What is soft fabric?
Well, it's exactly that. A soft handle, often with a smooth or brushed face, that feels lovely against the skin. Soft fabric ranges from the super fine and lightweight materials such as Organza, to the thicker, warmer materials like Chunky Knit Rib. Soft fabric can be used all year round for many different applications, such as clothing, crafts and other artistic activities. Working with soft fabrics will vary between each one, and they all produce beautiful results in their own unique way. Because of the diversity in the soft fabric range, you can reap so many benefits, such as fabrics that retain heat, fabrics that have a high lustre surface or fabrics that have an elegant drape. Whatever your creative project, see how you can enhance it with soft fabric.
Popular soft fabrics include:
There's so many types of soft fabrics, each with their own individual properties, some of the most popular are:
- Polar Fleece
- Suede Vision
- Silk Satin
- Cotton Linen
- Archway Brushed Twill
- Crushed Velour
How are they manufactured?
Every soft fabric is manufactured in its own distinct way, and will depend upon the yarns used, the structure and whether it's natural or manmade.
You can get knitted or woven soft fabrics, taut or elasticated, lustrous or matte; each one expertly crafted to give the fabrics these characteristics. To achieve a high lustre surface, the warp yarns need to float over several weft yarns, resulting in fewer interlaces which produces the sheen. When it comes to matte soft fabrics, this could be down to the yarns used or how tight the construct is.
Knitted fabrics are made by looping the yarns continuously, producing a braided effect. Knitted fabrics lock in heat and are synonymous with winter apparel, however the knitted Jersey 130gsm Light is cool and lightweight, lending itself well to spring and summer attire. The woven soft fabrics are manufactured by interlacing warp and weft yarns at right angles, producing a classic weave structure. The variations in where you interlace the yarns create different types of weave, including plain, basket, twill, satin and jacquard. The softness of these fabrics comes from the types of yarns used, whether it's cotton, silk or a poly-blend.
Purposes of soft fabric
From making comfortable and stylish clothing to adding soft touches to your craft projects, there's many uses for soft fabrics. Each has a slightly different handle, lending themselves well to a myriad of different sewing activities. The Organza, for example, is slightly stiff and still malleable, and is a favourite fabric to use for applique and bridal wear. On the other side of the coin, there's plush velvet, which is super soft and cuddly with an almost fluid like drape. This makes it perfect for blankets, dressing gowns and other cosy loungewear.
Because there are so many different choices when it comes to soft fabric, there are also many properties associated with them. Here are just a few favourites:
- Polar Fleece – Soft, thick and warm with a napped texture. Non-fray and water repellent.
- Mulmul Soft Muslin – Sheer like fabric with open set construction. Lightweight and transparent.
- Soft Velvet – Short and sumptuous pile, elegant drape. Heavy and thick, 280gsm.
- Silk Satin – 100% real silk. Smooth luxury handle with shiny face. Lightweight and semi-transparent.
- Softshell Jersey – 2 layers of fabric bonded together. Soft and breathable with a brushed reverse.
- Suede Vision – Faux suede matte face, taut and strong. Fire rated and water repellent.
Advantages of soft fabric
There's so many advantages to using soft fabric, especially for garment making. We all want to wear something smooth and comfortable against the skin, however the fabric should also be malleable. Whatever your sewing project, you'll be able to find a suitable soft material, whether you need something thick and warm or lightweight and semi-transparent.