excessive bulk.
- Resilience: Maintains its structure well, even with regular use.
Why Choose Short Pile Faux Fur: Ideal for projects requiring a fur-like appearance without the bulk of longer fibers, such as trim on jackets or home decor.
3. Long Pile Faux Fur
- Texture: Features longer fibers, resulting in a fluffier, more voluminous feel.
- Weight: Heavier due to its thickness and long fibers.
- Drape: Less drape than shorter pile furs due to its volume.
Why Choose Long Pile Faux Fur: Perfect for statement pieces like faux fur coats or costumes, where a dramatic appearance is desired.
- Smoothness: Offers a soft, smooth texture, mimicking natural suede.
- Drape: Has a moderate drape, allowing it to hold shape while still flowing.
- Dryness: Feels dry to the touch, unlike some natural suedes which can feel slightly oily.
Why Choose Microsuede: Combines the elegance of suede with added durability and ease of care, making it great for upholstery and fashion.
5. Polar Fleece
- Softness: Soft and cozy against the skin.
- Weight: Lightweight, yet provides significant warmth.
- Stretchiness: Often has a slight stretch, making it comfortable for wear.
- Resilience: Returns to its original shape well, even after stretching.
Why Choose Polar Fleece: Its insulating properties make it a go-to for cold-weather clothing. It’s also moisture-wicking, suitable for activewear, and easy to sew.
Helping you understand the terms used in describing Fabric Hand
- Softness vs. Roughness: This refers to how gentle or coarse a fabric feels against the skin. For example, silk is often described as soft, while burlap is considered rough.
- Smoothness vs. Textured: Some fabrics have a very even, smooth surface, like sateen, while others might have a more pronounced texture, like tweed.
- Drape: This describes how a fabric hangs or flows. Fabrics with good drape, like rayon or certain silks, will flow gracefully, while stiffer fabrics, like heavy denim, have less drape.
- Stiffness vs. Pliability: This refers to the rigidity of the fabric. Canvas or taffeta might be described as stiff, whereas jersey knit is more pliable.
- Stretchiness: Some fabrics can stretch either due to their weave/knit or because they contain elastic fibers like spandex. Stretch denim and jersey are examples.
- Resilience: This describes a fabric’s ability to return to its original shape after being stretched or compressed. Wool, for instance, is known for its resilience.
- Thickness vs. Thinness: Fabrics can range from very thin, like chiffon, to very thick, like woolen coatings.
- Warmth vs. Coolness: Some fabrics feel warm to the touch and are insulating, like flannel, while others feel cool and are breathable, like linen.
- Weight: This can refer to the actual weight of the fabric (often measured in grams per square meter) or the perceived heaviness. For example, brocade might be described as a heavyweight fabric.
- Crispness: Some fabrics have a crisp hand, meaning they can hold their shape well and might even make a rustling sound when moved, like organza.
- Sponginess: This describes a fabric that has a bit of a bounce or give when pressed, often found in certain knits or fabrics with a lofted texture.
- Slipperiness: Some fabrics, like certain satins, are slippery to the touch and can be challenging to work with in sewing due to this quality.
- Dry vs. Oily: Some fabrics feel dry to the touch, while others, especially those treated with certain finishes or made from specific fibers, might have an oily or waxy feel.