A to Z of fabrics: All that you need to know about fabrics

A to Z of fabrics: All that you need to know about fabrics

Fabrics are a crucial aspect of any outfit, as they define and dictate the silhouettes and aesthetics of apparel. Fabrics are the important essence of fashion. Flax fabric has been in use in our society since 5000 BC. Cotton and wool were used to create fabrics in about 3000 BC. Since the beginning of time, global social and economic history has been driven by the need for materials and textiles. Fabrics influence a lot of fashion trends. The right choice and quality of fabric always accentuate the outfit’s appearance. Good quality fabrics are imperative to create apparel or outfits, and upholstery that will appease customers. 

How can we differentiate between a good and a bad fabric?

The telltale signs of fabric quality

A simple guide to help you spot a good fabric

Weave: High-quality fabrics have a stronger fabric surface made up of a well-balanced combination of vertical and horizontal weaves. Good fabrics have no gaps between the fibres as they are closely and tightly woven together and hence, do not tear easily.

Colour: An even colour tone throughout the fabric surface without any streaks or spots is a must for high-quality fabrics. Colours fading on the fold line is a big no if you are looking for quality fabrics for your store or for creating outfits. 

Want to check fabric for colour fastness?

Take a cotton ball or handkerchief, dip it in water and then rub it on a small part of the fabric, if the colour of the fabric appears on the handkerchief or cotton ball, then the fabric is of low- quality.

Fabric grain

The right grain on the fabric will help the outfit hang right. The direction of the warp (lengthwise yarns) and weft threads (crosswise yarns) in the fabric weave is referred to as fabric grain.

  •  Long threads of woven fabric that run the entire length of the loom are called straight grain. 
  •  Grains that run in the direction of the weft threads are called cross grains. 
  • Grains running at an angle of 45 degree from the straight grain are called  bias grain.

Fabric weight

In most situations, elements such as fibre type, weave, and others determine the fabric weight. GSM ( grams per square metre), which ranges from 60 to 700, can be used to represent the fabric’s weight. A fabric like denim, for instance, will naturally have a GSM of 400 depending on the weave. Heavier fabric does not always imply a higher-quality fabric. The main factor that should determine compatibility is cloth weight. Through fabric weight, different fabric types can be evaluated for specific events and environments.


Feel and drape

A fabric’s drape, its bearing, weight, and elegance resonate with its quality. Good quality fabric has a distinct sound. When a fabric of high quality is ruffled and stretched, it sounds tough. Whereas a low-quality fabric rather feels rough. 

Durability and resistance

The durability of a fabric is assessed through the Martindale test. A fabric’s abrasion resistance is measured through a Martindale unit.. Based on the Martindale value, fabrics are categorised into different types like decorative use, general domestic use and more. Example: A Martindale score of 30,000 or more indicates that a piece of fabric is of commercial grade

Pilling effect

When the fibres of a fabric are short, they tend to break due to friction and protrude, producing unpleasant little balls or pills. Even a minimum amount of pilling indicates poor fabric quality. Fabrics composed of wool, cotton, polyester, acrylic, and other synthetic materials tend to pill more easily than silk, denim, or linen, and knit fabrics tend to pill more than woven ones.

Thread count

Thread count is a measure of how tightly the fabric is woven. It refers to the  number of threads woven into a square inch of a fabric. Usually a thread count between 200 and 400 is considered good. A thread count less than 180  indicates a coarse fabric texture. 

How to spot a good fabric?

Silk Fabric

The real SILK fabric

Real silk is smooth to the touch, with a soft and almost waxy feeling. When you scrunch up a silk fabric in your hand, you can hear a crunching noise.

The authentic LINEN fabric

Good linen fabrics are opaque and have a smooth edge. Coloured linens have a rich even tone colour devoid of stains and discolouration.

The pure COTTON fabric

Pure cotton is matte and doesn’t shine.

The genuine BAMBOO fabric

Bamboo fabric made up of 100% bamboo pulp fibre has excellent permeability and splendid colour effect of pigmentation. It is softer than cotton and has a  texture similar to a blend of cashmere and silk.

Wool, silk, cotton and linen are the most preferred choice of fabrics while crafting apparel in the clothing industry. 

Hassle-free access to exquisite fabrics with ReshaMandi

ReshaMandi is providing exquisite finished products crafted from natural fabrics to retailers and business houses across the country. Retailers can choose from a huge collection of sarees, trendy apparel and fabrics directly sourced from weavers across the country. With digital catalogues of a wide variety of products in the  ReshaMandi app, retailers can procure best products to their brick-and-mortar stores at the click of a button. 

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